I want you to buy this music. It’s really important that you buy this music. Buying this music is important for many reasons.
Skip all the stuff written below and just go buy the music.
I want you to pay $2 for each song. Go straight to the purchase button and buy each song. Pay $2 for each song.
When I was growing up, my family, and our community as a whole, took pride in finding the best deals, the lowest price, the secret place to get awesome stuff for less. When I was 12 I spent 2 hours on the bus to go to a music store that was offering a cymbal for $115. That was $5 less than the music store close to home. That was over 40 years ago. Today that cymbal costs about $150. And today I know that the race to the bottom kills people. I know that people have died so that cymbal costs $150.
I want you to pay $2 for each of these songs. Right now.
When I was 15, 1978, a new release vinyl LP cost $15, sometimes $20. You got 10 songs. If the record had a scratch and wasn’t perfect, lots weren’t, you could try to take it back to the store and exchange it but you had to be hella charming to make that work.
At that time the record industry was king for music. But out of that $15 or $20, the writer of the songs and owner of the band that recorded them, still made a few bucks off of each record. You sold a million records and the writer / band could have made a million bucks.
Go buy the music right now and stop reading. $2 per song.
And if your song got played on the radio then you got royalty cheques sent to you in the mail. You could get enough money to record another album.
Sure, people argued and bitched about who got the right amount of money but artists got paid to make more music, studios got paid to make better places to record, engineering firms got paid to make better equipment, and labels got paid to market and distribute the product. Everybody got enough money to keep the whole thing improving.
$2 per song is dirt cheap. If you have any sense of value, pay $10 for at least one of these songs.
It was a glorious time. We made mix tapes for our friends and loved ones. We sat together in groups and listened to new albums from new and old artists. We called radio stations to request our favorite hits. We scoured over the artwork and album notes for glimpses of insight.
And then came the internet and someone figured out how to get music for free. Yes, one person had to buy the music, but then they could copy it and download it to millions of people for absolutely no cash outlay at all.
And suddenly, the artist who used to have a million fans and a million sold copies, or a thousand fans and a thousand sold copies, suddenly had ten times as may fans but only a single sold copy of their music. Not enough to eat from and definitely not enough to record another album.
A reasonable price for an album today is about $40. Less than that and the artist is subsidizing you. Less than $40 per album and the artist is subsidizing you. Did you hear that?
So what did writers and musicians do? They focused on live performance venues and merchandise. They basically reverted to giving away the music for free, in exchange for getting some money from other sources.
And now we have streaming services. If you pay a fee for a streaming service please stop. You are paying for a gang of criminals to reduce musicians to unpaid servants. The amount of money the typical high quality artist gets from a streaming service for a year of streaming their song would pay for dinner in a C grade restaurant. There is no money for the artist, no money to advance the recording process and no money to advance song writing. You are strangling the thing you love. Stop it. Now.
Pay for the music. Not the price of a cheap coffee from a shop that pays minimum wage and keeps its employees in poverty. Pay a fair price. Because you want more. And you want better.
I get it. If you want your Nike shoes to be made by slave labour in a country that is happy to impoverish and kill their employees then you’re probably not going to pay for this music. But if you care about the producer, if you care about people, if you don’t want to be a part of destroying music, then pay for the fucking music.
What happens when you pay for the music? You create a world that is rich with joy and imagination. You create a world where people have value and are valued. You educate our youth that culture, creativity, imagination, and joy, have an important place in the world and need to be encouraged. For truly, is there love without music?
Just buy the music. You pick the price.