Thursday, May 9, 2013

Buying Music... and Supporting Musicians

You don't have to buy music. 

You don't have to purchase entire albums for $17.99 from Best Buy, or $11 from iTunes, or even individual songs for $.99. You don't have to pay for Pandora or Grooveshark Internet radio (and you don't have to complain when you hear ads, which make it possible for you to have free Internet radio). You don't even have to leave a tip on NoiseTrade, if you don't want to (but by the end of this, I hope you will consider it).

No matter what musicians or record labels think, you just don't have to buy music anymore.

And I think music, in and of itself, isn't up for sale. There are families gathered around pianos at Christmas, friends on front porches, and subway musicians in Russia playing music because they love to play and sing and share. Music heals wounds, stirs souls, inspires revolutions and keeps violence at bay. Music is for everyone.

You don't have to buy music; but you should support musicians - especially musicians who are doing more than playing for the family at Christmas, more than sitting on the front porch. Musicians who are spending hours writing songs that you love, practicing for shows that you take video and photos of with your iPhone to post on Facebook, and putting out albums that you play on repeat for hours.

These same musicians work hard and pay their bills and make a lot of phone calls and emails to book gigs and grow gardens to cook food in their kitchen to put on their dinner table. They use their God-given gifts to bring to the world hope and light and goodness and empathy and even a good dose of grumbling (who doesn't need a good song to help them get their frustrations out?)

And to support musicians, you should go to their shows and buy their music, their recorded music. Every show has hours of planning, set-up and rehearsal time. Every album has hours and hours of singing, playing instruments, recording, re-recording, re-re-recording, editing, and paying your musicians. Sometimes we give our music away for free. Sometimes we play free shows. But at some point, we want to know you support us, believe in us, and that if you actually like our music, you'll pay for that music (or leave that tip on Noisetrade) or the show or the t-shirt.

You don't have to buy music... but you probably should.