The Myth of Exposure

Last week on my Facebook feed, I saw someone post an article about getting exposure as an artist in any medium was a good thing. Needless to say, the word “exposure” got other creatives commenting on the subject of getting exposure, aka, giving free content and doing free shows to get it, so you can then move onto using said exposure from free jobs, to then being recommended to people who will pay you for jobs. This has been weighing on my mind since, so I just wanted to go more into my opinion on the matter in more detail here.

My opinion? In short: Exposure is bull. Let me ask you something, have you ever gotten a paid job from someone after doing a free gig? Have you ever gotten someone telling you at the free gig that they would recommend you to someone, then never hear from them again? I have! At first, I made the mistake of doing freebie gigs for “exposure” and thinking it would get me better paying jobs, and more cred in the community. It did neither: The jobs that I did get from said gigs paid the same amount, or nothing, or I would be recommended to people who scoff at the fact of paying for a service rendered because hey it’s singing, I’m doing you the favor by letting you be here and perform! Forget the fact that I am a professional, and am doing this to make money – I mean, I can totally live off of 60 dollars for the month, just like you! -sarcasm-.

The popular opinion in that Facebook post was don’t settle for free jobs for the sake of exposure, and I whole-heartedly agree with them. Like, After a certain point (I believe I blogged about that point here as well) I just got so fed up. Like, it was like pulling teeth to get a decent paycheck, and the event managers acted like they were the ones doing me the favor! I am a firm believer in don’t take an unpaid job for exposure now: Take an unpaid job, only if you feel passionate about what you are doing the paid job for, or if you want to do a friend a favor or something. Basically, don’t feel like you have to do free gigs for exposure, because you don’t: You can just as easily get paid for exposure (and probably get better exposure by doing so because you will be performing for an audience who probably would be willing to pay just as much for your service – someone who is talking to someone and hears “Yeah, I was told you paid 60 for them” guess what? They will offer you that or less) don’t do free unless you’re ok with doing free. But don’t be pressured into doing a free job because of the myth of exposure.

What’s your opinion on free vs paid jobs/content creation? Have you had a good experience working for free and getting a job that pays well from doing a free job? Drop a comment and discuss!


Author: Crystal

A California based musician who is as passionate about music as she is video games,, Crystal (or ValkyrieCeles around the interwebs) loves to gush about her various nerdtastic loves, rant about anything currently catching her fancy, and generally just express herself in any creative outlet she can get her hands on. An avid reader, writer, and dreamer, Crystal has been leaving pieces of herself around the internet since 2006.

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