So… “CNET | Poll: Should music be free?”

Not that it’s never been brought up before… but, the debate rages on.  I find it interesting that it’s a CNET poll, and that there are people quite passionate on both sides of the issue.  Check out this poll:

Poll: Should music be free? | Paying for music is now a voluntary act, so why would anyone ever buy a CD, LP, or download?

English: The crossed out copyright symbol with...

English: The crossed out copyright symbol with a musical note on the right hand side is the free music symbol, signifying a lack of copyright restrictions on music. It may be used in the abstract, or applied to a sound recording or musical composition. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m not exactly sure where I fall.  Obviously, as a musician… I see value in the songs & the entertainment.  It’s great when I have a product to sell.  It’s awesome that people would want to pay to purchase noise that I make.  To me it’s more of a lifestyle/hobby though.  I don’t mind playing just to make gas money, or selling music barely above cost… or even posting it for free.  I dig that people enjoy it.  But, and this is a big but…  If it was my sole means of income, I sure would not be happy giving much away for free.  Although, radio and now online streaming are the way to get heard, and… that’s free.  You almost need that to advertise yourself, unless you gig non-stop like Metallica in their early days.

Are people like me who don’t mind giving away music devaluing music for everyone?  I certainly like free stuff.  I also buy CD’s & merchandise from local & smaller touring acts like a madman.  I realize I’m not normal in that practice.  I see the value in others’ art.  It’s important to me to reward their efforts.

The again, I’m a huge fan of freeware, shareware, and open source stuff when it comes to software.  What’s the difference?

What’s the new model?  Albums are free, shows and T-shirts make you money?  Every band releases a documentary & a bunch of live DVD’s?  Government sticks its’ nose into streaming and it becomes an ad-heavy payola nightmare?

I’d like to hear everyone’s thoughts in the comments.

4 thoughts on “So… “CNET | Poll: Should music be free?”

  1. I’m a little uncomfortable with the idea of all music being free. It’s probably good marketing to have some available for free, but all of it free seems disrespectful to the musicians.

    Would people who expect free music feel comfortable xeroxing a painting and hanging it in their home without compensating the artist?


  2. No, it should not be free and here’s why: If I go to Walmart/Apple bee’s and then try to leave with some food, or when the waitress says “I’ll bring you your bill!”, I say,”No, I’m good.”, they’re not okay with that. If you ask why the store will get down to the point that trucks bring the food and they buy it from a farm, refrigeration costs, blah blah blah. The waitress at the end of the discussion will get to paying her and the chef, blah blah blah. But let’s say for arguments sake, the waitress makes $700/month at her job, and spends $50/month to get there, yet a guy is is semi-serious about his music, has to buy lets say a $500 guitar and a $500 amp and we’re not even to cases, wires, strings, traveling to shows, etc. So this poor schlub shells out over a $1,000 just to play the music she wants to hear and have for free. To reiterate, food is a vital need to survive every day, yet I can’t get it free, but music, which is great, but no ones every died from music starvation, people expect to be free because it “belongs to everyone.” It should be cheap, like Old School Minor Threat DIY policies, cheap cd’s, shows, etc. and bands shouldn’t be so snotty as to not be able to throw some free shit i.e. mp3’s, merch, even a whole cd every once in a blue moon to their fans, and not throw a temper-tantrum ala Metallica syndrome if someone takes it for free on a small scale. Music should be fun, a mixed bag of emotions and a spiritual experience on some level even if small, to all peoples involved, and in a Utopian world, yes free. But we do not live in Shangri la, and some of those buskers are doing it to actually eat and put clothes on their families backs with their skills, so no not free, unless the band has set out for the purpose of it being free.


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