Buy it from the artist!

Posted on 01.10.2009


My friend Devin is a musician and he just released a single that can be purchased online.

I’ve been thinking a lot about supporting artists lately. I wonder which avenues are most profitable for them. Originally the idea came up when I was buying that amazing print from May Yang last year. If I would have bought it from the school or her web space, then she would have gotten a percentage of the money I paid, but not all of it. Eventually she just took it’s listing off of the site and walked it over to my office, and I gave her a check. And she got all of it.

The thought came up again when I was at the Sounds concert at the 9:30 club last week. I bought their first CD used from Amazon, which means that they got a percentage of the sale the FIRST time it was bought, but not when I bought it from their former client/fan. I bought their third album and a t-shirt at the show, and their second album the following day from iTunes. Bands generally get a very small percentage of album sales through stores… but when they go on tour, they make a lot more money off of ticket and merch sales.

So I’d like to think that I did an amazing job supporting them last week:) Even if I did go right behind that and buy their other album off of iTunes, which might not have yielded as high a profit as the t-shirt and tickets did.

Fast forward to Friday and Saturday. I had a going-away/buy all of my stuff party at my place and then a yard sale the next day. At the party, all of my friends got first pick at everything I was getting rid of. This included all of my art work that had never made it into shows (and a few pieces that did). I only charged a top price of $15 per piece (most were more like $10), but all of that went directly to me. It was a way better option than having sold it in a gallery (minus being able to say it sold from a gallery) that would have taken a commission.

This way, I gave it to my friends for far less than I would usually charge for it, and I lightened the ‘moving to Germany’ load. Nice.

According to Devin, the best way for me to support him at $1.49 per track is really to just buy it. Because between the different sites he is selling through and the production company he dealt with, he’s going to see about the same amount regardless of where it came from.


Required reading on the subject: Best of Baltimore 2009: Buy it directly from the Artist. Rock out, Baltimore, for being ahead of the curve. I love this city.

Posted in: art, shopping