Taking the "Stock" out of Stock Music: Why We Fight For Musicians

If you know very much about Marmoset and what drives our ethos and our unique approach to what we do, you may already know our Core Values as an organization include these: 

 

1. Care, respect and advocacy for the artists we work with on both sides of our world -- the musicians and the filmmakers and visual creatives. 

2. The quality of our work relies on curating and creating the best, most authentic, unique and compelling independent music available on the planet for use with picture. 

3. Our quality of life depends on the care and the love of our people -- our staff, our creative partners, friends, family, the artists we work with, and the community we're surrounded by. At the end of the day, happiness, care for one another, having fun, and quality of life always trump the bottom line at Marmoset. This is the essence of who we are.

 

The artists we collaborate with and our opportunity to partner with them means everything to us. It's at the core of what we do and ultimately, it's why we do it.  In our hearts, we believe there's nothing stock about music crafted with hands and hearts. 

In the constantly shifting landscape of the creative industry in which we exist, it's far too rare that we take time to acknowledge and recognize the art, the artists, and how they impact our lives, in both subtle and very grandiose ways. As music lovers, we're too often left questioning "how is something we appreciate so much constantly undervalued and marginalized in our society?"

The life of a working musician is a difficult one. In our line of work, we hear stories from the hard working, blue-collar artists we work with on a regular basis -- whether it's getting pennies at a show after driving for eight hours to a gig, or working long hours on a project only to be compensated in "exposure." And please, there's not enough time here to the delve into the sad reality of the fractions of pennies being paid to artists from streaming music services. On both a macro and micro level -- trust us, we get it. And we're working hard to change these realities.

Given the fact that the music industry can be a fairly complex and constantly shifting landscape, the need for exploring new and creative ways to support artists remains a top priority for us here at Marmoset -- and that includes making sure artists on both sides of our world (both the musicians and the visual creatives) are valued, respected and ultimately supported with good, fair compensation for every project we touch. Good music deserves good pay. Period. And among us, our peers, our friends, family, and community, we simply cannot imagine giving music away for free, while someone involved in the project profits from the collaboration. Honestly, it's hard for us to even imagine offering big discounts, as if we're working with a commodity or something.  While shopping at Walmart or maybe Taco Bell, consumers often look for a special "sale" to help compel one to buy something. But when considering something as personal, as emotional and even sometimes as magical as art and music, most of us wouldn't expect a sale. Would we? 

Okay, that's enough from us. Here are some words from some artists we partner with, who've found some measure of success and sustainability in their music career:

I really feel like there’s a ground swell of support these days for fair pay and taking care of the arts - I see it in my community all the time. If we value local art we need to support local artists!. Consider the way we’re raising our kids and what we’re teaching them. And there’s still a very real and very obvious craving for live music out there, so that’s good.
— Johnny Clay, The Dimes
Thinking financially, artist advocacy from Marmoset (royalty payouts specifically) have already paid back the monies I invested in Altadore’s debut EP, Golden Hills, which was around $3,000, and then some. I’ve hit a nice stride in licensing over the last year to where I’m soon going to reach a point where I can afford to tour Europe next year. The success has shown and reassured me that I do indeed have the skills to make it as a living working musician.
— David Katz, Altadore
I think it’s a very challenging time for Artists trying to tour and make a go of it. In the age of Spotify and Apple Music, I feel like it’s easy to lose perspective on how much time, effort, and hard work goes into creating and recording music. Licensing becomes so important for funding projects and for making a living. For me personally, Marmoset is the reason I’ve been able to be a full time musician. I feel incredibly lucky to do what I do and Marmoset has played an absolutely vital role.
— Dave Gulick, Cavaliers
Artists are constantly asked to do things for free or for ridiculously low pay, often in exchange for exposure, which is of course total BS. Without art and music, who are we? Art is worth paying for, music is worth paying for. We need these things for life. Their value is immeasurable. Artists and musicians create magic. Magicians deserve a sweet ass paycheck too.
— Katy Davidson, Dear Nora

Please read and hear all this with the highest degree of humility and servitude in what we do. We are not proud and we sincerely hope these words have not come across in a proud tone or resonance. At Marmoset, we know we are only one component, amidst a building movement, helping to elevate the respect and value music and music makers deserve. And with that, we will continue to be of service to independent musicians, while simultaneously helping filmmakers, storytellers and visual creatives find the perfect soundtrack to their own story. Please join us in the movement. Everyone wins.

Posted on August 20, 2015 and filed under Music.