“That new microphone in your studio… Was it free? Your keyboard? Computer? DAW? Did anything that you use in your studio to make music come for free? Apart from the hours of dedication you put in to develop your craft – that came for free in monetary terms, and you’re content now to give it away?” – David Mellor Course Director of Audio Masterclass

You can find the full article that this quote was excerpted from here. I encourage you to read it and the accompanying comments/discussion. Of course this is a debate that happens all day everyday on the internet, most likely because of the internet. As I’ve stated I believe that technology/the internet has been the best thing to happen to music and at the same time it has been not so kind.

Where do I fall on this debate? Well I would say that I have always been of the mindset that you should pay the artist their due. Of course that’s an entirely different debate (worth) and if someone opts not to be compensated that’s their business (I guess) but call it what it is then a hobby. Record labels are really easy targets so I’m not going to get into the whole “Big Bad Wolf” line of thought that doesn’t take much effort nor solves anything.

Let’s pretend for a moment that record companies as we know them never existed and this is a debate on whether or not to compensate an artist for their creative output? How much is it worth? When an artist offers music for free is that a motivator for you to purchase later? How much exposure does someone need? I can tell you that in writing for GFM I have seen a lot of “free” offers hit the inbox and with the amount of saturation that exists from “free music” in the marketplace I don’t know if that’s truly a motivator for most people if they are not an already established fan. I certainly could be wrong.

Maybe the problem is that we look far too often at the top percentile of money makers in music. I don’t blame anyone who doesn’t want to support some (insert adjective here) buy their seventh Bentley, that’s just absurd, not deserved, absurd. I like the idea of a working artists music industry where artists work and live among everyone else it just so happens that their job entails capturing the joys and sorrows of life in the form of recording and performing those stories for those of us who want to hear them. What are your thoughts?

Ivan Orr is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and writer. A native of Charlottesville, Virginia Ivan was involved with the forming and nascent days of The Music Resource Center as its first Program Director. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University's Department of Music, Ivan currently resides in Richmond, VA where he maintains an active performance and production schedule while serving as the Music Editor for Grown Folks Music, a position he has held since 2010.