Hypebot’s Last Free Week

Free sign oh yes
No, I'm not going to start charging for Hypebot. I'm calling this The Last FREE Week On Hypebot because I want this to be the last time that we debate whether or not music should sometimes, in fact quite often, should be free.

A post I wrote "Understanding The Value Of Free" reminding musicians to utilize the power of free started the heated discussion.  And a follow-up post "Why Are We Still Debating Free?" continued the debate. I encourage you to join in.

But in actuality, the debate is over. As someone who has worked in this business all of my life, I appreciate fully the sweat that goes into making and marketing music.  I can even say that I mostly align myself with folks that believe that it downright sucks that people stopped paying for music.  But as  Wired's Chris Anderson
said at SXSW:

"I'm not telling the apple to fall –
I'm just telling that the apple will fall.
That is what the laws of digital economics require
…you either compete with free or use free…".

Like it or not, most of the apples have already fallen off the music industry tree. And all this week on Hypebot, we'll explore various theories of free and how artists and labels can use free to make money.

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  1. The real debate is how to use free to achieve your goals as an Artist. There’s so much free music, giving it away is not a strategy itself, and too many artists and managers start and stop with a free mp3.
    Second – how do you reconcile free and paid to create a business? In the US, Imeem and Myspace at least have broad participation for streaming music on “legit” services. I know they’ve been having a hard time monetizing, but does this mean the model is dead?
    Since the myspace muisc J/V launch – were seeing a huge jump in streaming -and were seeing some illegal p2p activity move to these services, so its moving in the right direction. Really amazing data is starting to come in, so I want some time to see how it develops – these streaming ecosystems have only been around for a short period of time.

  2. I am in agreement that free is the reality we’re heading for…its all around us. I appreciate your stance as well; I think the reason that I feel so opposed to it is that IT DOES SUCK that people don’t want to pay anymore. What makes it even harder to take is that I don’t see any difference between recorded music now and recorded music from the wax cylinder to the CD to the digital file. Just 10 years ago, people bought sound recordings in droves; the ONLY thing that has changed between then and now is the container they come in and the ease at which it can be copied and distributed. People still highly value the sound recordings themselves; popularity of the iPod and the number of people with earbuds perpetually glued to their heads are a testiment to that. Its kind of insane to look at that and say, well, “the listener won’t pay so here we are”.
    I have no problem with free; I think that an artist should be able to do whatever, whenever they want with their work. What I have a problem with is the culture of free, and the attitude that compensating artists for the art they create is laughably ridiculous. By giving everything away we just reinforce this notion, which is morally wrong IMO.
    I’m not saying that we’re all evil, i’m just saying it sucks. I think that artists who create something special should be fairly compensated by those that enjoy it so much..not because the artist is greedy, but because what they create is important enough to support and nurture.

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