Paying for Music

And so the ongoing debate continues. Does piracy matter? Should we pay for music when it is so easily available for free? I’m not sure.

I’ve heard many arguments, and am particularly interested in what Alex Day has to say. He is proud about not having a label, but yet being able to sell his music. As a freelance musician, you’d think he would prefer that people BUY his music. However, in this article ( he says something quite different. He says that there are three types of people:

  1. People who will pay for your music because they want to support you.
  2. People who like your music, but are unsure if they want it permanently. They won’t pay for your music; instead they’ll listen to it online for free. If there were no free options for your music, they STILL wouldn’t pay for it. However, allowing them to listen to the music for free lets them ‘test’ the song and if they still like it in a few months they may buy it.
  3. People who can’t afford to, or don’t care enough to buy your music. They will never buy your music. Without free access to your music, they still won’t buy it.

Additionally, by allowing people to listen to your music for free, you create a wider audience. This allows more people of type 1 and 2 to come in contact with your music, which ensures more sales.

HOWEVER – today it was cold outside and I decided to treat myself to a warm brownie from the coffee shop. This brownie was about 7cm x 5cm x 2cm and was cold and hard. It cost me £1.75. While eating, it struck me that this was a ridiculous amount of money to spend on a brownie (compared to its cost to make), particularly since it was cold and I really wanted to warm me up from the weather outside. Then I remembered something I read that said, ‘you’re willing to spend money on a cup of coffee, but not music?’ Why was I willing to spend so much money on a brownie, but not on music? The brownie only lasts 10 minutes, but music can be listened to many times. What was I saying? That the music I love is worth less than a cold, hard brownie? And I am a musician?

It’s really something to think about.