Hi Chuck, my name is Mike, and I am a fan. I’ve seen you a few times on the Revival Tour (one of those times was amongst the best experiences I’ve ever had), and I own a few of your records.
I’m also an illustrator, and that’s what this is about. I saw your tweet earlier regarding the Camaraderie Art Campaign. I appreciate you wanting to build a community with your fans - and you are certainly using your success to help others gain exposure, which is amazing - but this kind of contest is not the way to do it. There is term for what you’re asking of your fans - it is called spec work.
I’m sure there are thousands of artists out there who would love the chance to work with you (hell, I would). Indeed, I’m sure many of them will enter your contest. But contests, by design, only attract artsts who don’t realize they’re being taken advantage of.
If someone’s work is worth using in the way your contest describes, he or she should not be asked to pay anything for it to be considered. And that an artist can “earn” a $200 flat fee for use (and ownership? - your site doesn’t say) of his or her work is taking full advantage of folks who likely don’t know that they’re being robbed of a fantastic opportunity to earn some money for themselves through licensing fees. Beyond any financial matters, contests trivialize what we artists do for a living.
Chuck, you’re someone who has been fortunate enough to create a life for yourself by following your passion for a craft. Please don’t take that opportunity away from other artists through this contest. If you want to reach out to fans, and get them involved in what you do, I suggest searching a site like Behance, or even Tumblr.
I’m still a fan, and I still admire the hell out of your music and your presence on stage (seriously, you’re a force of nature). But if this is what comes to mind every time I play one of your records, I’m probably going to have to stop playing your records. Please consider the message above before going forward with your Camaraderie Art Campaign.