Official Artist
Mark Allen
Director , Screenwriter , Composer
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Defining "Independent" | “獨立”的定義

There is a lot of reference to being "independent" and so I thought I might put some thoughts out there to the alivenotdead.com world for discussion....

When is an artist independent?  When do they lose their independence?

Where does the line between "selling records" and "selling out" get crossed?

In addition to talent and all the things people know any artist needs - there is something that is one of the lesser discussed needs:  an audience.

Presumably whether an artist is making music, movies, photographs, dance, or whatever - to complete the process, there needs to be an audience.  Whether it be a thousand fans at the club or an admiring loved one, there is an audience.

Is it wrong for an artist to want to communicate with a larger audience?  I, personally, think it's totally natural.  One could absolutely argue that this is ego more than altruism, but - since neither of these affect being independent - let's say it's just part of the process to want to share to as many people as possible.

Then how?

Sure, you can put your music and videos and photos up on the web - but that doesn't mean people will go see it.  So, you need to start marketing.

This is juncture two.  By marketing your work, are you selling out?  Ever wonder why the mona lisa is so famous?  Ever wonder why it is so small?   It was small so that he could carry it with him and go from town to town and use it as a show piece - and, thus, it became famous.  Is Da Vinnci a sell out?

But - lets say you don't want to spend all your time marketing and someone comes along and says, "Hey, I'll market for you.  I'll just take some of the profit to cover my expenses."

Has the artist lost their independence yet?  I think this is about the time that many people would say they are no longer independent, because now they are being distributed by a major label or disitributor or chain or... whatever the appropriate word for the discipline is.  Does that mean they lose their independence?

It wasn't long ago in music that in order to make a record, it took a significant amount of cash.  There was no software or sequencers (Midi wasn't published as a standard until 1983 - for reference, MTV was airing for 2 years prior to this).  So, back then it required hiring studios, musicians - you name it.  To that end, it was not unlike the movie industry today.

The music industry has gotten to a point that with some talent and a minimal amount of equipment - you can cut a record from your home.

So - Were there no independent artists before this revolution?   Lots of artists had people pay for their records to be made.  Does that make them not independent?

I think Independence is completely found in the artist's mindset.  Are they thinking independently?  The minute they begin to do things because someone wants them to be done, then they are an employee - and that, I would say, would make them no longer independent.

On the other hand, if they are doing exactly what they want to be doing - even if you or I don't like it - they are independenty guided and, therfore, indpendent.

What do you think?


什麼時候藝術家是獨立的? 什麼時候他們失去了獨立性?


除了天份和所有大家認為一個藝術家應該具備的東西之外 –還有一個比較少提到的要素:聽/觀眾。

不論這個藝術家是做音樂、電影、攝影、舞蹈或任何其他 –要完成這個過程,必須有聽/觀眾。不論他的俱樂部裏有成千「粉絲」或只是一個崇拜者,那兒有聽/觀眾

一個藝術家想跟很多聽/觀眾溝通是錯誤的嗎?我個人認為這很自然。有人會說這是利己主義而不是利他主義,但是 -這兩者對“獨立”都沒有影響 -只是想和更多人分享而已。


當然,你可以把你的音樂、影帶和照片都放在網上 -但這並不代表別人會來看。所以,你需要做推廣。

這是兩者的接合點。推廣你的作品,你就賣出去了嗎?曾經詫異為什麼蒙娜麗莎會那麼出名?曾經詫異為什麼畫那麼小?畫小是為了他容易拿着它從這個城賣到那個城,方便展示 -然後,就出名了。但達文西把它賣出去了嗎?

但是 -你不想花所有的時間在推廣上,然後有個人過來跟你說,“嘿,我會幫你推廣,只需要拿一些利潤來抵銷開支”。




所以 –在這場革命之前,是否曾有過獨立藝術家?曾經有很多人願意付錢買很多藝術家的作品,是否這讓他們不獨立了?

我認為獨立完全在藝術家的思想裏。他們是獨立思考的嗎?從他們做什麼事是因為別人希望他們去做開始,他們就是僱員了 -而且,我認為,這讓他們不再獨立。

另一方面,如果他們做什麼都只因他們自己想做 -甚至你或我不喜歡 -那麼他們就是有獨立導向,也就是,獨立的。




什么时候艺术家是独立的? 什么时候他们失去了独立性?


除了天分和所有大家认为一个艺术家应该具备的东西之外 –还有一个比较少提到的要素:听/观众。

不论这个艺术家是做音乐、电影、摄影、舞蹈或任何其他 –要完成这个过程,必须有听/观众。不论他的俱乐部里有成千「粉丝」或只是一个崇拜者,那儿有听/观众。

一个艺术家想跟很多听/观众沟通是错误的吗?我个人认为这很自然。有人会说这是利己主义而不是利他主义,但是 -这两者对“独立”都没有影响 -只是想和更多人分享而已。


当然,你可以把你的音乐、影带和照片都放在网上 -但这并不代表别人会来看。所以,你需要做推广。

这是两者的接合点。推广你的作品,你就卖出去了吗?曾经诧异为什么蒙娜丽莎会那么出名?曾经诧异为什么画那么小?画小是为了他容易拿着它从这个城卖到那个城,方便展示 -然后,就出名了。但达芬奇把它卖出去了吗?

但是 -你不想花所有的时间在推广上,然后有个人过来跟你说,“嘿,我会帮你推广,只需要拿一些利润来抵销开支”。




所以 -这场革命之前,是否曾有过独立艺术家?曾经有很多人愿意付钱买很多艺术家的作品,是否这让他们不独立了?

我认为独立完全在艺术家的思想里。他们是独立思考的吗?从他们做什么事是因为别人希望他们去做开始,他们就是雇员了 -而且,我认为,这让他们不再独立。

另一方面,如果他们做什么只因他们自己想做 -甚至你或我不喜欢 -那么他们就是有独立导向,也就是,独立的。


over 14 years ago 0 likes  14 comments  0 shares
Photo 22998
I think a lot of artists think they need to be alone to be independent. This is often a mistake. Syndergy makes things happen. I think fear makes people choose to be alone in their work - fear of losing control perhpas. Perhaps fear of being exposed for not being good enough or knowing enough. Very few arts though can prosper entirely in isolation.
over 14 years ago
Photo 22998
I think a lot of the same labeling that happens for music is relevant to movies and will become more so in the future. I guess one of the reasons that this idea means something to me is that I see a lot of truly talented people scoff at success as a sell out while I think what they have to share would be well served on a wider audience. There is a whole ironic twist to this situation which is that in the music industry - there is the cusp of a paradigm shift. It used to be that large labels would pick up a band and then basically make them a huge loan that they would need to be megastars in order to repay. The loan would pay for recording, music videos, concert tours. From a business perspective it was a brilliant scheme on the part of the label. However, fromthe artist point of view - it usually took 5 successful albums in order to ever repay the loan. So, if you never made superstar status, you ended up in debt. This is why a lot of musicians like Annie DiFranco and Aimee Mann went without labels. One great thing about the internet is that it is allowing artists to avoid this. However, the missing link is someone who knows who can help the artists utilize this. I wonder if talented public relations people might be the new non-artist powers that be rather than distributors. Most of my time is spent inthe movie industry - but I think there is a correlation and the music industry is a leading indicator for the movie industry.
over 14 years ago
Photo 22998
Lynn - this isn't unlike when someone pirates music or DVDs en mass. Either way it's a infringement on Copywrite. Different countries take different stances on copywrite law which is an issue that's coming up a lot. It's the same problem for software as it is for music or movies. Hmmm... think I'll make a little blog on that.
over 14 years ago


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April 13, 2007