This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

The Business of Being an Artist

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- I love getting thoughtful emails from readers, the ones where we disagree and still have a reasonable discussion. I learn from those, even if we can't convince each other.

A couple of weeks ago a reader took issue with my article on David Bowie. I wish I could replay the whole exchange, but the topics we covered were pretty wide-ranging and I don't want to open all of them here.

One point that came up, though, I think bears more discussion. The reader noted that Bowie is "one of the most brilliant marketers in the history of rock 'n' roll," adding, "He is all about the money and he goes with 'flow of the times'."

So ... is that a bad thing? I'm not being facetious (well, maybe slightly). The reader has a great point. As a culture, we view artistic integrity as inversely proportional to marketing.

Good art sells itself. That's the assumption. The pure artist simply opens his mouth and sings, devotes himself entirely to his craft. It is the wayward, mediocre artist who concerns himself with packaging, pleasing his fans, branding.

That assessment contains a flaw that is probably obvious to most of TheStreet's business-savvy readers: Nothing sells itself. To reach an audience, the artist has to put the work out there as a product; somehow, he has to generate interest in his art.

As I thought about it more, though, it seems to me this assumption about art and marketing goes deeper than that.

If we look at a successful company and its products -- Apple (AAPL), for instance -- we find marketing at work not just at the final stage, but at every stage. In the community a company builds around itself of vendors, suppliers and consultants, in the design process behind any product, even in the hiring of employees -- at all these points, important aspects of the company's identity have to be communicated and cultivated.

For a company's products to have value for a consumer, that company has to have the tools to create that value, has to have a brand that represents that value, has to have people that represent the company's ideals and has to have products that naturally represent the goal of that overall vision. And the company has to be able to make money.
1 of 3

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
AAPL $94.19 0.00%
FB $118.06 0.00%
GOOG $695.70 0.00%
TSLA $222.56 0.00%
YHOO $37.40 3.90%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,651.26 -99.65 -0.56%
S&P 500 2,051.12 -12.25 -0.59%
NASDAQ 4,725.6390 -37.5850 -0.79%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs