The Tale of the Sad Gen-X-er

Philip HarrisChatter, Music0 Comments

Amanda Palmer‘s fantastic Kickstartered album, Theatre is Evil, came out last week and as with most of Amanda’s music you can ‘pay what you want’ for it on her website – and what you want can be $0.

It’s an approach she’s taken pretty consistently since breaking up with her label and it seems to serve her well. The theory is that it’s more important to get long term fans than short term profits, those fans will pay back your investment in them tenfold at a later date. It’s an admirable policy if you can afford it and given the success of her Kickstarter project (with over $1.1 million raised) it seems to be working but I was reading through Amanda’s Tumblr site a few days ago and came across a post that, frankly, made me sad.

You can read the whole thing here (look for the first comment from Thom Martin) but here are the relevant bits.

“…it’s about perceived value. I have TBs of music. Mostly “free”. I’ve bought music online because I exhausted every way to try to download it free…Make me, the typical Gen-X-er give you money after the music is already out by sending me something useful like a AFP wine-opener with USB flash-memory containing the songs in FLAC, labeled properly and a poster and I’ll start paying $10+ for albums again.”

Ignoring the legalities of “free” music, the idea that music itself, with all the talent, creativity and raw effort that goes into it has no perceived value but a USB wine-opener does is horrifying to me. Again, it’s this idea that the delivery method of a piece of art somehow affects its value. It’s an attitude that’s becoming more and more prevalent and as someone who grew up paying for their books, music, movies and videogames (the horror!), I find it extremely depressing that so many people are unable to make the connection between paying the people creating art and the existence of that art in the first place. If that’s the attitude of a “typical” Gen-X-er I need to find a way to change my birth date.

[Philip Harris]

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