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Gli artisti e i conti da pagare [EN]

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In un articolo del suo blog, il critico musicale americano Ted Gioia riflette sul conflittuale rapporto tra artista e personale sopravvivenza economica.

Partendo dalla constatazione che nelle accademie musicali raramente si parla in maniera schietta e obiettiva del lato “economico” della professione musicale, Gioia racconta la propria esperienza nel settore – sia diretta come scrittore che indiretta come conoscitore profondo del mondo musicale americano – e suggerisce delle “soluzioni” al problema.

Often newbies are told that baldfaced lie: “Do what you love and the money will follow.” Which sounds great—but also like blind faith in the irrational. Does the money really follow if you pursue your dream?

Ted Gioia consiglia la lettura di un libro di David Byrne, How Music Works, interessante soprattutto perchè l’artista inserisce nel testo resoconti dettagliati di profitti e perdite dei suoi progetti principali. Una cosa davvero insolita perché l’aspetto economico è spesso considerato un tabù: i musicisti di successo trovano poco chic parlare di guadagni e coloro che invece faticano quasi se ne vergognano.

Sad to say, there are fewer artists in the middle nowadays. I’m told that only 2% of creators on Patreon even earn the federal minimum wage. It’s hard to figure out how many people are making a middle-class living on music streaming, but I note that you don’t earn the minimum wage on Spotify until you generate more than 3 million streams per year. I imagine a similar stratification is happening to creators on YouTube, TikTok, and other platforms.

C’è spazio anche per qualche consiglio pratico nelle riflessioni di Gioia:

So my advice to students interested in the arts is based on my own practice: namely, that they should pursue their craft but also develop at least one money-earning skill before they reach the age of 30. It doesn’t need to be an elite career, merely something that will pay the bills in a pinch.

The second career can even be linked to your art. If you’re a musician, you might learn to tune pianos, lead a school band, or teach lessons. If you’re a dancer like my wife, you might become a Pilates instructor (as she did) or a practitioner of some other body therapy—which can range from recreation therapist (only requires a bachelor’s degree) to physical therapist (graduate training may take another 2-3 years). If you’re an author, you can learn to be a technical writer (median income $75,000) and churn out instructional guides, manuals, etc. I could give you dozens of other examples.


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