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