We are living in a world of free consumption. People seem to think – especially the younger generation – that music, film and art should cost nothing. They feel cheated when, for example, an independent movie is released via the web with a rental fee of £3.99. Why pay £3.99 for one movie when you could pay double for a Netflix subscription and gain access to hundreds of movies? The same can be said for music on Spotify or artwork on Google images.
Creative industries face very difficult challenges, more so than“conventional” businesses. However, that’s not to say developing a viable business in a creative sector is out-of-reach. The problem most creatives face is reluctance. Just like consumers feel cheated at the high cost of music and film, creators feel cheated that the business models of yesterday are no longer viable. But if this reluctance to move on was lifted and creatives embraced technology with open arms, perhaps things wouldn’t be so bad; in fact, to many it would be a huge benefit!
With Amazon Kindle anyone can be a published writer and earn from it. Traditional publishers are renowned for paying little in both advances and royalties, and most – even established – writers have to supplement their income with other work. Amazon Kindle has been a blessing for those who have struggled to gain agency representation or sustain a viable income in the past. And it’s growing rapidly.
Movies are getting cheaper and cheaper to produce. The DSLR revolution has given everybody the opportunity to make professional-looking videos at a mere fraction of the cost. When combined with streaming services, filmmaking can be extremely lucrative. In addition, stock footage re-sellers give part timers the chance to sell off their b-roll and make steady earnings during dry spells, which could provide just enough revenue to keep operations afloat during otherwise strenuous times.
Painters and those working within the arts and crafts sector, no longer have to lug around all their creations to trade shows, or try to acquire a spot at a gallery. With websites like Etsy, artists can sell their creations, set their own prices, and take the line share. This has been especially helpful for painters.
It may seem like a glamorous profession, but it has never been easy for musicians to earn a living. Thanks to websites such as AudioJungle, struggling musicians now have a viable platform to sell their music. The Envato Marketplace (which runs AudioJungle) is an excellent stepping stone, allowing upcoming musicians to gain credits in the business. Many who started in online stock have since gone on to score movies and commercials.
To most business-people, creative industries simply aren’t worth pursuing. While they’re often more difficult to establish and maintain, and must constantly adapt to consumer spending habits, the Internet has awarded plenty of new opportunities. The number of new creative tech startups that have established offices in Shoreditch (also known as “Tech City”) in recent years – providing a much needed boost for the local economy – demonstrate just how plausible this can be. So if you have an ambition to make it in a creative field and pursue your passions and dreams, now isn’t the time to get discouraged.