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How To Be an Artist With a Day Job

There are fifty thousand articles online about turning your creative passion into a full-time career (that's an exact number I counted myself, so no need to check if it’s accurate). Many of said fifty thousand articles include very good advice. You should read them and maybe take what they say to heart. But there aren’t many articles tackling the far more common situation: being an artist and having a—*gulp*—day job.

I mean, I get why this is the case. It’s more romantic to think about dropping everything and making a living from your hand-knit beer koozies. It’s idealistic. It’s "the dream." An article about how you may be better off figuring out how to enjoy life without becoming a full-time artist doesn’t inspire clicks. Worse yet, it may sound cynical, as if the author is telling you to bitterly give up on your dreams and aspirations, put on a tie and start talking about mutual funds to incredibly stuffy people at wine and cheese parties.

But I clearly don't give a sh*t about pageviews, so I'm going to let you in on a dirty little secret: the percentage of people who achieve the aforementioned full-time artist dream is less than 100%. It's difficult to get any hard numbers on a stat like that, but here are a couple examples to give you an idea: one study estimated that 90% of all musical acts could be considered "undiscovered." And a Washington Post article found that roughly 1.4 million people were making a living as artists in the United States. We don't know how many people in the country are attempting to be career creatives, but the total population is about 320 million. By the way, those 1.4 million are nearly all white and have a median salary of about $30k, which for many of us doesn't even qualify as a living wage. More people are incarcerated in America than are making that level of a "living" from art.

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4 Songs That Don't Mean What You Think They Mean

Despite the contingent of hardcore fans who think I’m infallible, I am but a human being who puts his pants on two legs at a time and occasionally makes mistakes. For example, there have been several times where I’ve wildly misinterpreted the meaning of a song. It happens to the best of us.

Even though the beauty of art means we can each create our own personal meanings, there are times when people are straight up wrong in what they think a song is about. Sometimes it’s an understated detail they’ve glossed over, other times it’s something so glaringly obvious one can’t help but wonder if English is their first, second or third language.

I’m singling out four oft-misunderstood songs in this post, plus a bonus song for people who like getting an extra free thing along with their other, already-free things. Here are some songs that you may never look at the same way again.

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The Ultimate Back To School Playlist

We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but it’s that dreaded time of year again: back to school. Luckily, there is a simple way to ease the pain of having to start learning again: watch lots of movies! Because we’re concerned about your well-being, we set out to compile the ultimate, end-all list of the top 10 back to school movies that you can queue up to get yourself in the mindset of class schedules, cafeteria food and atomic wedgies. Just remember not to stay up too late watching these — it’s a school night, after all!

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The Definitive Top 5 Mystery Science Theater 3000 Episodes

You really love your Mystery Science Theater 3000. When we asked you to tell us what you thought the single, all-time greatest episode of MST3K is, we received thousands of responses on our social media pages. In 24 hours. So, yeah, you love your MST3K.

And we here at Shout! Factory do, too! So, with your help, along with a lot of super-scientific, double-blind experiments with only minimal amounts of human and robot testing, we discovered and compiled the definitive five greatest MST3K episodes of all time, accompanied by some of your comments.

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The Blurred Lines of Music Lawsuits

...But intention works both ways: if you don't intend to plagiarize but you do, you're still responsible. And even if you do intend to rip someone off but by the letter of the law you technically haven't, you don't suddenly become a plagiarist. If I record a folk album in the style of Bob Dylan and publicly state that I was trying to make a record that sounded just like Dylan, yet I didn't directly copy any of his songs, nobody can sue me for that.

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