Gone are the days when you can only listen to artists on the radio or in a packed out concert arena. First it was Napster and YouTube, then software development and entrepreneurial creativity brought us Spotify, SoundCloud, Pandora and BandCamp, to name a few. So, in an age where music can so readily be legally (and illegally, unfortunately) streamed and downloaded, what’s in it for the musicians?
1. Big Platform, Small Royalty
Taylor Swift’s notorious move to pull her entire catalogue of music from Spotify in November 2014 merely drew attention to what had already been an issue facing musicians. Additionally, whilst many people will reel off Pharrell’s Grammy nominations for ‘Happy’, what most don’t know is that 43 million Pandora streams of Pharrell’s ‘Happy’ only resulted in US$2,700 in publisher and songwriter royalties (obviously, Pharrell made a tad more than this through performance rights royalties!). In short, whilst platforms such as Spotify and YouTube have undeniably helped discover much new talent, musicians should start getting ‘stream’ savvy and assess which online music platforms will reap the best rewards.
For example, a musician’s royalty rate for a single stream depends on various factors. Some countries’ streams will be markedly worth more than others. In the United States of America for example, an average stream can be anywhere between sixth tenths to eight tenths of a Cent. Yes, of a Cent. Therefore until you’ve got a fee paying fan base the size of a large city, you’ll need to hold off on making it rain like Wolf of Wall Street in the famous money chucking scene on Leo’s yacht.
2. Online Streaming, please could I have my monthly cheque now?
With so many platforms to choose from, which one(s) do you go for? Interactive or non-interactive (e.g. Pandora, an internet radio)? Downloads or streaming? Paying subscriber or free service? And, with some record companies now using multiple platforms especially when ‘windowing’ releases (e.g. launching first on iTunes followed by uploading on Spotify two weeks later), which do you choose?
BandCamp hase been praised for being artist-friendly and is favored by smaller bands and labels – it enables the artist to set the price of any download, upload music with ease and flexibility, and costs a grand total of £0. Unfortunately, artists don’t receive any revenue from album streams. Subscriber streams such as SoundCloud on the other hand, are not as accessible for smaller bands and requires paid subscription before uploading. Once subscribed though, artists can use its social media platform to upload blogs, podcasts and interviews to build a strong following, and the platform API enables easy sharing of content through mobile devices and embedded widgets. High five!
Spotify, the leading platform for music streaming, costs nothing to put music online, but this can often be more difficult for smaller bands without a label or distributor. Once an artist has uploaded content, the platform allows paying users access to mobile downloads along with offline mobile access. As it is a streaming music service integrated with social sharing, many artists with a broad fan base enjoy the large exposure. Artists can then collect royalties directly from Spotify, or from royalty collection agencies such as SoundExchange.
3. Royalties, royalties, royalties
Online audio streaming and download platforms aside, what other royalty creating avenues are there? Plenty! As a first pit stop, companies such as Sound Check and Missing Link specialize in digital royalty collection for artists, so be sure to collect your paycheck if you find that you are owed royalties. Secondly, get your affairs and documents in order. If your song appears in a videogame, commercial, TV show or movie, make sure your publisher or record label makes you a stellar deal and that you get a drop dead amazing licensing royalty fee for using your music.
And for artists who don’t have music to claim royalties on yet: did you know you can claim someone else’s royalties? And yes, legally. In order to raise money during an estate sale (of a deceased artist), heirs to the deceased artists sometimes auction part or all of the percentage of the deceased artist’s song to raise money. Indeed, some auctions are even by living artists seeking to raise funds if they need the money. Keep an eye out for royalty auctions, as once you get a percentage of ownership of the song, you will be entitled to a steady pay check until the copyright expires on the song. In the meantime, you can then start working on your next royalty producing gem!
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What an exciting three months since we launched to the public in October 2015! We’ve had a wonderful time supporting each and every one of you on your business journeys. From music service providers, freelance artists, creative entrepreneurs, tech start-ups, talent agencies, to kick-starter campaigns, we couldn’t be prouder and more impressed by our inspiring clients’ accomplishments.
As we approach the end of 2015, we want to reflect on the past few months and thank everyone for their support, advice and help in getting Dutían up and running. It is Dutían’s great hope to be able to help creatives establish and develop their businesses and skills in the commercial world, and we are excited to show you what we have in store for 2016.
For the latest articles on music and the arts, visit www.dutian.co.uk/blog, and to keep up to date with our news in real time, follow us @dutian1 (Twitter) or at Dutían (Facebook).
We hope you relax, unwind, recharge and spend quality time with your family and friends over the Christmas period, and we wish you the best of health, happiness and success as we look ahead to 2016.
With the season of log fires, mulled wine and fur lined parka jackets in full swing, you may already be dreaming of your next warm get-away. Even better, you may be hoping for a holiday that inspires your next masterpiece. Worry ye not – if you’re a creative in need of an inspiration holiday, Dutían has some top picks for you: Inspo-liday, here you come!
Google Thailand and you’ll see pictures of beautiful beaches, islands, plush greenery, and delicious cuisine. What Google and the guide books will not tell you is that the contrast between the spiritual, serene Thailand (Koh Samui, Koh Tao) and the busy, cacophonous Thailand (Bangkok, Phuket) provides an out of this world experience. Traveling around Thailand, you’ll feel adrenaline raising chaos in the cities, and before you even fully assimilate that experience, a few hours down the road you’ll be forced to fall hands-free into paradise and land gently on tranquil islands with its spiritual undertones. The Thai people are charming, warm and spiritual. You’ll see nuances of colour and personality in how they interact and go about their daily lives, and the natural grace and gentleness of the culture is comparable with a Debussy piece. Their cuisine is full of colourful palettes and exotic spices, creating explosions of flavours in your mouth. Everything about Thailand, from its landscape, location, culture, people to its food, will awaken your creative senses.
Best of all, Thailand can be done with lots of moolah or on a shoe string budget. Food, transport and daily amenities are cheap and flights are affordable especially if you’re willing to take a connect flight. There are plenty of hostels around where you’ll meet other travellers (although beware of keeping your passport and suitcase safe!). Whilst the fate of Claire Danes and Kate Beckinsale in Brokedown Palace is by no means representative of the majority, exercise common sense if travelling on a budget :)!
For anyone living in cities that yearn for space and freedom to be inspired, Cape Town is your place. With the city nestled amongst mountainous terrain and its most southern point being where the Pacific ocean meets the Atlantic ocean, your mind and soul will automatically shed any unnecessary luggage and have space to refill with creative ideas. With every breath of South African’s crisp air and the feel of its warm breeze graze your skin, be sure to inhale as much inspiration as you can to bring back home with you.
With such history to its name, Cape Town’s peoples’ warmth ooze a combination of joy and sadness. The melange of the two culminates in communities and residents with inspiring stories, interesting anecdotes and enlightening thoughts. Tourist locations in Cape Town aside, its natural beauty and outdoor lifestyle emulate a sense of freedom and disruption which often sparks your creative genius. Flights depend on whether you fly into Johannesburg or Cape Town during high or low season, and as public transport is not used much and cabs are essential after dark, the main expense is often taxis so budget well in advance! Transport aside, hotels are affordable, and Cape Town has some terrific deals on Air BnB for entire villas.
When Dutían thinks of India, we think of colours, noise and spontaneity. For creatives with bouts of insomnia, there is no better place for it than India. If you find yourself gazing out the window past midnight, far from hearing crickets, you hear the manic streets which paint the colourful life going on outside. A daytime ride through town will see you pass markets, stalls, offices, kids, before you emergency break to avoid bumping into the cow in the middle of the road. Mumbai in particular, is spontaneous, gutsy, and does things its own way with pride. This confidence and uniqueness is a marvel to see and experience, and you will feel both safe yet uncomfortable, excited yet mellow, sweaty yet cool, all at the same time.
The buzz of India and the disparity in ambience between areas will bring new emotions to your portfolio of feelings. India’s spiritual culture will leave you feeling surprisingly at peace amidst the chaos and liveliness of your surroundings. Take mental snapshots of as many moments as possible, as your memories will be beautifully immortalised on a paint easel or music score.
If you’re searching for inspiration and are open to anything and everything, look no further. Mexico’s history, culture, peoples, location and food has something for everyone, and therefore, inspiration for any genre of music or any form of art.
The pristine beaches of Tulum will see you create overtures and watercolour strokes in your head, whilst the lively mayhem of Playa Del Carmen beach and beachside strip will see you dreaming up contemporary art pieces to fit the emotions, look and feel of your surroundings. Inhale the excitement of Cancun as you find areas and places aimed at spoiling you. As you dig a little more into Mexico’s Mayan history, you’ll feel a deeper connection with its long standing culture and spirituality, and after taking the plunge into one of Mexico’s underground cave ‘cenotes’ with its mineral laden and high calcium water content, you’ll be desperate to create something artistic which reflects the sheer bliss you feel after re-emerging from the spiritual waters. For water sport junkies, there is plenty to do to get your physical sense inspired, and for those who love animals and aquatic life, go further afield and you’ll seek calming solace in dolphins, turtles, manatees and much more.
London has several direct flights into Mexico, and you can splash out on a plush resort or stick with local hotels complete with their unique personalities. The rhythmn of the Spanish language will be a constant beat throughout your stay, and will lull you into a creative zone you'll want to stay in forever.
So - enjoy the Christmas festivities, and prepare to get booking for your next Inspo-liday! :)
I’ve found that the majority of people don’t like rules (especially rules they had no part in making). This default human instinct started when you were 3 years old, and realised the sheer injustice of not being able to eat sweets for dinner. This then continued into your youth, when parental rules and legal rules combined forces to become the ultimate super-hero (or, anti-hero, for all you rebels): The Rule Book Juggernaut. When you finally become an adult, guess what – there are already so many publicly acknowledged rules, laws, regulations and norms that the thought of creating any more rules leaves you reaching for some aspirin. As a result, Creatives everywhere often find themselves frustrated when attempting to be innovative and feel that rules and regulations are a hindrance rather than assistance to their craft.
However, the above is arguably the wrong way of viewing the world of ‘rules and regulations’. Rules and regulations (putting aside all the stereotypical jokes), is in fact a magic ingredient that will open many doors for artists and musicians wanting a leg up on their peers and their competition. Rules and regulations, when understood and used to your benefit, are just. Absolutely. Fantastically. Awesome.
How? Let’s take it bit by bit.
COPYRIGHT – see “Who cares about Copyright? Ahem…well….” article on the absolutely necessity of understanding your rights to your own creations. Because unless you are careful and aware of your rights, your own, beautiful, hard earned creative baby, produced through sweat, blood, toil and tears, could be snatched from beneath you. Worse, someone else could start making money from your work, building a bigger brand and gaining a much bigger following. Sound unjust? That’s right. Unless you are careful. And you can only be careful if you understand your rights (rules and regulations *high five*).
LICENSING - how awesome would it be if you could earn money without doing anything? Yes, we all know that one should work, graft, contribute etc. But really, if you could be earning money whilst you’re on a globe-trotting holiday spree and not doing any work, you’d take that right? Exactly. Licensing, in its most basic form, is when you give someone else a right to use something you created, and you get paid for it without doing a thing. Warning – the pivotal moment that determines whether this amazing situation comes into fruition is in your negotiation and licensing agreement with that someone. If you’ve pushed for key terms in your favour and which protect your rights, you could indeed be globe-trotting and making use of that selfie stick you got for Christmas, whilst that someone else does the work and pays you. Genius (rules and regulations *high five*)!
CONTRACTS – justice, the law, courts, judges – they don’t just exist in the criminal law world of Breaking Bad, Prison Break, espionage and thriller movies. They exist in the “you signed on this paper” world too, and it’s an incredibly huge world. Understanding, negotiating and getting signature on a document containing key rules to your benefit could be the difference between an up and coming artist struggling to eat and losing creative motivation, and an up and coming artist who’s able to make a 5 year plan on the basis of all the wonderful opportunities coming in whilst spending all his time creating in his studio. Amazing (rules and regulations *high five*)!
CENSORSHIP AND RESALE – depending on how provocative your art and methods are, you could be sitting on a creative goldmine. Only that goldmine is next door across the border. And, depending on how much your artwork is valued at, could you be paid each time that piece is resold? So many things to explore (rules and regulations *high five*)!
Obviously, the above is a tiny snapshot of a very intricate, detailed and complex world of rules and regulations. However, the point it this: rules and regulations, when used to your advantage, are an absolutely crucial vehicle to facilitate your success, progress and development. Those who recognise this are already one step ahead of everyone else. Have you also recognised this :)?
Following recent government proposals to change junior doctors’ salaries in the UK, the issue of musicians’ pay and livelihood sprung to mind. It’s no secret that after years of vigorous, dedicated and professional training, more than half of professional musicians are paid no more than £30,000 per year (with a large proportion of those having worked for free at several points). True, there are the few that make it to the big league, but what about the rest?
Government funding for music has already been reduced by over £20 million in the past 4 years, and several councils have already implemented restructures and redundancies. Despite the best intentions of the government in 2011 to launch The National Plan for Music (resulting from the 2011 Henley Review) as a way of enabling every child to be able to learn an instrument, there is currently less money than ever to go around. With house prices rising and the high cost of living in London, can musicians without job security, pension, sick pay or benefits lead a good quality of life (let alone obtain a mortgage)? Difficult? No doubt. Possible? Absolutely.
As with any industry, the music industry is ever-changing. And in order to stay successful and progress, the ability to adapt to those changes is essential. Mind-set alone obviously cannot change certain circumstances beyond one’s control, however, there are various things musicians can do, today, to make sure that when circumstances change, they at the front of the queue and ready to pounce on that golden opportunity:
1. It's a Circus out There! – the need to embrace juggling various income streams is essential. As the nature of the music industry does not lean towards a full time 9 – 5 job with a neat package of benefits, musicians need to rely on multiple sources of income. This involves careful organisation, budgeting, familiarity with tax, and also authoritative negotiation (where appropriate) in order to get the recompense you deserve for any job.
2. Back To The Future - classical music is a traditional, established genre of music. However, the mind-set of a classical musician must shift into more modern times. The importance of the internet and social media should not be overlooked, and the ability to raise income from streaming and selling online is essential. Musicians should be savvy on understanding their legal rights and in doing so, will avoid selling themselves short and can instead maximise on opportunities.
3. I'm a Musician, Get Me Out of Here! - the commercialization of air travel has made the majority of industries international. Countries in Asia greatly value a British educated musician for nurturing its own national talent, whilst orchestras in the USA are known for recompensing its orchestras significantly more than their British counterparts (at an average of £86,000 in the US versus £37,000 in the UK). This is by large due to US orchestras being funded almost completely by private money, however is also illustrative of its loyal and gutsy unions which protect musicians’ working hours and pay like a Rottweiler does it owner. In short, the ability to work abroad, for however long, is within reach, and should not be ruled out during a musician’s career. So, from the moment a musician graduates, sniffing for opportunities abroad should gradually become second nature.
4. Yes, Yes, Yes! - the past 5 years has seen increasingly popular fields such as video game audio, music therapy (see 'What's the Deal with Music Therapy?' article), session work and private function gigs gaining prominence within the music industry. These provide considerably higher pay than more traditional gigs, and should one of these land on a musicians’ doorstep, the overwhelming advice is to say YES.
Whilst the classical music industry does not make you think ‘cha-ching’, the 21st Century has also brought with it so many opportunities. If it’s possible for someone to start a business in their cupboard and grow it into a multi-national success, so too is it possible to face the music (no pun intended) and use the resources available to ensure that after years of professional training, musicians take control of their careers and get the recompense they deserve.
For further information and helpful links:
Musicians Union: http://www.musiciansunion.org.uk
Music Mark: http://www.musicmark.org.uk
Performing Rights Society: http://www.prsformusic.com
The arts and culture industry contributes around £6 billion of GVA to the UK economy. We’ve already seen days of strikes at the National Gallery in London, there are anticipated cuts as part of the government’s plan to reduce deficit, and artists’ fluctuating financial security not only stems from a traditionally unstable salary but from the lack of pensions and benefits. Short of doing a Nicholas Cage move in Face/Off and becoming David Cameron, is there anything artists themselves can do to improve their financial prospects? Always.
Most important is perhaps an artist’s ability to manage having various streams of income. Rarely will an artist nowadays purely spend his/her time doing one thing. Of course, when you become Damien Hirst, do this to your heart’s content. But for the average artist, a 9 – 5 job is common, and for others, using a combination of web sales, commission projects, grants, teaching positions and gallery showings is the norm.
So, what sources of income are out there?
1. Commission Me, Baby! – many artists prefer commission work over all else, and it’s understandable to see why. To be able to create a bespoke piece for a private client, at a price which the artist has negotiated, is a creative's dream. Meantime, for public commissions, although artists will only get a commission of the total cost of a project (e.g. 15% of a new building project), such work is nonetheless bespoke, and that in itself enables an artist to do what they love the most - create.
2. I Want That Space! – non-profit galleries tend to show work that is quirkier, more cutting edge and fresh. They won’t represent an artist or require contracts to be drawn, and their commission on any sale of a piece tends to remain under the 30% mark. Alternatively, exhibiting at a commercial gallery is often the champagne popping moment, although it does come at a price. Commission is set at a higher rate of up to 50%, and artists should always read the small print in gallery contracts – if the gallery is representing the artist, the agreement may also require that commission on any out of gallery sales (e.g. online sales) be paid. It goes without saying that this should be avoided at all costs!
3. Come Into My World! – if you have a light, airy and spacious studio, bringing buyers to your world (either through private appointments or through open studio events) should always be on your annual agenda. Nothing beats the allure of a piece than seeing it in its natural environment (your studio) alongside a private tour by its creator (you), so get those festive periods blocked out in your diary and start planning for in-studio exhibitions.
5. Gransterize Yourself! – finally and although competitive to obtain, grants are available for artists and vary in amount and source. Whilst grants in the UK are being reduced in line with the government’s cuts to arts funding, countries in the European Union and Scandinavia have been on a grant roll for years. For those with an opportunity to work or live in such countries: in France, artists can claim up to £6,000 purely to equip their studios, whilst in Denmark, selected artists are granted annual stipends of up to £17,000 for the rest of their lives. Rest. Of. Their. Lives. Yes, you read correctly.
So – whilst the image of ‘the struggling artist’ still resonates within the industry, artists who can play the industry at its own game and get savvy about business and commerce can end up juggling a variety of fruitful income streams whilst still doing exactly what they love. Create art.
For further information and helpful links:
Arts Council England: http://artscouncil.org.uk/
Artists Network: http://www.artistsnetwork.com/
Arts Hub: http://www.artshub.co.uk
It’s still October, temperatures are still (increasingly) freezing, and it is still a Frieze Frenzy out there. Frieze London and Frieze Masters have taken over the art world over the course of a week long art fair displaying works by contemporary and living artists. Frieze is but a slice of the overall art fair phenomenon which has flooded the art industry over the past 2 decades, ever since the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City held its first art fair in 1994. Currently, there are now so many art fairs that even critics and journalists struggle to keep count.
Our last article focused on how artists can get in on the art fair action. Yes, buyers, it’s now your turn. Now we move the spotlight to how buyers can take advantage of the art fair phenomenon and saddle up before you’re left like the last kid to be picked in PE class team dibs.
Whether you’re a collector or investor, the key to starting your own art collection is research. Research and networking. The price of art has risen more than 1000% over the last 4 decades, and with so many different types of art to specialise in (drawings, paintings, photography, mixed media, sculpture, digital, prints and even video), how on earth do you begin? Add to that the huge disparity of prices ranging from reproductions (copies without a limited run of printing) on the budget end, slowly increasing at giclées (often classified as ‘museum quality’ due to their superior print), further increasing at prints (a copy although often in limited print and good for investors with limited funds to begin their collections), and ending at the high end with originals (one of a kind rarities with heavy price tags). An added difficulty (which luckily doesn’t apply at Frieze) is confirming authenticity if an artist is deceased. Have you obtained a thorough appraisal of the piece and received a certificate of authenticity from an expert?
Art fairs remain one of the best places for novices to develop an eye for art, ask questions, research and mingle with the art industry. Unlike auction houses, where marketing hypes, buyer’s premium (around 10% – 20% added to your final bid), cowboy dealers and the pressurised environment all add to an almost war-like experience, art fairs provide a more relaxed environment for evaluating and learning. And, as most private investors commonly start out as private collectors, the art fair is the perfect place to peruse. For most investors, apart from the obvious point of art being of enjoyment value, art is also a physical asset (controlled by you), appreciates over time (unlike e.g. stocks) and rarely encounters market fluctuations (unlike financial markets which are a volatile rollercoaster in comparison).
Conversely, getting to the stage of being able to see you art appreciate over time takes a. very. long. time. And research. Whereas investment in the stock market would be a straightforward matter of researching the relevant company, reviewing their earnings report and doing your due diligence on the fundamentals, comparative information for art does not come in a similar clean, straight forward package, and often requires much research and familiarization with the industry as a whole. Additionally, art is not a liquid asset, and whereas selling other investment vehicles are as simple as picking up the phone or clicking on your computer, selling your art will take time, planning and effort, including knowing the right dealers and galleries, as some may facilitate a direct sale. During the time you have your art, you will also need to factor in expenditure for displaying, storing and caring for your art. Damaged art will lose value, so you will need to have it insured. Finally, what if you do all of the above but your art doesn’t appreciate over time? The art world has often been labelled fickle, and this is true. You have to be willing to take a certain amount of risk that an established artist may be toast of the town one day, but fall out of favour just as quickly.
So, take a deep breath, get your notepad ready, put your curiousity cap on, switch on your networking brain, and get out there!
October in London is the month of (increasingly) freezing temperatures and of what we like to call the Frieze Frenzy. Frieze London and Frieze Masters represent the largest art fair featuring contemporary and living artists in London, attracting collectors, curators and dealers across the globe. Over the course of the week long fair, numerous deals are brokered, artists attract followers for their work, and several rise to become ‘star du jour’ in what is an internationally recognised and sought after event in the art world.
So – how can artists and buyers take advantage of the art fair phenomenon and jump on the fair train before it leaves?
If you’re lucky enough nab a spot as an artist at either Frieze London or Frieze Masters, you’re one third of the way there. With so many art fairs out there, it’s crucial that you pick the right fairs to exhibit at – shabby, unreputable art fairs can drag down your brand and following.
With art fairs such as Frieze displaying a multitude of good pieces, never forget to stand out, which may be difficult if you’ve been designated the dark space behind the broom cupboard. Always negotiate for prime positioning, with clear sight lines, good natural lighting, and plenty of space around your piece(s).
Getting ‘the nod’ to exhibit at a coveted fair, for many artists, is ‘the moment’. But before you start spending your hard earned moolah on celebratory Veuve Clicquot, remember that the cost of displaying at an art fair can be substantial, and if badly planned, could result in you returning to your studio post-event feeling like the token person on a night out that couldn’t handle their alcohol. Hungover, hungry, tired, broke, sad. In essence, an utterly, truly, broken man. Make sure you consider the time, costs and manpower of managing booth setup, daily tear downs and restocks in all weather conditions. Subject to the size of your pieces, would renting an RV (which can double up as transport and accommodation) be cheaper than hiring a truck or trailer? Or will you require professional shipping if you are based overseas? Always remember that there is life after the fair, and if you need to continue producing art during the fair, can you afford to return to your studio post-event and replenish inventory then?
What began as an ‘alternative’ art fair, Frieze has now become very mainstream and has revolutionarised the art industry. As Frieze moves forward, we wonder whether it will start including more international artists, to ensure that there is no repetition and to enable artists from India and Asia to also obtain some exposure? Will you be Friezing this year?
From Turner and William Blake to Damien Hirst and Banksy, from Edward Elgar and Andrew Lloyd Webber to The Beatles and Freddie Mercury, the list of internationally acclaimed British artists and musicians is endless. And I think it’s safe to say that we all agree that the UK is a global leader in producing creative legends J. As a nation, the UK is creative, innovative and often (amicably) disruptive (which is often a key component in sparking artistic genius) – these are qualities which are engrained in our history and have been nurtured through generations.
The UK’s creative industry has surged in the past decade, and Millenials are at the forefront of leading the boom in the industry and dictating the future direction of the creative industry. The creative industries include advertising, architecture, crafts, design, film, games, publishing, museums/galleries, music, technology and television, and official statistics from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport in 2014 showed that the creative industries are worth a whopping £71 billion to the UK economy.
The importance of the creative industries in the UK therefore cannot be underestimated. Creative arts being a core element of education in the UK has fostered and developed artistic talent and flair which has fuelled an industry increasingly responsible for the UK’s international standing. Employment in creative arts is fast exceeding the 5.6% (of all UK jobs) when last reported, and is currently providing over 1.71 million jobs. The industry accounts for 11% of the UK’s exports (take the example of the Natural History Museum’s exhibitions in over 65 countries) and is responsible for more than 10% of the UK’s GDP. The industry has been key in encouraging creative innovation and overcoming private sector reluctance to invest in what they see as ‘risky’ projects (did you know that the commercial success of War Horse was inspired from puppetry on show at the Battersea Arts Centre?), and is also associated with around 10 million inbound visits to the UK from tourists engaging with arts and culture (that equates to a huge 32% of all visits to the UK!). Furthermore, the creative industries are key to the success of the creative IT and software businesses, and as we continue to progress in a tech-dominated world, benefits to other associated industries will continue to be seen.
It is the responsibility of Millenials and their future generations to keep this creative boom going. In 2014, the Creative Industries Council launched CreateUK (the first ever industry-led project to ensure growth and secure further jobs in the creative arts industry in the UK and internationally), and public funding of arts and culture is now a hot topic of contention. The UK is set to continue to be the leading global hub for creative industries in decades to come, and the industry will serve as a vital catalyst for economic regeneration of the UK.
A quote of common contention is whether Winston Churchill, when asked to cut arts funding in favour of the war effort, simply replied “Then what are we fighting for?”. Whether or not this quote is accurate is not the debating point; its value lies in evoking dialogue and initiating action on addressing the importance of creative arts to the UK’s history and future.
For further resources for those setting up their own creative arts business:
A mere 20 years ago (and excluding any high profile art heists), artists were able to own and protect the fruits of their creativity with relative ease. In an era where the internet was in its infancy and social media did not exist, regulations and laws protecting artists’ creative works reflected the undeveloped and conventional type of creative theft which existed at the time – namely, physical art heists, or instances of artistic plagiarisation by hand.
Fast forward to 2015: creative theft has grown into a complex breed of its own, yet the regulations and laws which existed 20 years ago have not caught up. Technological advances coupled with the explosion of social media have made copying/pasting and declaring another’s artwork one’s own child’s play. The counterfeit heavyweights have progressed from being mere criminals to now being international operators within a mature illegal market. The availability of free information online, whilst providing education for many, has also armed others with knowledge to exploit loopholes in outdated laws aimed at protecting an artist from 20 years ago. This is why, short of changing the law, artists need to get smart about Intellectual Property (“IP”).
I know - IP is hardly the crowd drawer on a Friday night to get you Party Animal of the Night award. However, the power IP has in protecting artists’ careers (and therefore livehood, and life) should not be underestimated. Just as a singer needs to protect her most important asset (her voice), so should artists with their most important assets (their creativity and end products).
So what is copyright? Copyright (which covers paintings, graphic works, photographs, sculptures, collages) is a form of IP which entitles an artist to certain rights which are solely owned by that artist (amazing, right!?). An artist will be the only person able to say if, how and when his panting can be copied, sold, rented, lent or used or adapted for TV or film. It is this right which is known as ‘copyright’. Straight forward, right? Important? Abso-bloody-lutely. Artists and composers should understand their rights and enforce them when someone uses them without their permission. This is essential in ensuring that the creatives of the world protect their position and value.
So how do you get this ‘copyright’? Copyright protection is automatically given once an idea is put on paper (e.g. a painting or a musical composition). There is no legal process or registration involved (phew!), although it is good practice to put the © symbol along with your name/signature and the year of your creation somewhere. In the UK, copyright lasts for the artist’s lifetime PLUS an additional 70 years after their death (yes, copyright kicks its 99 year leasehold friend’s ass). If at any time during this protection period, someone tries to rip off, copy or use your creation without your permission, you are entitled to take that person to court (NB - as most of us don’t live in the world of Suits, in reality, taking someone to court is an expensive, complex and time consuming process, and the easier route is often to come to a settlement agreement).
At some point in this article, you may have thought: “what about the Logo for my brand – is that protected under Copyright?”. Logos and designs are in fact protected as Trademarks and are different to copyright. But, that’s for another article :)….
For further guidance and information:
Anti- Copyright in Design http://www.acid.uk.com/
DACS (not-for-profit visual artists’ rights management organisation)
Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988