Creative or commercial success – a paradox? 4


3180732-tropische-bloem-plumeria-alba-op-het-strandTraditionally, many artists think that you can’t have both, creative success and commercial success. You can only be really creative, if you don’t give a damn about commerce. And if you do want to become rich, you make so many compromises that you can’t call yourself creative anymore.

A thought that is doing quite well recently in business theories, is that if you show your true self¬† and if you discover your unique talents, that commercial success will come to you like bees to a flower. Do you believe that? Sure, the world will become a better place if we all share our true passion and talents. Though I have some serious doubts if it is possible for all of us to get filthy rich. “There is enough for the needs of every one, but not enough for the greed of any one.” (Gandhi)

You could see creative success as one pole on the planet and financial success as the other pole, like black and white. And if you look carefully, you discover that there is a lot in between, from snowy mountains to sunny islands, not only many shades of gray, but much more colors!

As artist who wants to be truly creative, you play for yourself and don’t give a damn if there is an audience, or if there is, what they might think of it. If you want to have commercial success, you will look what people want to hear and you will make many compromises. You will hire someone to write the songs you think the audience wants to hear.¬† How can you find your way between those two poles, how can you find your colors, mountains or islands?

The colors and the mountains or islands might occure if you ask yourself, what audience you want to play to. It’s up to you, start to dream. There is not ONE audience, there are milliards of people out there, all different. Whom would you really like to love your music? Whom would you love to play your music for? If you choose your audience, than you might discover a bright pallet of colors, your own island in the sun. You might not get filthy rich with this approach, but it might make it possible for you to make a living with your art.


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4 thoughts on “Creative or commercial success – a paradox?

  • Ben krahne

    Learning commercial writing is essential to reaching a larger audience
    Why the word commercial leaves a bad taste in writers mouth is confusing to me
    If its not commercial then its only understood by a few people meaning the song or better term relates to
    I think it’s just being lazy not to broaden your lyrics to open the hearts of a larger mass of souls

  • Hilde Spille

    Ben, the word commercial doesn’t leave a bad taste in my mouth. Though it can stand in the way of creativity. And choosing for the creative force without thinking of the commercial side doesn’t make you lazy. Theo van Gogh didn’t sell a single picture in his life. Yes, he was crazy, but certainly not lazy.

    • Ben krahne

      Van goah was a bit nuts
      He suffered from mental illness
      But being a bit off centered can create
      Magic amazing enough obviously

      My statement was more of a positive
      Anchor to myself to write in a commercial form

      If your not writing on proven methods of structure say for instance
      Verse / chorus / verse/ chorus / bridge ect
      That’s proven to catch listeners attention , You”ll bore people
      As far as content that’s a different topic , singing about cats will certainly reach a cat audience , but the dog people won’t be amused