Should Music Cost Money?

Written by Arabella Bradley (@arabella_luisa)

One thing I will never resent paying for is music. I’ve had buyer’s remorse more times than I care to admit when it comes to clothes or expensive makeup, but never with music. Gigs have been a huge part of my life since my early teens; I’d save up my (meagre) Saturday job money to buy tickets or a new album, whether that was via iTunes or a physical copy. We live in an age where everything is so accessible, thanks to the power that is the internet, so we often expect things to be free. The visual arts and the saturation of images online are a good example of this: why pay to go and see the Mona Lisa at the Louvre when you can see it (arguably more clearly) in images on your screen at home?

For me, there’s no contest; to make that pilgrimage and see something in the flesh – having to pay for that experience –  is what makes it an experience. This can be applied to music as well; if I buy an album I can guarantee I will listen to it far more than if I stream it for free because I have paid money for that experience of listening, so I value more. This was the reason why for many years I refused to sign up to Spotify, then Apple Music came along but still I relented. Not because I don’t like listening to music, or free things, but because I don’t feel that the artists get paid enough for the consumption of their music ($.0.007 per play, I believe?). It’s alright if you’re Drake, but it’s not the best deal for those just starting out, surely?

All that being said, I finally caved in and joined Spotify a few weeks ago after much contemplation, much to the joy of all my friends who had laughed at me for being so old fashioned. My decision was mostly down to the fact that I have been so out of the game with new music for many many months, which I am quite ashamed to say for someone who used to be pretty on the ball with it. I think the main appeal of Spotify for me was that it gives you lots of suggestions for similar artists to your favourites, which is lazy – yes (goodbye teenage dreams of working in A&R) – but useful nonetheless to ease yourself back in to finding new bands.

Another reason for joining was because I used to enjoy sharing what I’d been listening to each month on my old music blog, and I feel like this is a more accessible way to do so. If you’re interested you can check out my March playlist, and the work-in-progress that is April too. It’s a mixture of old favourites, new releases from some of my favourite bands and some newer discoveries. There’s definitely a bit of a theme thanks to the nice weather we’ve been having (clue: at least three of the bands have ‘beach’ in their names). Recommendations are of course always welcome, I’m a firm believer that one thing that services such as Spotify will never replicate is the feeling of falling in love with a band that a mate recommended to you (and then listening to said band via your preferred music streaming service).

What are your thoughts on paying for music? Let us know!


Image by @arabella_luisa

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