For 3.5 years, I offered my entire discography for free download, through the (now gone) Dr. Zoltan website.
Here’s what I was thinking:
1.) I don’t care about my music career.
2.) It’s better for 1,000 people to hear my music for free than it is for 100 people to pay for it.
3.) Most of the great experiences in my life came from handing someone a CD or cassette for free.
Decided not to do it anymore.
I’ve come to the conclusion that the capitalist system of paying for music should be maintained, even in the absence of physical products.
Two simple reasons:
1.) $1 per song is a fair and acceptable system of exchanging value for value. It’s an absurdly low price to pay for a potentially-timeless piece of art.
2.) Free downloading devalues music. In the same way that Netflix devalues movies, and Facebook devalues friendship. The result is endless, superficial browsing rather than a wholesome experience.
I’ve never been a free downloader. I like to pay living artists for their work. When I buy music, I usually buy it on iTunes. It works well. And I’ve enjoyed getting a constant stream of payments from CDBaby over the years, for all those iTunes sales.
Spotify seems to be an OK system. I’ve gotten checks from it already. It’s nice that they keep track, rather than simply exploiting creative people.
I don’t expect the money from my digital sales and streams to ever be impressive, and it’s rarely noticeable. I stopped making “real money” from music in 2007. I just think paying an artist is the honest thing to do. So thank you to the few who have sent me donations over the years. And if you’re one of the people who has downloaded and enjoyed my music for free, PayPal me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
From now on, if you want my stuff, you can find out how to pay for it at http://www.carlkingdom.com/music