Google, Artists, & a Value Grade

The creative “value grade”

Everybody wants a piece of the creative arts (from Popes to moguls) some would pay for it, some would enslave for it. It has always been a path of passion to be creative, in some cases a decent living, but always with a mix of pitfalls, traps, and sheer-cliff career ending drop-offs.

Technology can be a friend to creatives, offering them tools to enrich their creative process. However technology is not a friend to the produce, which enables copy/paste virality by the millions. In order to compensate, Creatives need a shiftable “value grade” in their career which can be determined by this simple Q&A:

– do you expect a short-term return: job potential or traffic? (note: check your stats to prove traffic)
– does the potential theft of your work (or close copy) equal your gut-feeling of the value of the work?
– are you marketing your work other ways (print, email, other)?
– do you have a strong list of contacts in your market?
– are you currently working? at what level (kinda, a lot, too busy to talk)?

There are no standard answers BUT the last few questions tend to be the crux, if you have strong contacts, and are working, the answer is more black/white and polar, some say yes, some say no, the rest fall somewhere in the grey area.

Because there are no universally shared practices across the profession there is anxiety and ongoing head-scratching. As an example if illustrators banded together to adapt/adopt creative commons licenses to their works online (I expect most would choose – Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives) maybe we’d see less anxiety AND begin to show the market in a universal language that they’re serious about the online/offline value of their works..

Overall I do not find Google a friend to artists. It’s their goal to cut thin slices of revenue from everything. Artist are paid for one-offs, diametrically opposed to the Google model. Unless artist shift entirely to the thin-slice model (seemingly impossible) their only current recourse is to go it alone and hope for the best.