Creative Close-Up: Art Business Institute Tools

Creative Close-Up: Art Business Institute Tools

August 29 / 17

Hey! It’s time for some Creative Close-Up. For those who are trying to get their foot in the door of the art industry, Arts Business Institute has a few tips to share with you….

credit source: Arts Business Institute

How Direct Mail Marketing Can Boost Your Art Business


What You Can Learn from Your Competition


Art and the Corporate Market


Staying Focused? Or Chasing Money?


Sell Your Handmade Work to High-End Clientele


How to Improve Your Art Website About Page


I hope these articles from ABI are helpful. Enjoy your day, be blessed.







Image source:




Creative Close-Up: From Digital Music News…..

Creative Close-Up: From Digital Music News…..

July 29 / 17

Hey everybody…it’s time for a Creative Close-Up. I found a recent article about music streaming, courtesy of Digital Music News. This has been updated to show you how much the artists are making. Read it and see for yourself.

Digital Music News

What Streaming Music Services Pay (Updated for 2017)

Image source by Information is Beautiful

So, how much can you expect to get from Spotify, Apple Music, and other streaming platforms?

Music streaming services have helped to spark a revival in the music industry.  This year alone, major labels have reported record-breaking revenue.

But how much are artists actually earning?

We’ve been compiling data on this for a few years.  But getting a comprehensive, overarching look is pretty difficult.  Now, Information is Beautiful has released a new infograph showing how much major streaming services actually pay.  It reflects their best efforts to amass per-stream data into one diagram.

Calculate Your Earnings from Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, Amazon, Google Play & More

Two years ago, the team at Information is Beautiful did the same analysis.  They analyzed what it would take for an artist to receive a monthly wage minimum of $1,260. For example, Google Play Music paid out $0.0073 per play; so artists would need 172,206 plays to earn the $1,260.

TIDAL, which paid out $0.007 per play, would require a similar amount.

Artists on YouTube have traditionally received lowest amount.  In 2015, the video platform paid $0.0003 per play.  To earn the minimum wage amount, musicians would need 4.2 million plays on the platform.

Now, Information is Beautiful has updated their list for 2017.

This year, they compared eight major music streaming services: Napster, YouTube, Pandora, Apple Music, TIDAL, Google Play, Deezer, and Spotify.  The team tracked the following information:

  • Artist revenue per play.
  • Total users (millions) per platform.
  • Percentage of free users on the platform.
  • Plays needed to earn minimum monthly wage ($1,472).
  • Total annual loss reported by the streaming platform.
  • Annual loss per user.

It’s worth noting that this report doesn’t apply to signed artists, as they receive an unreported cut based on their contracts.

And the king of streaming payouts is… Napster?

Napster topped this year’s list with the highest artist revenue paid out per play.  For a single stream, Napster paid out $0.0167.  Compared to its competitors, however, the platform has the second-lowest amount of total users: 5 million.  So it can be difficult to scale that per-play number, but great if you assemble a core Napster following.

To earn minimum wage, an artist would need 90,000 plays on the platform.

But why does Napster have higher payouts?  The answer may be that the service doesn’t have a free tier.  In 2015, a Napster spokesperson told TechRadar that a freemium business model simply “isn’t sustainable.”

The company has reported losses, however.  Yet, its losses only amounted to $35 million, the third-lowest on the list.  With five million users on its platform, on average, each user costs Napster $7.78.

Second place in payouts: TIDAL

Despite Jay Z’s massive star power, users have yet to flock to the high-fidelity streaming service.  The company last reported around 4 million users, though it may have inflated its total subscription numbers. The Jay Z-owned streamer pays out $0.0110 per stream.  An artist on the platform would need 130,000 plays to earn the monthly minimum wage amount.

Based on Information is Beautiful’s calculations, only 28% of users on the platform pay for a subscription.  TIDAL last reported an annual loss of $28 million, the second lowest on the list.  Each user costs the company about $6.67.

Third place: Apple Music

In just two years, over 27 million people have subscribed to Apple Music.  It took Spotify nearly a decade to reach 50 million.  While Apple remains secretive about its losses, unsigned artists on the platform can expect to receive $0.0064 per play.  For an unsigned artist to earn $1,472, they’d need 230,000 plays.  Apple didn’t share how much each user costs the company.

The former payout king falls to fourth place

In 2015, unsigned artists on Google Play Music would earn $0.0179 per play.  That number has since decreased to $0.0059.

Like Apple, Google won’t report on its annual music losses.  That includes how much each user costs the company.  Currently, the service has more than 5 million paid subscribers, and 5 million more on a free tier service (possibly on a trial subscription).

For an artist to earn minimum wage on the platform, they would need 250,000 plays.

Say hello to Deezer

French-based music streaming service Deezer may not have a huge presence in the United States just yet.  However, it is available in over 180 countries.  It also has more than 40 million licensed tracks.

On average, the service pays out $0.0056 per stream, slightly lower than Google Play Music.  It also has 16 million total users, 57% of whom are on a free-tier.  To earn $1,472, an artist would need 260,000 plays on the platform.

Deezer also has the lowest annual loss on the list.  Each user costs Deezer just $1.69.

Et tu, Spotify?

Ahead of their long-awaited IPO, Spotify is currently embroiled in controversy. While the service has the highest number of paid subscriptions, artists often complain about low payouts.  According to Information is Beautiful, the Swedish streamer pays out $0.0038 per stream.  That means for an artist to earn minimum wage, they would need 380,000 plays on the platform.

Two years ago, the service paid out $0.007 per stream.  Unsigned artists would need 180,000 plays to earn $1,260.

The streaming platform has recently locked down long-term licensing deals with major labels.  It also has 140 million total users.  According to Information is Beautiful, 57% use its free-tier service.  The number doesn’t add up, as Spotify last reported over 50 million users.  Roughly 90 or so million use the service.

Losses at the company continue growing, however.  Information is Beautiful calculates an annual loss of $194 million, with each user costing the company $1.39.

DMN’s investigation calculates losses over $600 million.

Struggling Pandora lands in seventh place

Without presenting a clear financial plan, Pandora’s CEO promised investors that the company would turn a profit this year.

On the infograph, Pandora landed in second-to-last place with one of the worst artist payouts.  Per stream, Pandora pays $0.0011.  It also has the second-highest amount of total users, right behind Spotify.  However, an unsigned artist would need 1.2 million plays to earn minimum wage on the platform.  Its losses also grew to $250 million. Each user costs the company $3.20.

Don’t expect to earn money once again on: YouTube

Artists, major labels, and music organizations have long called out YouTube for its paltry royalty payments.  The Google-owned company has defended itself, stating that it has paid out over $1 billion.  The numbers speak for themselves, however.

Two years ago, YouTube paid unsigned artists $0.0018 per play on its video platform.  That number has dropped to $0.0006, the lowest on the list.  The platform has one billion users.  The team at Information is Beautiful calculates that only .1% have subscribed to YouTube Red.

For an artist to earn minimum wage on the platform, they would need 2.4 million plays.  While this number remains high, two years ago, unsigned artists would earn $1,260 only after just 70,000 plays.

The Google-owned video platform reported a loss of $174 million.  With over 1 billion users, each costs YouTube just 17 cents.

Featured image by Information is Beautiful

[UPDATE] The numbers originally referenced in this piece were for signed artists, not unsigned artists.  The calculations have since been updated to reflect unsigned artists.

I hope Mr. Sanchez’s article gave you something to think about.

Creative Close-Up: Which Music Streaming Service is Best for You?

Creative Close-Up: Which Music Streaming Service is Best for You?

October 26, 2015

I love music, doesn’t matter if it’s rock, jazz, pop, metal or maybe a little country, I just love music. Over the years, music streaming has become the norm. Who can remember Napster? Now we have Apple, Rhapsody, Pandora, Spotify, and now there is Tidal.

When iTunes came on the scene, I came aboard with it. Now I’m trying Apple Music, so far so good, but it needs more bug fixing. I also have an account with Spotify. It was premium, but now it’s a free account. Crazy yes, but that’s how I work.

Both Apple Music and Spotify are pretty good. At first I couldn’t tell which quality of sound was perfect. The winner goes to Apple, because it’s sound is near perfection. Tidal is the new kid on the block of music streaming. They claim that they’re the first music service with High Fidelity sound quality, High Definition music videos. I have no doubt that it’s true. As we all know Jay-Z and 17 other artists including Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, Madonna, to name a few is behind this new service. Since it’s existence earlier this year, people have been very critical about it. Dogging it out really. Read the recent article.

I am trying the 30-day free trial. Now I don’t think that I will reach 30 days, I might just decide in the next few weeks. I just like to try the competition. At the end of the day, I’ll stick with Apple. Competition makes business go round. Each music streaming service has its pro and cons, but is Apple better than Spotify, no. Is Spotify better than Apple? No. Is Tidal better than either Spotify or Apple? No.

The point I’m trying to make is that there is no better or the best music streaming service, but we do make the choice about which one we like the most, the one we feel the most comfortable with. Only we, the consumer have the choice to make or break the product.





featured image courtesy of


Creative Close-Up: Finding Your Creative Niche

Creative Close-Up: Finding Your Creative Niche

September 28, 2015

Niche:  A position or activity that particularly suits somebody’s talents and personality or that somebody can make his or her own.

Whenever you create something, doesn’t matter if its painting, photography, or music, you want to put your own stamp on it…in other words you want to put your very own creative niche into the work.

It’s all about finding your creative niche. You know your personality is like, for some artists, they put that aspect into their work. What they put on canvas, paper….not only is it a part of their personality, but also what they’ve experience in the past few years. They can’t go on painting or drawing the same thing. Each part of their work has a time period. Someone or something from their past, their present has been a source of creativity.

The same goes for singers and musicians. Again, the past and present has a way of coming together when you hear a piece of music, a song. All about that creative niche. Some of them have a journal just to put down what they’re feeling at that moment, what they experienced in their lives. Where do you think these songs stem from anyway?

It’s the same with writers. The past and present play a part in a writer’s life too. We see a little bit of their personalities, their creativity into the works they churn out.

Again, it’s all about finding your creative niche. Past, present, your personality all have a part in how you create your work. Whenever I look at a person’s painting, illustrations, digital works, each of these artist have a style of creativity. Their creative niche. Some explore the light and airy world of life, while others tend to look into the dark, gothic look in life. All works of art are not the same. Each piece is different, each artist is different. Look at artists H.R. Giger to Jean Paul Basquiat, in music, Johnny Cash to Janis Joplin, in writing world Harper Lee to Stephen King. Each of these creative folks have or had that creative niche.

Of course practice is also key. I have my own little black sketch book. In it I sketch drawings of people, scenery….I know it doesn’t have to be perfect. This is where I discover my own creative niche. Sometimes it can be by accident. Not only does it take practice, but also patience. This creative process just doesn’t happen overnight. Practice and patience.

Take your time to find your creative niche, it’ll come. All it takes is practice and patience.





featured image courtesy of June Sight Photograph &

Art Close-Up: Articles Worth Reading

Art Close-Up: Articles Worth Reading

April 27, 2015

Morning all. May will be here this Friday and I’m getting it all together, but first, I want to share six articles with you that may be worth your while….


Use QR Codes to Share Your Art

Niche Markets in the New Economy

Increase Your Illustration Income With Tostadora

Avoid These 7 Mistakes When Photographing Art

Obama Administration’s Tax Reforms Target Art Collectors

The Best Way to Collect Contemporary Art: Patiently & Passionately

I wanted to shake Art Close-Up a bit, just something different. Lots of stuff for tomorrow, so please continue to visit! Enjoy your Tuesday and always be blessed!


featured image unknown

Art Close-Up: Bjork Retrospective @ MoMA….What’s Really Going On?

Art Close-Up: Bjork Retrospective @ MoMA….What’s Really Going On?

March 30, 2015

A certain exhibition has critics in an uproar. That should be the name of this post. As some of you already know or don’t know, is that Icelandic pop icon Bjork has an exhibition that is now held at MoMA and will be there till early June of this year.

I was surprised by this because, I mean I know who Bjork is. I’m familiar with her music, it just took me off guard, because I didn’t think she would even consider doing that type of thing. Too bad I can’t just pop up at MoMA to see the exhibit, but that’s alright. What’s really got my attention is the press the exhibition is getting. So far it’s generating pretty bad reviews. Art critics have pounced and they are holding no punches. Some reviews have been blunt to downright biting….

“Scant, cramped overview….jammed into a tacky little two-story pavilion….Bjork should have said no-not because her work isn’t museum-worthy, but because, as proved here, the Modern is not up to the task.” Roberta Smith – New York Times

“bad, really bad.” Artnews

“Fairyland meets the Hard Rock Cafe in this exhibition.” The Guardian

Christian Viveros-Faune for Artnet News said simply that the MoMA curator should be fired. Jerry Saltz, a critic for New York Magazine went so far as to burn his press pass. I’m not joking about this….. The curator and director of MoMA’s PS1 is Klaus Biesenbach. This is the man behind the idea of Marina Abromovic’s exhibition, The Artist Is Present back in 2010. It took Biesenbach twelve years to convince Bjork to the idea and it took three years to create and assemble it. She did make a brief appearance, in a cactus outfit, thanking everyone for coming to the retrospective, but quickly left before the press could ask any questions. Unfortunately, all that effort has already began to go up in smoke.

There were problems from the get go. As Michelle Lhooq‘s article for Thump Why Does Everyone Hate the Bjork Retrospective at MoMA? explains just what Roberta Smith was saying before….

“Biesenbach failed to elaborate on how he went about this temporal hopscotch or what a future-retrospective even means. Nothing about the exhibition or its accompanying wall texts seem to follow this conceptual thrust. More damning is the museum’s inability to live up to Björk’s own aspirations for what this could have been. Her goal, according to Biesenbach, was an art exhibition that makes sound–not visuals–its focus, rather than an afterthought.”

Google about the Bjork MoMA exhibition and I’m sure you’ll see this from other critics. Three editors from Hyperallergic went to the exhibition and neither of them were familiar with Bjork. First of all, I will say this, to clearly get an understanding about her, they should’ve done their research before. I’m just saying this because they really didn’t get who she is as an artist. I’m not able to see the exhibition. If I could, I would definitely give my two-cents, but I probably would’ve like it. I may not be a fan fan per say, but I do appreciate her music and where she’s coming from in an artistic viewing point.

If you guys went to the exhibition, tell us what you think.

Here are some of the articles:

Enjoy your Monday…be blessed art peeps!

featured image of Bjork-like manquin wearing costume dress courtesy of

Art Close-Up: Fighting & Expressing Racism Through Art

Art Close-Up: Fighting & Expressing Racism Through Art

February 23, 2015

Good Afternoon. Last week of February and have things lined up for the week. Let’s look at this month’s Art Close-Up.

I really wanted readers to know how I feel about the subject of racism. Let’s face it. It’s the 21st century and racism still exists. It’s a sad and very frustrating problem. I was watching a little bit of The Book of Negros on BET last week. This program and several films about slavery are hard to watch. Mainly because it tells the hard, cold truth of how slavery was for our ancestors. Taken away from their homes, crossing the Atlantic in the most despicable conditions no human can simply imagine. Even so, we still need to know how hard they fought not only for freedom, but also that future generations know what sacrifices they made for us.

Our ancestors were free, but it was still an uphill battle, especially in the American South. Look at the Harlem Renaissance. The prevailing theme was racial consciousness. African-American writers, artists, musicians, poets, even those in the political arena not only developed, but challenged the world about African-American culture and stereotypes. It was the beginning platform for those involved to express the injustice of that time. Langston Hughes, W.E.B. Du Bois, and others were the key players. By the time the Black Arts Movement came to play in the mid to late 60’s, it was full on force. This movement took a new level of expression. Maya Angelou, Wadsworth Jarrell, and Nikki Giovanni became a new generation of writers, poets, and artists to express their views on our culture.

Film makers like Spike Lee, John Singleton and others are showing movie goers about the everyday lives of African-Americans. Honestly Hollywood has and in my opinion, still in denial about the fact that there are not only African, but Hispanic, Asian, Native American talent out there that would love to tell their own stories….it’s getting there, but unfortunately, at a snail’s pace.

The way I see it, they all have one thing in common and that is their expressing their form of life through art. You see it, you read and you hear about it. Most people can relate. Some are disturbed by it, others are fascinated, or just plain confused, or just disgusted, but that’s what the arts and every form of it is supposed to do! You can look away and cover your ears or just shut it all if you want to, but it’s there.

Example, Kara Walker experienced some controversy when a piece of her work, The moral arc of history ideally bends towards justice but just as soon as not curves back around toward barbarism, sadism, and unrestrained chaos caused a bit of commotion for a few Newark Public Library employees. According to an article, some employees felt that this particular piece of art should not be in a public library. Walker visited the library to discuss not only the work, but the controversy surrounding the piece, and she did not back away from the difficult subjects associated with the work. Do I think the piece was appropriate to hang in a public library? Not too much really, but then again, it gained the attention to talk about it right?

It’s not only African-Americans artists and writers expressing their life and experiences through art. Asians, Hispanics, and other minorities are doing the same thing. We’re trying and will continue to break the stereotypes of our culture. These creative forces have put their mark in the world of art and literature so that future generations can take note, understand, and be inspired.

Yes, racism still exists, but we’re still doing something about it.

Here are two of the articles about Walker’s piece: Censorship or common decency? Newark Library Covers Up Controversial Artwork by Barry Carter/The Star-Ledger, December 2012 and Kara Walker Addresses Art and Controversy at the Newark Public Library by Jessica Kramer/Huffington Post, March 2013.

featured image courtesy of Bryan from








November 24, 2014

Hello! November is almost over and the last post is coming close as well, but let’s talk about today’s subject, it’s not long. Just short and to the point.

As artists, photographers, or sculptures we love to put together great art, but what makes us tick or inspire us to create these works?

It doesn’t matter where we are in the world, we get inspired by pretty much everything. A tv show, food, fashion, films, cartoons, nature….the list goes on and on and on. Inspiration comes in many ways.

For me, I survey my environment or where I am. I could be sitting at a park bench or maybe Starbucks and watch people going about their day. Then I can sketch a bit in my sketchbook to get that inspiration going. Fashion is another one. The way the models move with the latest couture dress. They make the clothes look effortless and flawless. Seeing a person in a magazine….ok your fav actor or actress. Of course there are other artists that inspire me.

You can get inspired just by what’s going on in the world. Even our feelings can inspire what we create, our thoughts, or just something that pops into our mind. Nature definitely has a place of inspiration. The trees, flowers….if you haven’t been outside in a while, now is the time to go out and breathe in what’s around you.

That’s what so interesting about art. It’s a passion to express your most feelings into a canvas, clay or just whatever you put together.

Do you have any inspiration to create something great?