Asserting The Value Of Music

Musicians are like Republicans: Unaware that they are often acting against their own economic interest. Rare is the musician who insists on being paid as much as a plumber. Even rarer is the musician who understands the basics of contracts and copyrights.

Music fans are also like Republicans: Convinced that roads and clean water are magical and need not be paid for. Why pay when you can infringe on copyrights for free? Why buy CDs or vinyl when you can stream for free? Who cares if the musicians can’t eat and have no health insurance?

Now that I’ve gotten your attention with partially- or fully-warranted insults, I’ll challenge you to prove that I am wrong and an ass. :)

If you are a musician, take this vow with me: I vow to not play any gig without a written contract and which pays at least some amount of actual dollars.

If you are a fan, take this vow with me: I vow to pay for all the music I listen to more than once (thus allowing for try-before-you buy browsing on Bandcamp and YouTube). I also vow to buy merchandise at any free (...“free”) performances I happen to go to.

Because I’m fortunate, I can afford to spend $15 per week on new (non-used — musicians don’t get paid when we buy used at Amoeba, even though buying used is efficient in other ways), independent music in DRM-free (Bandcamp, direct download, vinyl, CD) formats. I’ll blog (probably on Monday evenings usually) about all my discoveries so you can make sure I’m honest, and I’ll tweet with the hashtag #ValueMusic.

I hope you will value music too, and buy as much as your budget allows. Music doesn’t come from the Music Fairy, it comes from people who tend to have more dreams than food.