It is a very valid point that artists should be putting their music out their for people to download for free–because ultimately, yes they (the artists/musicians) are still benefiting, from their fans and the publicity it brings them. They will still have that $57, and definitely will not miss the $4.50.
Something that we do see as a result of free music availability, and something that is growing in popularity, is the artist looking for a second stream of income in alternatives to album sales, the result is world tours, merchandise, clothing lines, and deals with big companies to be spokespersons. This is where a majority of the $57 comes from. The goal of the bands and individual artists are no longer to be just “that”; they are a brand, an image, and an icon that they hope to market outside of their music. They become a “megastar”, more than just an artist. Big artists are especially targeting the 18-29 year olds group due to the fact they view a wide range of copying practices as “reasonable.”
Another result to be noted by the increase of “shared” or “copied” music is a new wave of artists described by musician Amanda Palmer as being more trusting to their supporters. In Amanda Palmer’s Ted Talk, she describes the dignity of giving and of asking when it comes to music.
Being a smaller artist, Palmer does not have the luxury cushion of big sold out tours to rely on for a second stream of income over album sales. So instead she proposes and encourages what others call “illegal downloads” of her music, but in return asks for the support of her listeners. “I think people have been obsessed with the wrong question, which is, ‘How do we make people pay for music?’ What if we started asking, ‘How do we let people pay for music?’”
This “utopic” idea that Palmer proposes can change the music industry. Music can be put out there for everyone to experience and the artist can still be successful. Although she takes a different approach than above mentioned “megastars” they both ultimately are driving to get their music out there for everyone to experience, which is really what the music industry is headed towards.