Sunday, October 27, 2013

On Working for Free

In the New York Times, Tim Kreider writes a terrific essay on working for free.
"People who would consider it a bizarre breach of conduct to expect anyone to give them a haircut or a can of soda at no cost will ask you, with a straight face and a clear conscience, whether you wouldn’t be willing to write an essay or draw an illustration for them for nothing. They often start by telling you how much they admire your work, although not enough, evidently, to pay one cent for it.  “Unfortunately we don’t have the budget to offer compensation to our contributors...” is how the pertinent line usually starts. But just as often, they simply omit any mention of payment.

"A familiar figure in one’s 20s is the club owner or event promoter who explains to your band that they won’t be paying you in money, man, because you’re getting paid in the far more valuable currency of exposure. This same figure reappears over the years, like the devil, in different guises — with shorter hair, a better suit — as the editor of a Web site or magazine, dismissing the issue of payment as an irrelevant quibble and impressing upon you how many hits they get per day, how many eyeballs, what great exposure it’ll offer. “Artist Dies of Exposure” goes the rueful joke."


Pete Emslie said...

There is so much I'd like to say on this, but I know that those of the internet generation would scoff at every point I'd make. Suffice to say, I do not now nor have I ever believed in the Internet Economy. It is NOT better than what we used to have where people bought and sold tangible goods. The Internet Economy is a sham, as very few individuals have been able to figure out how to make money from what they create on the net. The fact that it has resulted in a society that now feels entitled to receive everything right away and at little or no cost will lead to the eventual death of our economy altogether. I yearn for days of real goods being produced and sold in brick and mortar structures instead of everything being in the form of pixels within our computers or up on the idiotic "Cloud". Sorry, but that's how I genuinely feel about it all. As the critters in POGO used to say, "We have met the enemy, and he is us!"

Shane Skekel said...

Mr. Emslie, even though I have been using the Internet for approximately thirteen years; your points are indeed valid. I mean, what's going to happen to Netflix, Newgrounds, YouTube,, Bandcamp, etc. (along with its clones) when the Internet's equivalent to the 1983 Video Game Crash? My dad once said "There's a need for redundancy" and you have done an excellent job explaining why.

Shane Skekel said...

Oh, I meant to say "along with their clones" and "when the Internet's equivalent to the 1983 Video Game Crash were to happen?"