The Creator Class & NFTs

blue Art neon sign turned on

From a financial perspective, the pandemic has hit the creator class hard. With the usual venues for live performances and exhibitions closed, artists, musicians, singers, actors, and creators of every description have been forced to fend for themselves. But something very new, and kind of amazing, has happened over the past year. The result may be the emergence of a first-time-ever, self-sufficient, profitable creator class.

The stereotype of a “starving artist” is old and hackneyed. Fine artists aren’t supposed to care about stuff like food or shelter. They’ve been “suffering for their art” for centuries. Dancers aren’t big eaters, so no one ever thinks about “starving dancers.” But musicians haven’t fared much better. Papa Bach was a church organist and an organ repairman on the side. Mozart was always borrowing money from his friends and relatives, although he did make some real money now and again. Beethoven didn’t die poor, but he also lived from commission to commission. Prior to 2021, there is one thing that every artist has had in common with every other artist who ever lived: they practiced their art at the pleasure of a patron.

Patrons

Whether a monarch, a rich person, a corporation, a media company, a label, a museum, a you-fill-in-the blank, someone with money has funded practically every art project ever. There are a few notable exceptions, of course. But they do not prove the rule. In modern history, the vast majority of artists (no matter the artform) have both wanted and needed the equivalent of a “recording contract with a major label” in order to eat and pay the rent while attempting to accomplish their artistic goals.

The Mother of Invention

The creator class has undergone one of the most noticeable pandemic-accelerated digital transformations. Visit YouTube or TikTok or Instagram or any other social video site, and you are sure to find a creator fully empowered with direct-to-consumer (DTC) business tools. From payment processing to analytics to production capabilities, literally everything a creator needs to “get paid” is available with little or no investment. This is more than a digital version of passing the hat to support your busking. There is a massive tech infrastructure emerging to power, enable, and profit symbiotically with the evolving creator class.

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This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it.

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