I keep getting offers for free stuff. Not the rubbish you get on Facebook where all you need to do is share a fake post in order to not have the chance to get a free car (this is called ‘like farming’, by the way) but offers from the likes of Amazon who today want me to have free music. This is obviously the proverbial sprat to catch a mackerel method of doing business, giving me something for nothing for a few weeks and then getting me to pay for it later. However, I don’t want free music. I like to pay for my music.
I have a very old fashioned view of life and part of that is a belief that people should be fairly rewarded for their work. The musician works for a living just like the rest of us. S/he (I’ll call him he for the rest of this blog for convenience) spends a considerable amount of time creating music. Then he rehearses the music and eventually makes it available to the public who, hopefully, consume it. I just don’t happen to think music should come free, or nearly free, which is where streaming comes into it.
Of course, we cannot pretend that the market for ‘hard’ music hasn’t been in decline for many years. Even platforms like iTunes are struggling in the tide of our desire to listen to stuff for free.
It is all very well for heritage artists who tour simply in order to replenish the bank balance and aid their retirement funds. It is not quite so good for up-and-coming bands, nor indeed the vast majority of artists who are not able to play stadiums.
The reason music streaming is so successful is simple: it’s cheap, if not free. If we cannot reverse the tide of change in the way we consume music then the music industry as a whole has to take steps to safeguard the whole industry and agree that if they allow the likes of Spotify to stream music that they, and so their customers, pay a reasonable price for it.
If you went into a record shop – assuming you could find one these days – and picked up a handful of records and walked out without paying, it would be theft. How come giving away people’s creative output for nothing isn’t regarded as much the same thing?