Tuesday, March 20, 2007


I received a comment on yesterday's post:
I don't see any problem with his asking for money on his website. He is probably putting himself out there as his financial situation is not so rosy. You can choose to donate, or not to. This money 'asking' thing might alienate friends or peers, given the 'indignity' of it, perhaps he is really in dire financial situation to resort to this? It must have taken him a tremendous amount of courage to do this. As someone you respect and like, I reckon you should not be too hasty in judging his action. I'm sure he has thought long and hard about it.
I did not give out all the relevant information in my post, and perhaps I should have. The composer I wrote about is not in dire financial straits, but in fact has received a number of large grants and awards in the last few years, including a hefty one (one that I myself was awarded years ago) which allowed her to live abroad and compose and perform around Europe. I am not against anyone asking for money if there is dire need. It is the act of essentially creating your own "club" in which the members simply support the artist that I find troublesome. And asking other artists to contribute money to allow you to do the same thing they are trying to do is odd. Perhaps the composer should have had a targeted list of potential patrons to whom to appeal, rather than sending a request to fellow artists, all of whom are in the same boat, trying to scratch up money for performances and new commissions.

I know very few composers who make much money from composing, unless they do commercial work. We would all love to have people just give us money so we can keep composing. But never before have I seen this kind of "fundraising" effort. Throughout history artists have had patrons, but the arrangements were made discreetly.

And if the fees from commissions and royalties don't add up to much, the simple solution is to do what just about every composer I know does, and get a job.

And just one more point: my reader, Pate, tells me not to judge hastily. Let me assure you that I first received a solicitation from this composer months ago, and I let it go. It was only after getting yet another, and looking at the issue more deeply, that I wrote about it here. With all due respect, perhaps Pate should not be so hasty as to jump to conclusions about my thought processes.

No comments: