A phenomenon of our time, or a fashionable expression, is the name “Entrepreneurial Artist” or “Artist Entrepreneur”, which is often debated. Between confusion and incomprehension, we will try with Groover to clarify the assembly of these two terms which seem incompatible to many.
An entrepreneur above all !
In my opinion, it is important, first of all, to understand the definition of the word “entrepreneur”. The entrepreneur is one who runs a business, but in a broader sense, they transform an original idea into a concrete project with an action plan and implement different strategies to ensure that this project can reach a clientele (or rather an audience, in the specific case of an artistic project).
The entrepreneur must mobilize resources, whether human and / or financial, to lead their business towards success and reach a perfect balance between its income and its costs (economic profitability).
And this is the very reason why there is such debate about this topic. Specifically, one refuses to associate an artistic field with economic profitability.
Zero budget, zero project…
Even if it is true that the artistic realm deals with different “economic constraints” (because one cannot speak of an artist being more efficient than another, like a product for example), art cannot be exempt from the rules of a society in which the economy is very (too?) present and developed. So of course, this (not so) simple topic could be the subject of many reflections but, I made the choice not to develop the concept of an Artist being used solely as “commercial”.
Simply understand that, in my opinion, without a budget, there can be no artistic project. It seems obvious but just as planning to build a house cannot be done without setting up a (realistic) budget, an artistic project cannot be done without money. Once again, even if it makes sense, it seems important to me to reiterate this concept.
| Check out : How to choose a budget for your release?
So, how does the artist entrepreneur take part in all of this?
To come back to our main subject, in my opinion, when we talk about an artist entrepreneur, we are talking about the creator of an artistic project (a particular field, with particular rules) who wishes to take “control” of the different aspects ( human, economic, financial …) to ensure that its creation can develop under the best possible conditions and, the icing on the cake, to meet an audience that will be able to enable the project to then create and consolidate an economic model. A model that will allow the project to continue and develop its creativity in a totally virtuous cycle.
I am fully aware that many people reject this model wither because they consider that the artist must be protected by a salary and not depend on the economic fluctuations of a market in order to be able to create in all “serenity” or because they confuse the artist entrepreneur and the auto-entrepreneur. This, in my opinion, is a rather fatal vocabulary error insofar that the status of auto-entrepreneur is rarely adapted to the exercise of an artistic activity while respecting the legal obligations, especially with regard to intermittence, a precious status.
The auto-entrepreneur is not an artist !
This is a great opportunity for me to raise a current irregularity in terms of labor law. To put it simply, in France, an Artist, as soon as they exercise their talent (particularly in the studio or on stage) they are officially an employee and therefore, must receive a fee. I insist on the obligation (or presumption) of wage labor, it is not a choice, it is a duty. All this to say that, when an artist is offered to make an invoice via their “auto-enterprise” to pay for their stage performance, it is quite simply, illegal. It is not a choice, it is an obligation: Artist = salary = fee! Period!
Unfortunately, this is not the reality that we live in and you would say that I live in an ideal world and everything does not necessarily turn out as one would like it to. Certainly, many organizers continue to ask the AUTO artist entrepreneur for an invoice and I am not going to remake the world or impose any new rules; but just know that this practice is illegal and that it can pose many problems when faced with controls (in particular in terms of insurance, in the event of accident). In addition, by accepting this type of deal, you deny yourself the right to contribute for your intermittent status. Even if the 507 hours may seem far away for many, it’s far from impossible, unless you never start to contribute of course 🙂
It therefore seemed important for me to clarify these notions because I see the confusion between the entrepreneurial artist or artist entrepreneur (creator of an artistic project who wishes to structure themself legally in order to develop their career) and the AUTO artist entrepreneur who, with a few exceptions , is an aberrant and above all an illegal status in many situations (especially for stage performances) far too often. A photographer can be a self-employed person, for example, but not a performer. An association or a company can make an invoice to an organizer but for the sole purpose that the association and the company then make a CACHET to the artist to remunerate them following their performance on stage in front of an audience. In my opinion, these are nuances that may seem “idealistic” but nevertheless essential to fully understand the environment in which you operate and to professionalize your way of seeing things and working together.
Now that you have understood that the entrepreneurial artist is NOT the AUTO artist entrepreneur, let me share with you my vision of the entrepreneurial artist.
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An entrepreneur out of necessity?
In my opinion, the current (economic) context has made possible future partners quite “cautious”. Show producers are experiencing an unprecedented crisis due to the interruption of many concerts and even before the crisis it was difficult for a booker to sign a young artist (or developing artists if you prefer) because it sometimes requires at least a two investment (often at a loss) to publicize the project and succeed in finding an economic model; in other words, taking into account the production costs, one cannot “bet” on 36 horses at a time! For the record producer (or label if you prefer), it’s a bit the same thing: it can be complicated to sign an artist who has a small community of fans, underdeveloped and therefore requiring substantial investments (especially in regards to promotion) in order to make them known.
The only “risk-free” partner would perhaps be the publisher whose initial investment to advance the project is not necessarily substantial, and again … To go further, we advise you to read our article about what to expect and avoid in a contract.
In short, the understanding of the economic foundations of our time can perhaps help you better understand the development of this artist entrepreneur status.
Because despite this ambient “reluctance”, the artist project leader cannot stop there or wait months or even years for a potential partner to knock on their door. They must therefore take matters into their own hands, structure themself (in particular legally) to develop skills which are usually not innate in an artist (whose first “purpose” is to create). I truly understand this sentiment but nowadays, their are a set of necessary skills to acquire on a professional development level which could certainly pique an interest, over the long term, in the partners who at the beginning were not sufficiently motivated to join the adventure (in particular the label and/or the booker).
Democratization of production tools, aid programs and subsidies: the advantages of a virtuous system.
It’s necessary to also mention the democratization of the various tools and the quite impressive amount of aid and subsidies to which the promoters of artistic projects can claim; but watch our for some of the contractual obligations or conditions to having a legal structure (association or company) because very little aid can be allocated directly to a natural person (such as SACEM’s self-production aid). Structuring therefore seems essential to me in order to allow yourself to go further and benefit from all the aid programs made available to producers (of records or shows) and publishers, and/or you and your future structure. Of course, each time you add a new skill to your CV, you add more or less work. This is the reason why, I also like to point out that the status of an artist entrepreneur is not necessarily within everyone’s reach, but being aware of it can already constitute a great personal advantage …
| Check out: How to choose a budget for your release
The artist-entrepreneur is therefore not a self-entrepreneur, they are the bearer of an artistic project and have understood that the current economic context does not allow them to find (not immediately in any case) partners such as a record label or show producer to add to their artistic adventure. Seen from the outside, the creation of its own legal and economic structure could appear to be “by default” (because of the lack of partners …) but this is absolutely not the case; because, in the event of success, the partners will know how to be present and it will be time for the artist to negotiate these partnerships under much better conditions than at the start. Finally, they must be aware of the different elements that they now master within their own structure (especially production and editions), the artist regains power and develops their own tools ensuring them a certain economic stability as well as a good control of their income in order to be able to create in the best possible conditions, the virtuous circle then being closed! 🙂
– Written by Cédric Tilèpe in its original version, translated by Betty Gonzalez Gray –