Monday, July 21, 2008

Music is not free! Let's bring the music back. Part 2

Music is not, nor can ever be totally free. I know you beg to differ; there are free legal and illegal download sties and what about radio and MySpace? So how could I state something so absurd and make what seems to be such an outlandish statement? Let's analyze what music is. There are countless elements that make up the body of a song or the basic elements of music.

Instruments and other gear like amps, cords, effects and so on are required depending on the style of the band and music. Just some of the basic and most important elements of composing and recording music. The cost can be thousands of dollars for cheap basic equipment and does not even take in to account the years of music lessons and the money spent on them to become a fair musician.

Band practice is another element of not being free. One may have a basement to practice in but the other members of the band have to spend money to get to practice via a motorized people mover known as an automobile. The cost there is insurance, gas and maintenance and of course there is usually a car payment attached unless you are lucky. Many people do not have the luxury of cool parents or neighbors or even live in an area that has basements so now they have to rent a place like a warehouse to practice in. Again more money spent, and a place like this could cost more than the people mover.

Now let's talk about gigs. Most bands that play out usually drive a minimum of 3 people movers to get to a gig so they can carry all there equipment and gear, if they are lucky and I really don't mean that literally they have a van and a trailer to haul all the members and gear in and the gas on this alone can be equivalent to a weeks salary for the average Wal-Mart employee.

So how does a band try and recoup all these expenses? It's easy they spend even more money having shirts and CDs made. Let's use the cheap route a low-fi and low budget CD recorded in one's basement. This can still cost thousands of dollars in recording equipment, computers, printers, ink, electricity, paper, blank CDs and of course jewel cases. But any band that wants to impress their fans will use a real studio and spend even more money renting studio time, using a producer, an engineer, a graphic artist for the cover art as well as having the music mastered and even copy-written and last but not least having them professionally pressed.

Free music? I just don't see how, oh yes downloading, burning a copy from a friend or family member or begging the band to let you into the show without paying or listening to a song on the radio or MySpace. This must be what people mean by free music, right!!! And you dare call yourself a fan. Just because you own an MP3 player and you have paid to legally download 2 songs by Green Day. This doesn't even come close to qualify you as a fan of the band. A fan of the band would own all 14 CDs including interview CDs and box sets and could name or recite almost every song ever written by the band. So just because you leave some really cool dribble on the band's MySpace does not make you a fan.

Most importantly you can't be a fan of a band if you know nothing about them other than the 2 songs you have on your MP3 player. There is more to a band than that. You have to hear all the songs; good, bad or indifferent to truly understand what the songs truly mean and the band are about. For example you wouldn't go online and read the introduction to a best seller and say wow that was a great book. You have no idea; it's the same with music.

To further illustrate, if you were the owner of an independent car dealership do you think your friends or just some passerby should get a free car from you and have you pay for their gas and insurance? If you were a carpenter would you be able to make a living by building free homes and supply all the material for free to build whatever your friends wanted you to build?

This is why music can't really be free. Musicians don't spend all this money to be a free entertainer. They do this because they love what they do, they want to be appreciated and respected for the profession they have chosen but most importantly they have the same needs as you. They need to make a living so they can eat, have a dwelling also known as a house or apartment, a people mover and someday even afford to raise a family.

So now you are asking yourself how I can help bring music back. It's quite elementary Holmes. Support the bands you say you love and are a fan of. Buy their music legally, get off your computer and go see them live not on YouTube. Buy their T-shirts when they play, pay to get in don't beg to get in for free like some cheap street junkie looking for your next fix. If you are at a café and see an acoustic performer and you like the music put a tip in the tip jar. Now you can hold you head up high and walk proud knowing that you are helping make a difference. Only then music will finally come back.

Written and published by Nick Katona

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