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Author Topic: "1000 True Fans" - HOWTO Earn an artist's living in the 21st century  (Read 4370 times)

mouser

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The theory of Long Tail Economics is an influential idea that deals with finding a large enough audience that are outside of the mainstream, and the increasing degree to which technology is making is feasible for people to make money in that niche.  In a real sense, DonationCoder.com lives in the long tail area.

Here's a nice piece by Kevin Kelly discussing some specifics of how artsits might approach trying to make a living in the Long Tail marketplace by focusing on "True Fans."

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But the long tail is a decidedly mixed blessing for creators. Individual artists, producers, inventors and makers are overlooked in the equation. The long tail does not raise the sales of creators much, but it does add massive competition and endless downward pressure on prices. Unless artists become a large aggregator of other artist's works, the long tail offers no path out of the quiet doldrums of minuscule sales.

Other than aim for a blockbuster hit, what can an artist do to escape the long tail? One solution is to find 1,000 True Fans...



from http://www.boingboing.net

mediaguycouk

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Re: "1000 True Fans" - HOWTO Earn an artist's living in the 21st century
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2008, 08:05:38 AM »
I like the fundable idea for fund raising, I was thinking about something along those lines while looking at your dcmembers website that got sent up a few years back.

I need $100, if I make it then you get the product, if I don't then you get your money back.
Learning C# - Graham Robinson

nudone

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Re: "1000 True Fans" - HOWTO Earn an artist's living in the 21st century
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2008, 09:30:39 AM »
veyr interesting article.

mouser

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Re: "1000 True Fans" - HOWTO Earn an artist's living in the 21st century
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2008, 07:44:26 PM »
Important follow up from the author via a discussion with an artist who is trying the approach:
http://www.kk.org/th...4/the_reality_of.php

Some notable excerpts:
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I agree strongly with your basic thesis [of a thousand True Fans], that artists can survive on the cusp of the long tail by nurturing the help of dedicated fans; but perhaps I can modulate your welcome optimism with a light dose of realism, tempered by some personal reflections.


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The sort of artist who survives at the long tail is the sort who would be happy doing nothing else, who willingly sacrifices security and comfort for the chance to communicate something meaningful, hoping to catch the attention of those few in the world who seek what they also find meaningful. It's a somewhat solitary existence, a bit like a lighthouse keeper throwing a beam out into the darkness, in faith that this action might help someone unseen.


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A further caveat: it's easy to get trapped into the expectations of these True Fans, and with such a tenuous income stream, an artist risks poverty by pushing too far beyond the boundaries of style or preconceptions.