Why Artists Don’t Make Money – The Business of Life (Episode 3)

This episode of ‘The Business of Life’ looks at two creative industries going in seemingly opposite trajectories: the fine art world, where the sky is seemingly the limit for the prices collectors are willing to pay; and the music industry, where the free-fall of record company profits has only recently begun to slow.

But at the root of each sector’s rising or declining fortunes is the underlying question: How should we compensate artists? And what value do cultural products create in a society? To get to the bottom of the issue, we’ve tapped the former New Yorker pop critic Sasha Frere-Jones, award-winning artist Ryder Ripps, and Glenn O’Brien, the founder of TV Party, original editor of Interview Magazine, and a former member of Andy Warhol’s Factory.

Watch “How the US Workforce is Changing (Episode 1)” – http://bit.ly/1I4IvVW

Watch “This is the Modern American Family (Episode 2)” – http://bit.ly/1A6yp5e

All content is the sole property of VICE News. Materials presented are for informational purposes only and do not necessarily reflect the views or endorsement of Bank of America. Bank of America, VICE and/or their partners assume no liability for loss or damage resulting from anyone’s reliance on the information provided.

Subscribe to VICE News here: http://bit.ly/Subscribe-to-VICE-News

Check out VICE News for more: http://vicenews.com

Follow VICE News here:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vicenews
Twitter: https://twitter.com/vicenews
Tumblr: http://vicenews.tumblr.com/
Instagram: http://instagram.com/vicenews
More videos from the VICE network: https://www.fb.com/vicevideos


elsa Grace says:

Maybe artist values put things other than money as a priority. I do. Money is not a need. Money is only one of millions of strategies to get needs met. I prefer to be more creative with getting my needs met than by way of money. Money is the boring and lazy way.


I can understand that art isn’t a profitable field, I don’t think that’s why someone would chose to be an artist though. I think it more comes down to getting paid for something you love to do, instead of being a cubicle slave like they mentioned. It’s more of a thing for more minimalistic people

The Age Old says:

I had to check the comments IMMEDIATELY after hearing the 1st guy in the crowd comment lol

Adayjah Franklin says:


Albert McTorre says:

I’ve been playing for quite a few years. What I’ve noticed is we’re all too lazy and unfocused to make money.

Lazy because in general a lot of us sit around on our asses and then complain.

Unfocused because we continue to use oldschool marketing schemes. For example, the tour and tour untill you have a fan base plam. How about using youtube better, or even stuff like patreon?

Uncle Kenta says:

We have allowed the oligarchical thumb under which we all suffer. The Internet is open, and yet we humans choose to submit to the ‘Likes’ of massive overlords like Facebook. Is it some sort of ‘follow the herd’ genes because we are mammals? We could setup private, member controlled social networks, with independent economies. But we don’t. What humans really ‘seem to Like’, is to be slaves to corruption. I can’t figure out a better explanation for this nonsense. I hope networks like Patreon can give creative folks a chance to earn a decent living and do what they love. But then I also hope Santa comes down the chimney at Xmuh. You got a whole generation that wants everything for FREE, and have the attention span of a flea. It isn’t free $$$!!!. The artists paid for it in time, cash and energy to create their works. And like spoiled brats we stampede to yet another overlord like Spotify, because we are too lazy and cheap to pay 99 cents to the artists directly. “Blow Me Up Tom”

John Smith says:

I consider a complete insult for Musician’s to call themselves artists, Lady Gaga is a musician, people who do music are musician.
People who create art are artists they are not the same, mass producing a song digitally is not equivalent to mass producing a hand painting sculpture or ceramic Musician’s calling themselves artist is what has destroyed art in this country and has made it nearly impossible for a painter, sculptor, three-dimensional artist to make a living. Music is not Art

Ian Ross says:

Shawty behind Ripps Bad AF.

pSmall360 says:

Crowd/Panel so white.

Stelios Kapet says:

I think the guy in the white shirt that pretends to be the pro is wrong. you are not selling the music no matter the quality or the form. they should also think that you should give to the customer the best experience. the best audio quality. the best show on tour. the best technology. he is like thinking that music is something you can hear out of a homemade tin speaker and a wire that connects to your phone. God… he is so arrogant and unprofessional.

Boom Boom says:

well, what can I do ? Go check my channel ? thanks 🙂

Ulrna says:

They won over the pirates, That’s why the record industry is Fucked!!

themightyflog says:

Artists don’t make as much because they are not business people. They are artists. Why do you think artists have been screwed for years while people make money off of them? Because they are not business people. To make a living now you kind of have to be both.

Lawrence Abbott says:

about a quarter of this video is pretty much people acting and sounding like they know something, but really don’t hahaha.

Flash Man says:

Most millennials can’t even play an instrument. And most “singer/musicians” also can’t play any instruments. It’s just the same diatribe “huuur duuur I got cash I like butts. My house is in a rental. Imma own boss ass bitch”.

The legendary gamer says:

Didn’t beyonce also have a multi platinum album in 2014 it broke iTunes

Multiple Users says:

Well the reality is that painting took a down turn and because everybody is using photoshop bs it also damages the ability of artist in general to work.

Music on the other hand people are listening the SONY aquisition of Michael Jackson and with the war from 2001 nobody really cares about music people any more.

Imagery itself has advance or changed while music from the 1950’s ( Jazz ) is still preferred.

Music = peace and happiness
Imagery = madness and discontent.

People want to feel happy when listening to music while they enjoy the horrors of imagery. .

thomas flores says:

a lot of these artist dont understand the business of music and dont monetize on what can be.

Serena Ellen-RubyART says:

“In my current line of work cuz I love art & I’m a massive geek. If I wanted to make bank, I’d be doing something else.” – Liam O’Brien

Benjamin Voldemort says:

government subsidies do not make artists great

Stelios Kapet says:

ultimately… would Michael Jackson be what he was if he was doing this only for art and not about the world records, money and the historical meaning of his life in musics history and he was like poor all his life and doing another job like mopping floors or maybe barman? NO. HE WOULDNT BE WHAT HE WAS. SO ITS THE SYSTEM THAT MAKES ARTISTS UNABLE TO PRODUCE THE SAME VALUE OF ART THEY USED TO. IT’S NOT THAT THERE ARE NO TALENTED PEOPLE. ITS THAT THEY(THE SYSTEM) LIKES THEM WEAK AND EXPENDABLES

fcf d says:

Taylor swift is so rich

Bodedo says:

5:42 the word you’re looking for is mp3. It’s not quite as ephemeral as you’re making it sound, my friend

ARCoventry says:

$23.50!! damn where’s my money

Wan Meemee says:

i think being an artist isnt really about making money. im a film student and obviously film are made for audience and we get their money. however not every film made is for that particular reason. some enjoy making film because of the art in filmmaking itself. the art of story telling.

Jeff Finley says:

Man these guys seem so bored, jaded, and uninspired.

Jack Prizant says:

2:45 girl in the mom jeans and black all stars: ‘I love you.’

Serrasalmus Rhombeus says:

The problem is that most of the music now days sucks ass. So how do any of these shitty so called musicians expect to make money. This has to be by far the worse time for music. Music itself out there is shit for the lack of a better word. I certainly would not call it art. lol

fcf d says:

Ariana grande too

WojakOd7Bolesci says:

I know that was long time ago, but i must to say it unsound festival in Poland don’t get money from goverment, becouse our goverment sucks and they only think how to control the citizens. We have big event called “Woodstock” in small town Kostrzyn, that is the biggest polish event ever (you can google it) it’s quite different music than at unsound festival but the law site of organization is the same. Our goverment makes everything to make organization of events harder. Yup i’m from Poland if you didn’t realised yet. (sorry for mistakes, my english is so poor, that it can’t even pay attention)

John Bissonnette says:

The questions would be more realistic from actual artists who make almost no money. Take Spotify for example they are totally screwing artists. They just figured out how to cut through the red tape that Napster couldn’t. If you don’t have deep pockets it’s going to be pretty rough for you as an artist. I’d say it will decrease you life expectancy because you will live poorly. It’s a rich people’s world and they make the rules as they go. The only up side is if you truly love creating things you will feel fulfilled on that end on the scale. Maybe more then a person slaving on an assembly line.

Geewiakers says:

Not going to watch this, it’s just another video saying “Being an artist isn’t a real job,” or “Being an artist is for people without *real* talent.”

afrobear2310 says:

This was too short/vague for my liking. The statistics employed were helpful in stimulating the conversation but instead of sufficiently deconstructing them with his guests the mediator (exhaustingly) introduced a new statistic before one has a chance to grasp the meaning of its predecessor. How can his guests genuinely delve into the issue/subject with such superficial treatment? By the same token, the show’s brevity was unhelpful. I felt short changed by the end of it. While 23 mins may not allow for much depth, the show nonetheless managed to cover many topics.Sadly it spread itself too thinly and left me wanting more. PS – Any serious discussion about the value of creativity ought to be (imo) contextualised as broadly as possible in the light of multiple art forms (comedy, literature, fashion and cinema are unwise omissions).When framed as such, discussions tend to be fruitful and robust.

 Write a comment


Do you like our videos?
Do you want to see more like that?

Please click below to support us on Facebook!