The Death of the Artist

How Creators are Struggling to Survive in the Age of Billionaires and Big Tech

by William Deresiewicz ⚡

Believe it or not I graduated university with an art degree. Okay, so it was Digital Art as opposed to Fine Art, Art History or something more traditional, but an art degree nevertheless. I realised, probably during my second year that art wasn't the career path I wanted, but it remains a more than passing interest of mine. I like to think I support artists by buying photos, buying books, getting tattooed, etc.

The Death of the Artist is a really interesting read. Art has simultaneously never been so accessible and so poor in quality. We've all been told we can write a book, or we can produce a song. You just need to buy a new Mac, or pay for some classes. It's so easy, anyone can do it. But that's not true. And we're paying for it with tens of millions of hours of mediocre music on Spotify, hundreds of thousands of books that are barely worth reading on Kindle and endless reruns and remakes of staid movies.

It doesn't have to be that way, but first, we need to get people paying for art again. That means buying music rather than subscribing to Spotify[1], buying books from shops other than Amazon, it means supporting visual artists by buying their art and going to watch that interesting arthouse movie. At this point you're probably thinking this is all way too expensive, and it is. The death of the middle class is the death of the working artist. To fix the art world we need to fix income inequality. Not an easy fight, by any means, but one that's hard to argue against[2].

Absolutely worth reading.

  1. The money you pay for Spotify doesn't go to the artists you listen to, it goes to the popular artists on Spotify in general. ↩︎

  2. Unless you're already a multi-millionaire. ↩︎