This was originally posted as a mini essay on my Facebook music page, but someone on there suggested it’d be helpful to post it here too so it could be shared wider. And I’m happy to oblige
A few thoughts on paying for downloads, that you’re welcome to share around:
That thing where you ‘fund‘ music via Kickstarter/Pledge Music, and pay more so the artist can make a new record without going into debt? Every time you buy music from an independent artist on Bandcamp, you’re doing exactly the same thing. EXACTLY.
Every time someone buys my music, it means I can spend more time making music. I spend less time worrying about how the hell to pay the bills, or how I’m going to afford the train fare to wherever my next collaborator lives. It changes the way I think when booking a tour, cos if I’ve got a little cushion from music sales, I can book more gigs speculatively and not have to make sure that every single gig has a guarantee just so I don’t end up going over my credit card limit in order to play shows…
It’s not that you HAVE to pay – the whole point of doing ‘Pay What You Think It’s Worth’ pricing is that you get to be a grown-up, to decide what you can afford, or the degree to which you want to make it possible for me to spend more time on music. I haven’t done a kickstarter-style project yet because the biggest thing my music requires is time. I don’t want to get bogged down with fulfilling pledge promises instead of making more music.
I may use that mechanism at some point to do CDs or vinyl, though my latest thought there is to do a “record of the month club” where for an annual amount you get a monthly download (and depending on the level you choose to fund it at) a CD boxed set at the end of the year. Feel free to say in the comments if that idea appeals to you… I have far too many music projects on the go at any one time to get stuck in an old-industry-style ‘one album ever 18 months’ routine.
Anyway, til then, you can play catch-up with everything I’ve put out so far – http://music.stevelawson.net/ is where all the albums are. If you want the extra bits as well, the USB stick is available for upwards of £25 with some exclusive live video, and a coupla album things not available anywhere else…
I’ve got 5 more albums finished and ready to go, I just need to make sure that each of them gets a fair crack of the whip and people have a chance to recover in between each one and find some other people’s music… I’m not sure there are many people who want to spend their entire life listening to me. Weird though that may seem
Anyway, as always, a MASSIVE thanks to all of you who regularly decide to pay for whatever it is that I’ve made – a whole lot of love and attention goes into each project. They are a part of me being projected into the world, so I never want that to be something throw-away. If I were to calculate the hourly rate I get back through selling the music, it’d be so far below minimum wage, I’d have to enact a citizens arrest on myself. But that’s not the point. I’m grateful every time someone takes the time to check out the music, to download it, whether or not you end up being able to pay for it. Keep it up xx