Commercial doesn't mean it's bad

“Commercial” is often used as an invective, to mean that something’s bad taste, stupid, or wrong. At least in my country. But the people that do that, tends to forget that things that sell ultimately are the things that people want.

When someone decides to pull out his wallet and pay you money for something you do, it’s because what you do is of value to that person. Hollywood owns the global movie industry, because they overall, and—no less important—consistently, make the best movies. Microsoft owns the software market for the same reason.

The money flow is really a value flow. Someone pays me for my work, because it’s of value to them. I pay for a beer at a bar, because both the beer and the surroundings are of value to me. It’s very simple. If what you’re doing doesn’t sell, it just might be because it’s not really that important to anybody.

But then there are people who claim to know better than the rest of us what’s good for us. The cultural elite who dictates that Rachmaninoff is better than Rocky. But why, then, is Rocky more popular? Who has the right to determine what is good and what is not, if not the people who make the decision to purchase?

Of course, marketing and sales also play an important part. If people aren’t aware that you’re there, and you aren’t able to explain to people why what you do is valuable to them, they probably won’t buy it either.

I recently talked to an arts student who makes movies. Most movies like that in Denmark are heavily subsidized and not watched by very many people. Turns out that making movies that way had always annoyed him. He longed to make a movie that would sell, one that lots of people really wanted to see, and would really enjoy. Subsidizing art may not be the way to make either artist or the public happy.


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