In an age where increasingly more and more in our culture is expected to be free, to a generation who has everything at our fingertips and expects to pay precious little for it, music is absolutely no exception. In fact, our iTunes libraries, may be good indicators of our perspective on entitlement.
Regardless of political affiliation, we as lovers and consumers of music must ask the question: What is owed to the Artist? When fellow Millennial and NPR radio columnist Emily White boasts about her 11,000 song library, and yet she’s only purchased 15 albums in her life, we must stop and reflect on what a consumer-driven, streaming, pirating, file-sharing musical cocktail has done to the music industry, but most importantly, to the artists who produce the music we carry around with us on our laptops, smart phones and iPods.
Is free music really…free?
David Lowery wrote an incredibly thorough response to Emily’s utopia of free music. I highly encourage you to read it here.
Think about the artists you love listening to, then think about these stats:
- Recorded music revenue is down 64% since 1999.
- Per capita spending on music is 47% lower than it was in 1973!!
- The number of professional musicians has fallen 25% since 2000.
- Of the 75,000 albums released in 2010 only 2,000 sold more than 5,000 copies. Only 1,000 sold more than 10,000 copies. Without going into details, 10,000 albums is about the point where independent artists begin to go into the black on professional album production, marketing and promotion.
Remember this, it may be cheaper to steal music, but it is certainly not free, not ethical, and not glorifying to God. It does not benefit the artist who worked hard to make something enjoyable to their listeners, and makes it harder for them to produce the next album.
Still don’t want to fork over the cash? Think about this? How much did you spend on that Macbook Air to download all of your free music? How much did you spend on your iPhone 5 to carry that free music with you wherever you go? What do you pay a month simply to have access to the internet on your phone and in your home? And you can’t fork out $10 for an album? This is a short-sighted, selfish and costumer-centered way of viewing music and art.