~a music nerd's corner of the internet~

Everybody loves free music, or rather, free stuff in general.  Paying for stuff kinda sucks, it is true.  And it is soooo easy to steal music today, that it is really difficult to not do it.  It takes a pretty concerted effort to avoid ripping musicians off.  And most people really love it.  It’s exciting to “stick it to the man” or whatever, and hey, free stuff.  We look at the douchecanoes in Metallica and think, “why do they even need more money?”

Maybe because things just aren’t free?  Do you go to Tiffany’s and complain that the company has so much money that they should start leaving their diamonds out for any passers-by? I doubt it.  Metallica doesn’t owe us anything.  If you like someone’s music, why can’t you buy it?

Now that everything is available online, it is a pain in the ass to buy a CD, not to mention relatively expensive.  This sucks if you still want to buy music this way, but all this money is not just going to the artist, in fact very little of it is.   Tons of money goes to the producers, lawyers, accountants, album art designers, songwriters, and of course the record companies.  For those people that think that music being easily accessible to everyone and being widespread is a good thing, this is (or was) super necessary.  There are a lot of bad things about record companies, but if they didn’t exist, music wouldn’t be able to reach more than their underground audiences most of the time.

Of course now that is changing because of musicians marketing themselves on the internet, BUT there has not yet been any musician that has launched a successful career on the internet alone.  So as of right now, record companies and all their entourage are a necessary part of the music business.  Even for selling music on Itunes.  And they need to be paid, you know, to eat and stuff.

There is also a huge faction of people who think that pop music being so widespread is the worst thing to ever happen to music, and I’m sure that the fall of the record company empires would be cause for great celebration.  But in that case, garage bands and independent artists need our money even more so.

Do you know how much it costs to record an album? Well it depends on what genre it is, and what kind of quality you’re going for, but between $1000 and $100,000.  So like, a lot of money.  And not free in any case.  Unless you just want a recording on your cell phone, it will cost something.

But people should just be performing, or writing, or producing for the love of the art, you say.  Well, that’s pure idiocy, I say.  Sure someone can be a good artist without any practice or spending money on it, and it is possible that someone can be financially comfortable and still have time to pursue music, but its not common!

Some people may be born talented and not need lessons or anything, but if nobody learned anything or practiced music then there would not be much progression.  And music instruction is expensive.  Lessons can be 60$ an hour, and you need years of training.  Buying an instrument is not cheap, even ukeleles.   Being a singer is no cheaper.  A good mic can set you back 100 bucks, and you need a mic stand on top of that.  Mixing boards, amps, and so many wires and cords= a lot of money.

Performing anywhere other than your garage? Well gas ain’t cheap!  Especially not if you’re loaded up with heavy equipment.  Trying to do a tour to promote your band and spread your music? As noted, gas ain’t cheap.  And nor is food.  Hotels.  Laundry machines.  The list goes on.

And on top of all this, the most expensive commodity a musician need: time.  You can’t become good at something if you are too busy at your day job.  That’s not saying that a musician can only be good if they don’t have a day job, but obviously the more time you devote to developing a craft, the better you become at it.  There may be lawyers who can play the guitar, and don’t mind doing a free show on the weekend, but I’ve never met one.

If you want music to be good and varied, it can’t be free.  So if a band you love is using kickstarter to raise money to go on tour, I suggest chipping in instead of complaining about how entitled they are.

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