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Why Music Shouldn’t Be Free

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Music is everywhere: in commercials, on the radio, on your CD and even in your mobile device. Honestly, we take it for granted. For the musicians that make it, it’s how they put food on the table.

The music isn’t just about lead singers like Ozzy Osbourne or Robert Plant, but includes the studio musicians and the rest of the band. It is about the songwriters who labor, for years sometimes, just to create a piece of art that can be heard.

Music isn’t, and can’t, be free. Pink Floyd recently took on this cause in the form of an op-ed piece in USA Today. That’s because music service Pandora wants to slash the royalties paid to the songwriters and artists. Again, and sorry Pandora, music isn’t free.

That would be like saying a waitress has to only exist on her base salary of $3.75 and is not given tip money! Those royalties that some groups and Pandora want to slash FEED those musicians and songwriters. Besides tours, that is how they recoup their money. You see, musicians don’t get handed money by record labels; it’s borrowed.

And if you are thinking about all the money the Rolling Stones are making on their tour as being the norm, it isn’t. Most groups don’t get that big. They also have more tour expenses. that’s because the Stones already own much of their equipment where most bands lease it.

Then there are the songwriters that only write and don’t tour. Those royalties are the bulk of their pay. They have no label or tour to pad the pocketbook.

The music business may look glamorous and full of money, but songwriters and artists aren’t on the receiving end a lot of the time. So, next time you listen to a song, think about the people that write and make it. They deserve to be compensated for the joy their music brings to our lives.

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