Through Art Market & You, Art From Us provides you Analysis, Opinion and Factual Reports regarding the current on-goings of the Global Art Market. In this article, we explore the Challenges in conquering the digital space.
Our Director Divvya Nirula presents reports from the international art market with the view to assist our collectors, investors, and all lovers of art.
The need for digitization in art became quickly apparent in the era of Coronavirus. Be it exhibitions, sales, or simply having an online presence. The digital medium is the only medium for art institutions to connect to their audience.
Going digital is not a simple task for any brick-and-mortar business. Much less for an entire industry that deals in tangible, heterogeneous goods. Obvious challenges include high effort and cost for setting up a digital infrastructure. Training staff and transitioning them into suitable roles. Transferring data online and so on. However, apart from these nitty-gritties, there are far greater concerns facing art institutions.
Having a unique brand identity online is crucial for making a mark in the digital sphere. This is the age of social media, video streaming services and virtual newspapers. Our virtual world is already crowded with millions of businesses aggressively competing for viewership. And art will entering the battle field not only late, but also blindfolded. Let us consider a few challenges that art might face in the transition from physical to digital.
Finding a Suitable Platform
The first consideration for an institution is what platform to use to launch their digital presence. For instance, a gallery can go online in multiple ways. It can create its own website. Launch a social media page on Facebook or Instagram. Tie up with existing online retailers such as Artsy. Or maybe even do all three. Finding the perfect platform is crucial. It cannot be a random decision. The platform must be suited to the needs of the institution. For example, a gallery’s primary business is to sell art. Thus, a website may be more suited for trading, rather than Instagram. On the other hand, a blogger might enjoy the flexibility provided by social media.
Whatever platform a business chooses, it’s important to know the full range of competitors. If an art museum launches an Instagram account, its competition is not limited to other art museums on Instagram. Instagram is a purely visual platform. And as the definition of ‘art’ becomes more democratic for young millennials, museums ensure viewer engagement.
The traditional ‘be loud to be heard’ approach does not necessarily work for the young generation of collectors. Further, catchy content sometimes triumphs over quality.
Converting Views to Revenue
Grabbing eyeballs is important. However, converting views to revenue is key for business sustenance. Institutions would need to establish a steady source of income.
The above challenges may prove to be great barrier to the digitization of art. However, they are not without solutions.
The key solution to the challenges of going digital may be in hiring the right people. Yes, businesses need experienced experts who know their way around technology. And can help set up this digital infrastructure. But equally, there is a dire need to hire young blood. People who truly understand the pulse of the virtual landscape.
Finally it is still early to tell of the future of art holds. But adjustments must be made to avoid a total collapse.
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