I work in many creative art forms. I teach voice lessons to a select few, which requires me to seek out vocal music for my students to learn. My children take piano, so I’m always on the lookout for new music to inspire them to grow. Then there’s my love of books. Mmm…the written word—nothing stimulates my imagination more.
One of the things all these forms of art have in common is that most people don’t consider the amount of time someone spent to create them, or that these artists really want this to be their livelihood. I often hear people say of sheet music. “Well, can’t you just make me a copy of the one you already have?” Technically, I could make a copy—people do it all the time—but what about the musician who spent hours blending those notes and words into this fabulous song? They won’t see a dime from the copy you’re asking me to create.
The same goes for books. How many books have you borrowed from someone in the last year? Maybe, to you, this is a trivial topic—I mean, you’re not likely to get caught for stealing and be put in jail. But to me, it hits close to home. Every time my books are shared and not bought by a reader, I don’t get paid. It is a harsh reality every artist must face, that really doesn’t happen in other industries or jobs. Doctors get paid when they see a patient. Construction workers get paid for every hour they put in on the job. And though artist might spend just as much time on their job, we are paid strictly by royalties. Please consider that the next time you find yourself searching for a free version of music or books. We really do work hard to bring you our best, to be a little compensated for it isn’t too much to ask.