16 reasons (plus a few others) to say, “Screw the culture of free.”

Recently, I posted about how I was going to give in to the culture of free (my term for today’s music landscape in which which people believe music should not cost a dime) and not charge people to download my songs. But comments from readers, plus a few emails, started to change my mind. A commenter named Bret put it especially succinctly when he wrote:

“If you allow free downloads now, it'll be tough to change your mind and sell it later. If you sell it now, it's easy to have free downloads later if you change your mind. If you have any doubt, sell it now.”

Dave Tutin also weighed in with a great thought, why buy what you already have for free?” plus a much more detailed argument via email.

But most important, my decision, made only hours ago, to say screw the culture of free came down to sixteen reasons. Wait, not reasons, 15 people and one place, and they are pictured above. They are (left to right):

Row 1) Hyde Street Studio C, Andy Korn, Toby Germano, Josh Fix
Row 2) Jaime Durr, Sam Bevan, MIke Northcutt, Elliot Randall
Row 3) Scott Seiver, Tim Young, Eryn Young, RodDammit
Row 4) Larkin Gayl, Dave Brogan, Jeff Tuttle, Heather Combs

I’ll write more about Hyde Street and each one of these musicians in later posts but suffice it to say I could not have made near the album I think I’ve made without these people and the mojo of Hyde Street, and I’ll be goddamned if I’m going to assign a value of zero to the result of all this.

And so, screw the culture of free. And to hell with having more people hear my music, which I figured would be the case if I did not charge for it. I would rather have fewer listeners who really like the music than more (a big a assumption, by the way) who just grab it because they can.