It has always been important to support your local creative scene. Whether music, fashion or fine art, it is becoming increasingly hard to make money as a creative. It is also becoming exponentially harder to find any sort of internship work that’s payed, and payed work that will hire without experience meaning that if you’re not already rich then it is almost impossible to succeed within the creative industry, and now that the pandemic is in full swing, this problem has only been accelerated. With plans to cut 50% of arts funding to universities, it is clear that the UK has no care for culture anymore, no wonder Scotland wants to leave.
Of course ‘making it’ has always been incredibly difficult as an artist, many even struggle simply to pay their bills through their work. This is even more evident in the music scene, recently I read that only ‘0.000002% of musicians become “successful”’. Of course this is not necessarily down to their increased level of skill, it is mainly down to connections and privilege. Just think of all the music we’d be able to explore if even double that number made it big, and that’s still less than one in 10,000.
A sad part of today’s society is people don’t realise that we live in a capitalist world where one has to pay for art. If you are willing to pay for any other service then there is no reason why you should be able to experience the hard work of artists for free. During the pandemic the prospects of being a successful artist in any medium have drastically shrunk, entire venues, cultural institutions that my parents and their parents have been to are shutting down, leaving whole cities without music and performing arts spaces. Of course we all understand that we are living at a time when mass crowds are dangerous to public health but the government’s support of the arts during this time, as with almost everything the government has done, has been appalling.
‘If you buy an album off bandcamp, it is around the financial equivalent of streaming that artist for three years’. Using Spotify, which pays under £5 to an artist for 1,000 streams is not supporting an artist. Going to local events, proactively sharing an artists’s music, buying their merch and physical albums is support. Because of the pandemic musicians can no longer go on tour, and because the vast majority now use streaming services to listen to music there is no longer any way to make money. Musicians and artists are starving, culture is dying, and people don’t really seem to care.
To everyone that says, “Art is a passion. Get a real job. You shouldn’t have be payed for doing something you love” I urge you to understand that creativity is just as valuable to society as anything else, and not paying artists, especially in this day and age, is not only unfair but immoral. Art is almost everything we consume, imagine a world without any of the objects that we use day to day, all of which have been created by designers, without music or TV. This is what happens when you do not pay artists, and sadly the way it looks like the UK is going. So please remember, to support your local music scene, we need artists now more than ever, and too many of them are struggling.