Exposure Is Not A Currency

Hey guys hope you are good. I haven’t written a blog post in a very long time. Have just been busy with so many things and was just on a journey of self discovery and also just dealing with so many things happening in our nation.

Anyway today i want to talk about a very controversial topic in the music world. The issue of exposure. If you are an upcoming artist you will hear this phrase more times than you will hear any other phrase from potential clients. The conversation might go something like this: Hey we really like your music and we are having an event and would love to give you the opportunity to gain exposure or expose your music to our audience. Of cause in such instances you definitely know there will be no payment whatsoever.

What is this thing called exposure anyway? Where did this animal come from? Why has it become such a word promoters and event planners use to get artists to perform for free at their events?

I want to look at this issue from a musicians perspective especially if you are an upcoming artist. One of our greatest weaknesses is we are hungry for fame. Now fame is not a bad thing, actually as an artist you are looking forward to becoming famous because it is only when people know you that they give heed to your music, come to your concerts, buy your cd’s or look for you on You tube as well as share your music with friends and family. However if you are looking at shortcuts to fame as an artist you will definitely be taken advantage of and you might even blow up prematurely but have nothing to show for it financially.

I can definitely say this. In Zimbabwe i have seen musicians who become famous but have no dime to their name, they use public transport and are constantly the subject of ridicule. People saying look at such a such famous artist who cant even buy a car after all the gigs he/she plays at. They will be assuming that the person is being paid for what they do whilst the musician is getting nothing or at best only gets a transport and food allowance.

Now don’t get me wrong. Exposure does exist but exposure is not a currency. A wise and prudent artist ( and unfortunately there are not many ) will weigh out various factors before just going to an event to perform just because people will then know his/her music/art-form. If you are a musician who has been in the business fro 2 or more years and you are still performing at events to get exposure i implore you to reconsider. Sit down and really look at yourself because you are being used.

Exposure does not pay the bills! Exposure does not pay rent! Exposure will not fill your stomach!

What i have realized is that most times people who talk about exposure are people who have an attitude that says art is a hobby and therefore why would you want to be paid for your hobby right? If your art form is a hobby then go ahead and do these exposure events. However what i find is that its mostly the young artists who usually stay with their parents and have no bills who usually get excited at the prospect of just performing before a crowd without getting anything in return. However as these artists get older and the pressures of life start mounting their tone starts to change because they suddenly realize that they were being used. Is it not better to have these people learn at a tender age what this issue really entails?