The commercialization of art, or the process of running or managing art principally for financial gain, is a phenomenon of the last few decades in sports and the arts. When art is commercialized and, in a sense, mass-produced with the intent to make money or to incur financial gain, then there is erosion in the quality and ethicality of producing such works of art. The same can be seen in the sporting world where, in football, more and more leagues are cropping up as a way for federations to gain financially and run enterprises on the back of the sport. Art and talent should be nurtured in a way that is not so much concerned with the financial benefits they bring but rather by their impact on society, culture, and the world.
The Erosion of Quality
The commercialization of art is very much a victim of the art of commercialization. When commercialization becomes so entrenched in our culture and business and society, there is a disconnect in the various motivations or incentivization that people have encouraging them to do their jobs. This means that more and more, we are all being forced or coerced to live our lives by the dollar and to work for the sole purpose of enriching ourselves. The unfortunate consequence of this is that the work that we do becomes eroded in quality. It lacks meaningfulness and a positive impact on our lives and those we seek or are mandated to help in our various roles. This means that the best doctors go into private practice, for instance, and serve those who can afford expensive medical services while everyone else is left at the behest of luck.
Money or finances as a motivator can be very effective in pushing or pulling people towards certain careers, functions, and even roles in society. The more the promised paycheque, the more individuals are motivated to acquire well-paying positions in all life facets. This is the reason why more and more parts of the world and numerous sectors are facing corruption, embezzlement, the misuse of funds, and money laundering. When our roles are tied to promises of huge paycheques, we are more susceptible to lose or corrupt our passions and intent in doing our jobs or in the roles we play at work and in society. In a sense, commercialization gobbles up our artistic selves and our talents in an unending cycle of chasing riches, much to the detriment of genuine passion, honest motivation, and the positive impact we can have on the world.
In business, personalities do matter, and those with a less emotional or more objective personality are said to be better in making decisions. On the other hand, those who are more emotional may find it harder to make far-reaching and consequential decisions and may not be as successful in managerial positions. In a way, even as being a decision maker necessitates objectivity and less emotion, I would be more inclined to encourage an emotional or people-centered assessment of one’s decisions and the impact they would have on others and society at large. Companies need to find a way to have a soul without necessarily selling their ‘souls’ for money or asking others to do the same. As such, corporations can find ways to strike a balance between profitability and a positive impact on society. Unfortunately, most companies feel pressured to earn dividends for their shareholders and may be pushed to engage in unethical business practices to satisfy shareholder expectations. Pressure from shareholders is, in my view, one of the failures or bottlenecks of the corporate financing model as we know it.
Art should be a direct result of inspiration and should not be influenced by any financial pressure or intent for profit. The artist should have a clear conscience, knowing that they are above their organizations’ monetary needs or the contracts they have entered. When the artist is at the whim of the financial world, they lose the freedom to be themselves and lose their sensitivity to inspiration. As the human species, we seem to follow what is sold to us as an ideal lifestyle without asking ourselves what ideality means to us personally and individually. Does the best painter need a Porsche to feel on top of the world, or is that just a creation of mass media and advertising? Does the best fashion model need millions of social media likes to feel approved and beautiful? I think not. Success is definitive of the individual, and one only feels that they have succeeded after allowing themselves to believe that they have. When one self-acknowledges success, they will only draw satisfaction from the feeling and knowledge that they have succeeded. As such, lining the pockets of artists and talents may motivate them for the short-term but should not in any way, dictate or affect the path of their art or talent.
The commercialization of art could be a short-lived upswing in the advancement of society and technology. It could be a short-lived consequence of new ways of thinking and new perspectives on art and talent. The next decades, centuries, and millennia will imagine new ways to appreciate value and success, and if we, today, make art that is for profit, we may lose the chance to make timeless art. I think of music and wonder whether most musicians today will still be relevant in a hundred years. Will their music become classic and withstand decades? Will they positively impact culture, society, and the world for generations to come? I don’t think so if they are only making music for views or money. When art is watered down by greed, then it becomes a means to an end and a way to find a release, much to the detriment of its uniqueness and positive impact.
At what point profitability becomes enough is one of the dark matters of the commercialization of art and all industries and sectors. It is an unknown as the human spirit will never feel full or be truly satisfied as we are meant to strive to be better. What else is there if one feels that they have reached the top’s epitome and very end? What happens when one flies too close to the sun to come back to earth? What happens when one gets too close to the sun that they are pulled by its gravitational pull, if any? They disappear and become ashes. They burn in the strong rays of the sun, and unlike gold, they lose themselves and not only their structure but also their view of the world. They lose their essence and fail to refine themselves and their art. The insatiability of our souls and the hunger and need for more is what keeps artistic perspectives alive. How we view the world is a direct consequence of not feeling satisfied. If we lose that, we lose ourselves. Those who fall victim to commercialization fail to evolve and cannot reach their true potential as they will be held back by the distraction that is money and will be left behind as others seek to impact their fields or sectorspositively.
The commercialization of art could be a means to support artists and talent but should not cloud the art itself or make it unattainable or undoable. When the artist lacks the hunger to strive to be better and do better, their art diminishes and loses the chance to flourish into something meaningful, influential, and powerful. Success creates laxity, and artists should realize that the money is only a sideshow and a kind of net that fishes those who lack the strength and drive to seek more. Unfortunately, many talents and artists fall into drug addiction and may even get so deep into drugs that they fail to defeat addiction. Money is the same. When one becomes greedy, they may lose their essence and who they are if they let profitability trample fortitude, hard work, dedication, inspiration, and commitment in their crafts. Read more on crafts below.
Read more on design here.
As I said, one succeeds when they let themselves believe that they have. As such, when an artist mistakes money for success, they lose their hunger and slowly fall into irrelevance. Most of us will never own a mansion in Beverly Hills or the latest Ferrari. However, if one gets the opportunity to become that rich, they should be very wary not to feel satisfied and overly successful. We forget that one can get broke and sell their mansion and high-end motor vehicles. Many have fallen, and many will fall if they tie success to money.
To avoid becoming a victim of the commercialization of art, artists and all of us should shift away from the culture of money worshipping. We should seek other measures of success and other ways to gauge and appreciate success. Money is way too standard to gauge success. Success should be more of a process rather than a destination. Success should be seen as a state of mind and not a bank account amount. Money is like age, anyone can get rich, but not everyone can positively impact others’ lives. Some people will live the most exuberant lives and do so little for the world, while others will positively impact the world even with comparable wealth. Therefore, seek to be yourself and do what you do with love without letting money or riches be your actions and work’s principal motivator.
Seek to have a positive impact on your society, culture, and the world as a whole. Encourage others to be better and give hope to those who may not be doing so well. When your success is like a candle that lights many other candles, you nurture your craft, meaningfulness, hope, humanity, success, and positively impact others. When you do not concern yourself with what is considered luxurious and love yours and your own life and lifestyle, you free yourself from the yoke of the commercialization of art and appearances. Live your life as you can and be you. Don’t worry so much about what others are doing. Comparing yourself to others is demeaning your own strength and potential. Let them go first and seek instead to go further. Succeed by having a positive impact on the world and treat money as what it is, a utility, not a motivator.