Free content doesn’t mean free everything

Over and over, when someone proposes giving away something for free in order to make more money on whatever else it is you’re selling, whether it’s the hard copy of your book, the tickets to your show, or anything else, some people see “free” and can’t understand that it doesn’t end there.  People get so mad that you’d suggest that everyone starve because “kids these days” don’t want to pay for music.

One of the comments on the really nice article linked below is one such person.

Eric: I have to say that this model saddens me.  Where’s the respect for the value of the artist’s labor when its given away free?  In over 25 years as a music writer for film/tv/theater, etc. I have many times been approached with some version of “We don’t have much budget on this one but do us a solid and there should be a good budget on the next….”  NEVER, has one of these ever come back with a decent paying gig and more than once people have come back with, “Oh, but last time you were able to do this for us.  How come?”

First of all, it’s clear the guy didn’t read the post. No one was suggesting you do the show for free.  The author of the article (Derek, not Eric) didn’t actually say to give anything away for free.  He just advocated making an appeal to fans to buy your cd. Pay what you want, even if it’s nothing, but walk out of the show with a copy of the cd.

The point is that, in his experience, the bands make more money this way.  This has nothing to do with giving away your work for some idealistic notion of good for society.  It has nothing to do with disrespecting creative works. The opposite, in fact – it’s all about compensating the creator in a way that allows him or her to continue creating, and treats fans like fans, not potential thieves.

You have to stop and think – is it better to make a living doing what you love, or to be compensated for each and every use of your work?

Article: Emphasize meaning over price = More paid sales | Derek Sivers via CwF RtB on Twitter

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