Free Art. 

It’s 26 August 2017, and many combat sports fan will recognize the date as the day Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor are slated to trade blows in what has been called “the greatest fight of the century”. It’s garnered an unbelievable level of media hype and attention. 

Pay-Per-View for the event is $100 US, and I for one don’t have enough control over my finances to spend that much on watching a fight. Bars around the state are charging top dollar for seats to watch it. Other, more sly fans, are attempting to stream the fight live over social media platforms. It’s risky. They keep getting shut down. 

As I eagerly await the blow-by-blow highlights, I can’t help but wonder about art. I keep thinking about what I would consider fair prices for my work, my training, my focused attention, and my time. 

Should art be free? In this day and age, it’s certainly possible to gather a viewership (or readership) big enough to gain paying sponsors. In theory, if I had a big enough base, I could be producing books for free and using social media outlets to maintain a high following (and, thusly, sponsorship). I could make money without ever having to ask my followers to pay for anything. 

It’s possible—but it’s also damned hard to pull off. You’d have to be equal strokes lucky and skilled, for sure. 

Artistic endeavors are not combat sports. Millions of people don’t tune in to listen to the live reading of a book.

Still, a huge part of me thinks that it’s a worthy endeavor. Part of me wishes I could print my books for free and hand them out on the streets for the rest of my days. I want my art to be seen by as many people as possible, enjoyed and shared freely, without anyone worying about being fined for liking what I do. 

Streamers across the internet tonight are being shut down. Anger and volatility are present everywhere as people without the means (or funds) to watch the fight can’t gain access. How long can subscriptions and Pay-Per-Views last? Not only against the barrage of illegal sharing (and the celeverness inherent in that endeavor), but against people that just want to sit back and have fun?

Art will be free for everyone, one day. That much is for sure, I think. As interconnectivity becomes more and more a part of our lives, and as instantaneous sharing becomes easier, art and events will move back to donations and sponsorship-heavy fields. That’s how they got started, after all. 

I’m interested to see how long it takes and which direction we go with it. 

– R. 

Sorry for the rambling nature of this post. I just felt like musing. Thanks for reading!


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