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Updated: Nov 10, 2023

Dear Fellow Artists,

And yes, I do consider myself an artist because marketing, especially the kind I strive for, which is continual pursuit of making you feel something, is indeed an art. I be practitioner, but I digress...

In the ever-evolving landscape of the music industry, there's a profound issue that needs our attention: setting the worth of our art. This is a topic close to my heart, As a curator, who sees the world through a marketing lens. I've witnessed the dynamics between artists and promoters, and I believe it's time for us to reflect and possibly redefine approach.

I've always been a firm believer that no artist should have to pay to stand on a stage I'm presenting. If I believe in your art, I'm willing to invest in it, especially if it leads to a mutually beneficial outcome. There's no room for exploitation; fair exchange and no robbery.

In recent times, the concept of artists paying to perform, often as an opening act for a bigger headliner, has gained prominence. I understand the logic from both sides - artists who desire access to a larger audience and promoters who aim to fill the room. It's a ready-made business model, and it works when the stars align. But let me share a different perspective.

In my role as a curator, I consider myself a purist when it comes to music. I present music to the world because I love it and want others to experience its beauty. It's not about profits alone; it's about adding something good to the world, nothing more and nothing less. However, I can see why some promoters choose the model of artists paying to perform.

The twist: many artists, especially emerging ones, tend to overestimate their own value. They believe that being incredibly talented automatically translates into commanding high fees, often unaware that their art's greatness doesn't directly correlate with recognition. This is a fundamental issue, and it has nothing to do with their talent. It's about being seen and heard.

From a marketing perspective, promoters aim to fill the room every time they host an event. It's in their best interest to do so. This is where artists can play a vital role by bringing their followers into the equation. If you have a devoted fan base, factor it into your pricing. Recognize your worth by knowing your draw, because any promoter worth their salt will.

In this age of information, your presence is public knowledge. A simple Google search reveals your impact and what you potentially bring to an event. Google Trends showcases your trends and the reasons behind them. While it's wonderful to create art for its own sake, in the world of music, the reality often demands a careful understanding of your market value.

Moreover, artists with a following should seek trustworthy representatives in various markets. Someone who can manage the local logistics and help you sell the experience that is your performance, ensuring that your art truly resonates with each audience. This partnership can be more rewarding than the financial aspects, while not hindering it in the least.

For artists without a substantial following, it's essential to align with promoters who possess their own loyal audience. They won't ask you to bring a crowd; they will provide one for you to engage with. The compensation might not be as substantial, but the value lies in someone thinking you're fantastic and being willing to stake their reputation on your performance. This is a double win.

We've seen this in action with gatherings like "Cool Water" and similar feel good.. Trust curators who curate trust - any artist associated with such endeavors enters with the wind at their back.

It's time we reevaluate our approach to art and performance. Arts should be shared, and the "payment" should represent shared value. The old model of artists paying to perform isn't the only path. Consider the mutual benefit, the shared enthusiasm for music, and the value of the experience you bring to the stage.

Ultimately, your worth is not solely determined by money, but by the impact you make on the world through your art. To be sure, I'm not suggesting you should ever compromise yourself of your art, just temper whatever decision(s) you make with what's most beneficial for the art itself. Let's redefine our roles as artists, promoters, and curators, and work together to create something beautiful for the world to cherish.

One Love,

Rod Campbell

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