I don’t understand why people look down on the idea of writers or musicians or painters practising their trades for money. They’re quite comfortable with the idea of doctors and plumbers and cab drivers doing the same thing. Is this a peculiarly British trait, to feel that you should distrust the motives of anyone who’s doing something for the money and exalt anyone working for free?
I recently tweeted that “beginning an email with the words ‘I’m an unsigned artist’ was like saying ‘I’m an unemployed chef’”. I’d just received an email that began:
I am an unsigned artist, with a style of rock which you may find interestingI got a lot of flack from people, one of whom described themselves as ‘proudly unsigned’. Surely announcing yourself as "unsigned" is a classic case of leading with a feature that isn't a benefit, in the language of sales. I don’t care whether you’re an unsigned strummer. All I care is whether you’re any good. Ditto if you're a chef. Being unsigned or unemployed doesn’t put you on a higher moral plane than Coldplay or Jamie Oliver - nor does it make your music or lasagne any better.