Saturday, March 13, 2021

All my music is now free

I have been pondering a question of economics for some time. Until now I have been pricing my albums at around 8 Euros. This is far less than many labels, so it's always been a "good deal."

I began by releasing music for free. If I can accurately recall my thought processes, I switched to paid albums in order to be "taken seriously" as an artist. This had something to do with setting up my label, Stolen Mirror.

But who buys my music? Friends and other artists I have collaborated with, or otherwise met. Though the money has never remotely covered the time it takes to publish music (let alone produce it), every purchase was nonetheless a vote of confidence. This has meant a lot to me over the years. Thank you all!

But lately I've been wondering why I am taxing those closest to me. I wonder what sort of person puts more value on music because it has an economic cost. Surely people can simply listen and evaluate on that basis?

Years ago I switched to Bandcamp for releases, since I like the fact the music can be auditioned in advance. The pricing model is better than any streaming service, all of which are essentially slave trading musicians. I also stopped producing CDs, because physical products waste resources. 

Besides, you're never going to hear the music better than by auditioning a FLAC file that was directly mixed from source. The psychoacoustic effects I utilise for certain pieces gets lost on other formats. Avoidance Strategies, with its binaural beats, is perhaps the best example.

In any case, from this day on, my work is free. This won't include my albums released on other labels, since I have no control over their pricing. It also doesn't include other artists released on my label. It doesn't include those physical releases that remain, since these had an unavoidable production cost. 

I will retain the option for you to set a price, since this is necessary on the albums that are fund-raisers. For example, the proceeds from Universal Commercial Electric Telegraphic will continue to go to Médecins Sans Frontières.

But there is absolutely no reason for you to engage in a financial transaction with me for any of my other music. The very idea now seems strange.

All my music is now free, since I no longer understand how an economic transaction can possibly relate to artistic expression.

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1 comment:

robin said...

I should add that I am no doubt privileged, in these times, to have a job. But even if I didn't, the trickle of income from my music would not make any difference to my standing in the world. I know this well from my years in the artistic wilderness... much time spent with no dependable income, but with the love and support of friends.

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