Dear artist working for "exposure"

The reason people want writers, artists, designers, musicians and others to work for "exposure" is not because these people are bad people. They may be, but that's not the point. 

Maybe at least some of this blame is on us creative folks as well.

The attention economy, powered by advertisement, where views and hits are more important than the person doing the viewing and the hitting, is the problem. We are used to "millions of views" so much that a good enriching relationship with a few hundred viewers seems to pale in comparison. We want to sing for "thousands", be seen by "millions", and have our work showcased on platforms thronged by "massive crowds".

We care much less about the individuals in that crowd. They are eyeballs to us. That's all.

And because we have bought into this idea of success/fame, we pay for it by compromising on other fronts. We get asked to work for free or cheap. We are promised eyeballs and we take the deal. The attention economy is exploiting our reliance on it.

The way out? Say no to huge numbers and seek out ways to find the few fans who you would be happy to call friends. Build on those relationships. Make them partners in your creative process. A hundred people paying you 100 rupees each will make you ten thousand rupees. That's more money than you will ever make with ads on a video with a million "views" from people whose names you will never know.