Why Pay For Music?
Why pay for music when there is most likely an Internet site offering what you want for free? Legal, no, but downloading data just doesn’t seem like theft, whether it’s music, movies, games or computer programs. Many who would never dream of steal anything from a shop don’t give a second thought to stealing through the Internet. But leaving aside the legal arguments the question still remains – why pay for music?
Quality might be one concern. Most sites offering free music are not offering CD-quality files. But with the advent of mp3s we’ve been duped into accepting music at a lower quality so that we can store more songs on our devices. And the trouble here is that even at a lower quality the sound is perfectly acceptable for music on the move. When you’re listening to music in a place with a high level of background noise, such as on the street or in a bus or train, the refined detail of a CD-quality recording is, for the most part, lost. So, why worry that much about audio quality?
Then there is the question of further production and development. By denying companies of sales revenue, they are less inclined to invest in future development, be it music, movies, games or computer programs. But who cares about future development when we can have what we want now?
Another line of thinking goes, ‘big-name artists (or companies) are earning enough so they’re not going to miss the money they lose by me downloading their product for free`. Again, leaving aside the legality, this might be true for lost sales revenue just from you, but multiply this by the number of other people doing illegal downloads and the sum can become considerable. Even though we might be aware of this, it doesn’t stop us from downloading.
For the many thousands of unknown artists out there making music, myself included, there is a completely different take on this subject, which goes like this: we’ve invested an immense amount of time honing our skills as musicians, and a considerable amount of money on musical instruments and recording our work. Although the inspiration behind our music may come in a second and cost nothing, the time for development and recording takes weeks, months, or sometimes even years of painstaking work. Why would anyone go to so much effort for no promise of reward? The answer is because we are musicians – we live to make music.
The one thing we crave more than anything else is simply a modicum of recognition for our efforts. By paying the small amount to download our music you are telling us that the music we produce actually has value, and our time and effort is appreciated. This is worth so much more than the one or two dollars you are paying for the download, and acts as a catalyst for us to produce more.
The next time you want to download some music, reach for your credit card. The small download fee is worth so much to the artist.