The Music Gallery: Can Music Ever Be Valued As Fine Art?

Introduction: The Highest Art Auction in History

Recently a Christie’s artwork sale became the very best auction in history. The sale included works by way of Jackson Pollock, Roy Lichtenstein and Jean-Michel Basquiat, amongst others and in overall generated $495 million. The sale set up 16 new global public sale facts, with nine works promoting for more than $10m (£6.6m) and 23 for greater than $5m (£3.2m). Christie’s stated the document breaking income reflected “a brand new technology inside the art market”.

The top lot of Wednesday’s sale changed into Pollock’s drip portray Number 19, 1948, which fetched $fifty eight.4m (£38.3m) – nearly two times its pre-sale estimate.

Lichtenstein’s Woman with Flowered Hat offered for $fifty six.1 million, while some other Basquiat work, Dustheads (top of article), went for $48.8 million.

All 3 works set the highest fees ever fetched for the artists at auction. Christie’s described the $495,021,500 general – which protected commissions – as “wonderful”. Only four of the 70 lots on offer went unsold.

In addition, a 1968 oil painting with the aid of Gerhard Richter has set a new report for the very best auction fee carried out through a living artist. Richter’s photo-portray Domplatz, Mailand (Cathedral Square, Milan) offered for $37.1 million (£24.4 million). Sotheby’s defined Domplatz, Mailand, which depicts a cityscape painted in a style that suggests a blurred photograph, as a “masterpiece of 20th Century art” and the “epitome” of the artist’s Sixties picture-painting canon. Don Bryant, founding father of Napa Valley’s Bryant Family Vineyard and the painting’s new proprietor, said the paintings “simply knocks me over”.

Brett Gorvy, head of publish-struggle and modern-day art, stated “The wonderful bidding and report expenses set replicate a new generation within the artwork marketplace,” he stated. Steven Murphy, CEO of Christie’s International, stated new collectors have been helping power the growth.

Myths of the Music-Fine Art Price Differential

When I got here throughout this article I was greatly surprised at the expenses these works of art were capable of gain. Several of them would hardly ever evoke a wonderful emotional response in me, at the same time as others may best slightly, but for nearly all of them I truely do not understand how their expenses are contemplated inside the work, and vice versa. Obviously, these pieces had been no longer meant for humans like me, an artist, whilst rich consumers certainly see their intrinsic inventive value without a doubt.

So why does not track appeal to these varieties of charges? Is it even possible for a bit of recorded music, not song memorabilia or a tune artifact (including an extraordinary report, LP, bootleg, T-blouse, album artwork, and so on.), to be really worth $1 million or greater? Are all musicians and tune composers doomed to warfare within the track enterprise and claw their way up right into a career in Music Theory Test Prep? If one painting may be valued at $1 million, why can’t a music or piece of song also be valued further? Apparently, the $.Ninety nine per download charge is the very best price a track is capable of command at market price, no matter what its great or content material, and the musician or composer ought to receive this cost as such.

The monetary equation appears some thing like this:

1 portray = $37 million

1 music = $.Ninety nine

Sometimes human beings say that a song can alternate the world, however no one ever says that approximately art work. So theoretically, if human beings need alternate $.Ninety nine is the fee we must pay for it.

Now right here are a few statements that should assist us clarify what the financial or cost discrepancy between portray and song is primarily based upon.

(1) There are fewer painters than there are musicians.

(2) Musicians are much less talented than painters?

(three) It is less complicated to create tune than it’s miles to color.

(four) The public values paintings extra than track.

(5) Paintings are greater stunning than tune.

(6) Paintings are impossible to replicate unlike track.

(7) Painters work more difficult than musicians and composers.

(eight) Blah, blah, blah.

Hardly all people concurs with all of those statements and but all, or at the least some of them, would need to be real in order for the rate of art work to so significantly exceed the cost of song. Moreover, I doubt that art creditors and excellent painters should address as tons felony pink tape as do musicians when releasing their work into the public domain, so why aren’t the rewards equal, if no longer greater for musicians who have to paintings almost as a whole lot shielding their work as in producing it. Musicians and composers, however, absolutely should do more than authenticate their work and obtain correct value determinations concerning what their paintings is well worth, but they get paid less. The system fees by myself for musicians is plenty higher than it is for painters.

Maybe it’s repute, and not cash, musicians are after? That would explain why maximum musicians settle for the low pay they acquire from report deals and virtual downloads. Perhaps, that’s also why a lot of them are visiting greater often to increase their reputation and no longer their fortunes. But wait a minute, this is where musicians truly make maximum in their money from live performances and the selling of products, however now not the music. I bet that is why many musicians see themselves not as composers, however instead as performers and entertainers.

So what can musicians do, who do not see themselves as entertainers, however rather as composers who create music as a nice artwork? Because they too have a robust desire to earn a residing to help themselves in their selected profession, for this reason there should be a specialised technique whereby they gift their work to track fanatics or artwork creditors looking for belongings and curators for particular pieces to location in their personal galleries. Imagine that, a recorded piece of track that few have ever heard that’s displayed and played best on a exact song participant in a non-public art gallery or series.

In thinking about how a musician can follow the example set through painters in the nice arts, I’ve isolated four principles that have to help to make the extraordinary monetary rewards they have reached viable for the musician. So permit’s examine a number of the traits that govern the market for excellent artwork and spot how musicians can follow those ideas to their creative, production, and marketing techniques.

The Ideal Vehicle for Music as Fine Art

Here are 4 ideas and realistic suggestions for musicians who need to elevate their tune into the world of first-class artwork by using following the instance of the painters of the past and present.

1) Strive to make unique song or song collections.

The composer should layout experiments with sound or compositional techniques. Some song belongs in the realm of the public, at the same time as different track solely belongs inside the realm of high-quality art. It’s really not that tough to tell the difference. The difference is apparent whilst one compares the surroundings of the nightclub and the song one finds there with the extended environment of the ballet or opera and its song. The difference isn’t always necessarily one in phrases of sorts of music, however alternatively inside the composer’s sonic fingerprint. In different words, no longer each person thinks Jackson Pollock was a terrific painter, however every body acknowledges that it took him years of development to reach a point wherein his fashion will be born. It’s the style of the artist or composer to be able to name out to the attention of wealthy purchasers, the respect of peers, and the specific admiration of the music appreciator. In tune, the style of the composer, regardless of genre, I call ‘a signature sound.’ It’s the signature sound that track and art collectors will need to personal and for that they might be willing to pay or bid up the cost of ownership to a higher rate.

2) Create a music gallery.

This will be modeled after the artwork gallery in which one or numerous artist put their paintings on display. The distinction with the track gallery is that you would have a hall filled with listening rooms or stations. These showings might now not be live performances, however as an alternative could be in impact sound installations. You may also separate one corridor into numerous booths for one-of-a-kind composers. The song displaying might be an exceptional occasion supplied to severe tune and artwork collectors who actively are searching for out sonic reports and buy what they prefer. The purpose of the tune gallery would be similar to the artwork gallery – to present the public a pattern of the artist’s expertise, to offer critics some thing to write about, to produce other composers comment on the paintings of a peer, and to create buzz inside the artwork world. Always keep in mind that it should not be the event that drives the buzz, but the tune that makes the occasion.

Three) Turn your music into a tangible asset.

The apparent difference among a portray and song is that one is a tangible art work and the alternative isn’t. In different phrases, one of the defining characteristics of a portray is that the medium and the artwork are one. Unlike music, in which the track ought to be transferred onto every other item together with a cassette tape, vinyl, CD, or mP3 participant before it can be perceived, while with a portray (or sculpture) an object has been transformed into artwork. So how can it be or is it even possible for a cassette, CD, or down load to be converted into art? The cassette and CD are greater akin to a image of a portray, instead of a true expressions where the medium and the art are one.

So one step a musician can take to raise their tune into nice art is through making your tune and its medium one. The best way that I can think about to do this is by using trying to the beyond. Ironically, the vinyl LP very intently executed this best with album artwork, its sizing, and packaging. Let’s quick discuss some of the traits of the vinyl LP and treasured marketing angles that I assume opens up thrilling processes for musicians to turn their music into first-rate artwork at price suitable ranges commiserate with earning a livelihood.

Today there are several groups around that assist you to customise your LP vinyl album and paintings. This is outstanding because it gives you general manage over the artwork route your packaging takes. This is an expressive manner to bring the personality of the artist, band, or challenge out into physical form. Many shades are available and unique combos are also feasible to add a size to your music that is not typically possible with cassette tapes, CD’s, or digital downloads. Even split coloured and glow-in-the-dark vinyl are to be had for formidable composers looking for some thing with a piece extra aptitude.

Etched Art and Your Album

Another wonderful way to raise the music through packaging and presentation is to don’t forget etched art in vinyl. Etched vinyl is an image pressed into the unplayable facet of your report which has a frosted look. The etched facet does not incorporate any grooves or tune however adds a real contact of fashion for your track package. I do not know if etched art also can be a hologramic appearance, however that would be some other size that could beautify the visual factor of your track package.

Art and LP Sizes

The last aspect I’d like to touch on is the size of the LP. Unlike the cassettes and CD’s, which both come in a single common length determined by way of the media participant, LP’s are performed on phonographs or turntables whose fingers can modify to the different sizes of LP’s. In popular, LP’s are available in 3 sizes: 7″, 10″, and 12″. And because the album covers should provide a sleeve for a massive surface, they correspondingly ought to also be huge. At a minimal the 12″ LP would require an album cowl this is 1 square foot. That’s approximately four times the size of a standard CD and anywhere from eight – 12 times the size of cassette tape.

Understanding this gives you an additional attitude to layout paintings for the track package deal. There might even be a manner to layout a painter’s canvas which can house an LP inside its body to turn it into a cowl. For the ones musicians and composers who possess multiple inventive talents, an unique portray to accompany a track release might be another worthwhile technique to inspect. If you consider it even further the size of the 12″ LP is virtually the dimensions of a small painting. Foldable or dual LP covers also are to be had which give a far large surface with which to extra significantly gift notable album art work to dazzle customers. The dual LP album cover would give you exactly a 24″ x 12″ floor to paintings with.

The Non-Vinyl LP and different Miscellaneous Considerations

Other extra state-of-the-art sorts of the technique I’m describing right here for the LP might preserve the idea of the LP on the middle of the tune package deal, while disposing of the vinyl as cloth. Ideally, the best substance for a first-rate art music LP would encompass a cloth that did not warp, couldn’t be shattered, that could prevent grooves from carrying out, and that would be scratch-evidence. So that might suggest you’d want to do your homework and discover what’s viable with all known individual materials, steel alloys, industrial metals, specialized plastics, and non-scratch surfaces to attain the proper substance for a nice artwork song LP. Moreover, this substance would play CD excellent sound on any or a special turntable with a uniquely designed needle made especially for this fabric and album kind.

If a fine artwork song LP have been to ever come into lifestyles it would should stand the check of time and live to tell the tale usage, garage, and travel as it transfers custody from one proprietor to every other over a long time or even centuries. These are the principle reasons why owners of pleasant artwork track LP’s will want to get insurance for the asset. A non-vinyl LP can also be synthetic to blow away the artwork collector, tune enthusiast, and investor with some thing like an LP made from 24-karat gold or some other treasured metallic like silver or platinum. This one alteration may want to make such an LP well worth a $1 million or greater depending at the aggressiveness of the bidders. Overall you may have to do some studies of your own to discover what your options are and can be a good way to raise your LP into the magnificence of an investment, a tangible asset (collectible), and nice art. In the absence of the life of this perfect substance, we must purpose for novelty to reap attraction.

Exclusive Music

Another component to discover in brief is the exclusivity element in regard to the possession of best art. Not everybody can have the funds for a Picasso, but folks that can, typically, aren’t inclined to percentage it with each person due to the fact they want distinctive ownership over the Picasso, it really is a part of the package of proudly owning first-rate artwork.

The manner to offer special possession to interested parties is thru contracts, so that you’ll ought to rent legal advice to form the felony framework governing possession of a track album or music as great art. The contract can be formed in any number of approaches in line with your wishes, but basically it need to country what the owner has permission to do or is illegal from doing with the paintings you’re selling them. You want your buyers to realize that they can switch ownership of the album to heirs or sell it to other non-public creditors as you could with some other tangible asset. This is part of the technique of owning fine artwork, which they have got come to anticipate of their dealings with galleries and other creditors, so deal with them as a expert.

In addition, you may need to legally restrict the customers from broadcasting or disseminating the tune from your quality artwork LP or different media. To preserve its value the music need to be saved out of the public area and stay in the palms of these who have the right to pay attention it. If the proprietors want to talk about it and even play it for a small amassing of humans as a excellent artwork song show off then top notch, but they must now not be accepted to make copies or profit from your recordings.

The beauty of a restriction deliver and contracts is that together they may help you to tune all the proprietors over your lifetime and hold the price of your work. If one in all them can be discovered to be chargeable for leaking the fabric out into public, you’ll have a lawsuit to your palms that you should without difficulty win. But if a leak changed into to take place, the fee (rate) of the LP would possibly drop precipitously and call for should even dry up absolutely. But in reality what is the worst that could show up, that the price of your track ends up on the low stop of the fee scale – $.99 consistent with track?

A Word on Supply and Demand

Similarly, the law of supply and call for should additionally be part of the equation for pricing your music as great artwork. Basically, the regulation of supply and demand works like this: the extra the supply, the lower the demand and the decrease the supply, the greater the demand. In different words, the greater of something there may be, the less it’s really worth and the much less of some thing there may be, the more it is really worth. The regulation would not constantly workout this perfectly, but as a fashionable rule it works.

The problem with this regulation is that it simplest slightly takes into consideration mass psychology and the way call for is created, that’s by way of marketing, advertising, and PR (public members of the family). Without those 3 elements operating for your favor, there will be little or no demand on your nice artwork song LP, regardless of how small your supply is. It’s simplest while these three factors are operating in your choose and demand is reasonably high that the price of your singular or restrained version high-quality artwork music LP, CD, or virtual audio documents can upward push and skyrocket. So become fluent with desire to employ advertising and marketing, advertising, and PR and make sure the call for is there amongst your target audience previous to releasing your work so you may be sure your album gets a excessive bidding.

A Digital Point of View

Some of the ideas I’ve provided right here up to now may be applied to song in virtual codecs as nicely. For example, a restrained version, gorgeously designed iPod or opportunity mP3 participant together with your great art track programmed into a locked memory is one method. For instance, excessive-cease buyers there may be an iPod to be had it’s crafted from 22k gold and it functions an Apple logo product of diamonds, it estimate fee is kind of $one hundred twenty,000.

Something like this will paintings or maybe just a absolutely cool looking, READ-handiest thumb power could paintings. You just plug it in and experience exclusive get entry to to an album that handiest one collector or a choose few have in their ownership.

The number one hassle with a digital layout is that it is too clean to copy files from one tool to another, which is why a locked or unhackable reminiscence is essential. Without the locked reminiscence, the exclusivity issue can not exist and undermines the advent of a pleasant artwork song virtual tool.

Four) Put your tune to public sale.

Part of the cause why the artwork inside the beginning of this newsletter offered for so much money is due to the fact competing bids driven the charge upward. After you’ve designed an top notch exceptional art song series and package deal, you may want to decide the way to sell or public sale your product.

Many options for auctioning gadgets are to be had but likely the most famous is eBay, but eBay might be not the high-quality place to promote excellent art tune this way. To start it is probably a very good area to test the idea, however you won’t attain your target consumers. Another alternative might be Bandcamp or Amazon, however there may be no auctioning available with those businesses. However, you can set a excessive price for downloads, CD’s or vinyl LP’s and sell few of them.

For example, downloads would possibly cross for anywhere from $15 to $2 hundred in step with song and for the album maybe the charge of a mid-range painting, perhaps $800 to $2,000+.

You may also installation a simple internet site wherein you gift and promote your first-class art tune like painters, sculptors, caricature artists, wooden people, and artisans promote their work. On your web site you may communicate about your album on video, with a song weblog, on net radio, via interviews, on track or artists-oriented podcasts, and thru articles, so that you can send all the traffic in your eBay web page or personal website wherein all you’re selling are copies of your constrained edition series of first-class artwork music.

The simplicity of this plan is that you, in conjunction with eBay as your broking, manipulate the entire method. The concept here is as with most auctions which is to observe the bidders compete with one another as anybody watches the rate move higher and better.

Name Your Price: The Radiohead Experiment

The band Radiohead did something like this however in a different way. Instead of auctioning a one among a type or limited edition different virtual album, they allowed their lovers to pay what they wanted for his or her new release on the time. The experiment introduced in combined effects however overall was a achievement for the band contributors who made extra money in my view than on any previous album. However, it is been reported that 38% of customers spent a mean of $6, whilst the alternative sixty two% downloaded the album without paying anything at all – $zero. Globally, the average charge paid become round $2.26 and $3.23 inside the U.S. Of folks that did pay some thing, 17% paid beneath $4, but 12% paid among $eight and $12.

This method is not likely to work for lesser acknowledged artists who want to give their tune as nice art. The fundamental reason why it would not is as it fails to meet the issue of unique possession. Everyone and all of us may want to get a duplicate of the Radiohead album, consequently it’s cost is decreased because the quantity to be had was limitless instead of constrained or uncommon, for the reason that demand become high.

NIN and a Tiered Approach

Likewise, tiered first-class artwork tune programs whose costs range from a few dollars up to masses or maybe heaps of dollars is a far better way to trap collectors to shop for song as fine art or song as an funding.

Here’s how Nine Inch Nail’s Trent Reznor made a small fortune along with his “Ghosts I – IV” album launch. In overall five ranges are to be had.

The first tier offers a unfastened download of the first 9 tracks from the album.

The second tier gives a $five digital down load with a 40 web page PDF.

The third tier gives a 2 CD’s with a sixteen web page book for $10.

The 4th tier is a $75 deluxe version which includes 2 audio CD’s, a information DVD with all 36 tracks in multi-tune layout, a forty eight page ebook of photographs through Phillip Graybill and Rob Sheridan, a 40 web page PDF ebook, and an accompanying slideshow on a Blu-Ray disc.

And at the 5th tier you get quite lots the entirety else at the decrease ranges besides you furthermore mght get a 3rd e-book with art prints of imagery from Ghosts I – IV and each confined version copy is numbered and for my part signed with the aid of Trent Reznor. This restricted version became constrained to 2500 copies with a restriction of 1 in step with client for a grand general of $three hundred. The $three hundred tier changed into referred to as the Ultra-Deluxe Limited Edition Package and is currently offered out.

The financials on the fifth tier appearance quite true. With the Ultra-Deluxe Limited Edition Package, we know there were only 2500 copies and that each offered for $300. So, 2500 x 300 = $750,000. Imagine what prices might have been reached if Reznor had allowed the shoppers to bid at the Ultra-Deluxe Limited Edition Package. He could have started the bidding at or just under $300 and watched the costs cross up from there. Interestingly, as fewer of them have been to be had the expenses would possibly have started to get astronomical. He possibly nonetheless would’ve sold every copy and his income may well have been toward $1 million, but both he did a fantastic job structuring his rate scale as proven by means of his results. And allow’s now not overlook that our equation excluded the income he generated from ranges 2 – 4, which maximum virtually added his general sales a long way passed $1 million.


As we quit off let’s briefly overview the elements with a purpose to lead to nice artwork track achievement.

1) Strive to make unique song or music collections. To try this you’ll want to test with specific strategies, techniques, or patterns that provide a signature sound. In the artwork world, this will be known as your sonic fingerprint. This is what artwork creditors will need to purchase and respect.

2) Create a tune gallery. Come up with thoughts for a way to present your new compositions at a track showcase. It must look and feel just like an art exhibit, however be adapted for track. This might include putting in place personal listening stations for man or woman artwork creditors or small rooms for a limited listening target market and wherein auctions can occur.

Three) Turn your track right into a tangible asset. Painting elevates the canvas and paint into art, while song can by no means raise a cassette tape or CD into artwork. For tune, the medium have to be turned into artwork as part of the package for offering tune as first-class art. Painting also elevates and transforms its medium, at the same time as song is typically transported with the aid of its medium, until its virtual, then it is all approximately the music. Remember what we discussed approximately digital codecs and the vinyl LP as best automobiles for selling track as quality art.

Four) Above all, offer exclusivity as an vital a part of the package of satisfactory artwork song possession, so locate methods to guarantee this on your shoppers. Art ownership is strongly based totally on its exclusivity, which for the collector means they may be part of a completely pick out organization of people who’ve the proper or privilege to acquire publicity in your satisfactory artwork song. If you may exclude the loads and create call for among a pick few, then the expenses you can attract will upward thrust as few consumers attempt to outbid each other for exceptional possession of your tune.

5) Lastly, use an public sale system to create big earnings. Keep the law of supply and call for in mind while constructing your tune into a tangible asset and don’t forget the vital position advertising, advertising, and PR play in developing demand. There’s no purpose in creating a confined supply of anything for which there is no call for.


These are by no means all of the approaches wherein those ideas can be applied in your situation or in those formats, but something you choose to do you will need to formulate the proper balance of things that make the price of your exceptional artwork tune rise. Many of you’ll be bowled over with the aid of the extent of preliminary funding capital you will require to raise your track into a exceptional art collectible, that is why you will should increase your humans abilities and take publications in income training, advertising, making an investment and enterprise. Several of the tactics I mentioned will require you to raise capital from a bank, organization which includes a non-public fairness firm, or challenge capitalists to get you started, otherwise you’ll want to get access to personal or small business credit score at low hobby charges. This will come up with more time to put in force your software and generate your first wave of income.

If your marketing strategy for turning your song into exceptional art is stable and your sales presentation is thorough, then the cash will discover you as greater buyers see income within the possibility. Additionally, wealthy patrons may see your work as an crucial contribution to artwork history or your presentation may additionally just resonate with an investor or organization of investors that they will simply come up with money to complete your undertaking. In both case, be enterprise-like, get all of your agreements in writing and feature them reviewed by using a capable prison representative expert at intellectual belongings issues and financial transactions in particular.

Marc Avante is a musician, sound designer, and blogger. He is likewise the founding father of the music assignment called Stereo Thesis. Stereo Thesis is a prototype sound design and track studio.

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