Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The "Free" Jury

Lately there has been a lot of debate about the economic concept of "Free", especially when it comes to music. Has "Free" ever worked? Yes, in certain instances. A free food sample at Costco might make you purchase a larger quantity to take home. In the area of music, a free MP3 might make you more interested in buying a ticket to a band's concert.

I'm not, however, as convinced as some that "Free" is ultimately beneficial for all of the creative arts. Time may prove that it is, but at this point I don't see the empirical evidence. Yes, there is much more music out there, but the quality across that mass isn't anything to praise. True, there is more video available on YouTube than all of the footage network television produced since its inception, but again... quality?

The expanding access that is part and parcel of today's internet is a wonderful thing. No doubt it will allow artists who never had a shot before, gain some level of notoriety. The question is, will they have to drive a cab their entire lives to pay for it. I think the jury is still out on that one.

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