Are You Too Cheap? Thoughts on Free Music.

As a songwriter and label owner I find it actually quite depressing to read that Facebook is planning to offer music “for free”.

There is no mention of music being streamed like on Pandora or on the traditional radio where it is implied that royalties are collected. I know, it’s just a word. But I wouldn’t be much of a believer as writer if I didn’t postulate that single words can have a lot of power. In my opinion, “free” devalues the talent, money, effort, years of practising and promoting songwriters, lyricists, musicians and performers put into creating music.

Sure, we all wouldn’t make music it if we didn’t want to and it’s great, moreover absolutely crucial to be heard (the opposite problem is being excluded from opportunities like this as a small label). But this actually is about semantics!

However, it starts with the artist. And more and more have jumped on the “give it away for free” bandwagon and have, in my opinion, lost their dignity. I have become more and more critical of giving away music for free. It devalues both the music and the artist. After a decade long decline in sales, iTunes current reports actually prove the opposite – people are willed to pay for music.

Many like to justify these strategies with the terrible economy in the US. But I personally think that there is momentarily an overkill of Groupons, daily coupons and 80% offers. It’s time to reverse the game in the music market, stop being cheap and stand up for what we are really worth. Give away one song from a full-length album as a teaser but stop being cheap and moreover, stop evoking and supporting the image that you are.

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