Music photography in a social world

Call me crazy (I'm sure someone will) but I have a different feeling about people using my music photography on their social media, blogs, websites, etc than a lot of photographers do.  Let me start by saying when it's for commercial use I have a hard line, or if it's a company that pays photogs and just uses my images that's a different beast.  But when it comes to blogs, flickr, facebook, google+, twitter, whatever I think photographers, especially music photographers, need to be taking a different approach.

Publicity is good, especially for a photographer specializing in entertainment photography.  Now, I don't subscribe to the "shoot for exposure" idea.  Or for a show where I think I can license images and the publicist tells me I have to buy my own ticket, no way.  My email back for that is "if your artist will come play a private show at my house for free, I'll come shoot your show for free." Needless to say I don't get responses back.  But when you shoot something and get paid for it, what's the harm in someone posting your photo on their site as long as it has your tag on it?  They're not clients who would pay you to take photos, they're not sending you out to shoot and not paying you.  If anything they're raising the awareness of your work.  You're fooling yourself if you think that artists and their representatives aren't looking at the images people are posting of them.  Those kids are going to post an image either way so it can either be yours or it can be someone else's.  I would rather it be mine.

Yesterday I posted a photo I took of Joe Jonas and it got RT'd, posted, emailed, texted all over the place (the image is here).  Just from what I found in a one minute search...

Are those huge outlets that are paying for quality photography?  No.  Could I send DCMA take down notices to all of them and have the images removed?  Absolutely.  But I would rather have the exposure and spend my time creating new images.  If someone likes my stuff enough to post it on their blog or (non commercial) site, so be it.  This is the 21st century.  News hits twitter before it makes the headlines.  It's time to rethink the way you approach those who use your photos and what's worth pursuing and what's wasting your time when you could be out creating new content.

I'm interested to know what other music photogs think... Tweet me: @dontbescene


[about me disclaimer: I am a photographer who makes my living shooting a lot of different things, music included.  I'm not a young kid who shoots shows for free because I want to be close to a band.  I've toured and done all that stuff.  I shoot music photography because I love it.]