So let’s go back and look at what it would have cost you to ethically and legally support the artists.
And I’m gonna give you a break. I’m not gonna even factor in the record company share. Let’s just pretend for your sake the record company isnt simply the artists imprint and all record labels are evil and don’t deserve any money. Let’s just make the calculation based on exactly what the artist should make. First, the mechanical royalty to the songwriters. This is generally the artist. The royalty that is supposed to be paid by law is 9.1 cents a song for every download or copy. So that is $1,001 for all 11,000 of your songs. Now let’s suppose the artist has an average 15% royalty rate. This is calculated at wholesale value. Trust me, but this comes to 10.35 cents a song or $1,138.50. So to ethically and morally “get right” with the artists you would need to pay $2,139.50.
As a college student I’m sure this seems like a staggering sum of money. And in a way, it is. At least until you consider that you probably accumulated all these songs over a period of 10 years (5th grade). So that’s $17.82 dollars a month. Considering you are in your prime music buying years, you admit your life is “music centric” and you are a DJ, that $18 dollars a month sounds like a bargain. Certainly much much less than what I spent each month on music during the 4 years I was a college radio DJ.
Let’s look at other things you (or your parents) might pay for each month and compare.
Smart phone with data plan: $40-100 a month.
High speed internet access: $30-60 dollars a month. Wait, but you use the university network? Well, buried in your student fees or tuition you are being charged a fee on the upper end of that scale.
Tuition at American University, Washington DC (excluding fees, room and board and books): $2,086 a month.
Car insurance or Metro card? $100 a month?
Or simply look at the value of the web appliances you use to enjoy music:
$2,139.50 = 1 smart phone + 1 full size ipod + 1 macbook.
Why do you pay real money for this other stuff but not music?”
One of many responses to our intern’s essay.
Very good points made here.
Jeremy Denk, on Ligeti’s instructions to play eight fortes in Automne a Varsovie. (via nprfreshair)
You know this is exactly what Ligeti meant.