Thursday

Free - a critique of a book i've not read

so i felt really out of touch, with the slew of free albums out last year, to be charging for bruised pilgrim. i honestly wouldn't have minded giving it away, paying for the pressing out of my own goodwill and effort and lobbing it out to people who i thought would probably appreciate it. which to be fair, is pretty much what i've been doing with most of my copies anyway.

but i think mr. wired longtail is wrong about his 'free' conjecture. and here's why:

there's only two ways to support the 'free' hypothesis (i changed my mind, it's not a conjecture anymore); either by promise of money in the future, or by ad revenue.

in terms of promise of money in the future, imagine every band gave their albums away for free until they were popular enough to sell their music. anytime that a band got to that point, not enough people would buy the paid-for album - they'd switch away in droves to all the music that was still free, or just pirate the paid-for albums, since they were so used to free music.

in terms of ad revenues - come on. maybe on the internet, but a) i can't see band websites having banner ads that cover the cost of hosting, let alone recording and promoting music, and b) where's all this money going to come from? who are these adverts for? at some point, somewhere along the line, someone must be transacting some money, so this point regresses into an infinite loop.

maybe if the people who are selling their wares spend all their profit on advertising through the people who are giving stuff away for free... ah this is just stupid. you either do it for free, or you don't. the free economy is a con.
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