Donate music?

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Yesterday’s post about freely sharing music and books stirred up a small hornet’s nest. Good, at least we have you thinking about the issues.

One poster asked me privately “ok, but how can musicians get paid for their work if everyone’s sharing?” Good question and I don’t propose to have the perfect solution – but I can give you an example of what could work.

Donate to your favorite authors and musicians.

Imagine for a moment a musician puts her work out into the world for free via the internet. She makes it easy to share and in fact encourages sharing of her music. When you go to download the free music from her site there’s a button that says “Help me make more music by donating” and then you can choose $1, $5 or whatever. Whole sites could be built around this model.

If I found an artist who I really loved, I’d chip in a few bucks to help fund the next release and would ask my friends to do the same. Why not? And if thousands or even millions did the same, that would be an excellent solution. Like what you get? Make sure there’s more later.

Not sure people would respond to this model? They do in droves already.

It’s the NPR model. National Public Radio puts its content on the airwaves for free and without commercials. Those that enjoy it are asked to pay and they do. Last year NPR raked in $178 million in revenue to fund its operation. 5.8% of that came from the government – the lion’s share coming from you and me because we like the content.

Musicians don’t have access to a giant network like NPR? Bull. The internet is the largest network in history connecting all of the civilized world together. The possibilities are endless and are here today, now.

There are literally hundreds of ways to get musicians and authors paid for their work based on their merits to their audiences. It’s a new day.

Encourage sharing of the arts.