Getting your money’s worth.

How much is a good song worth to you? Do you believe music is property that should be bought and sold, or do you believe it belongs in the public domain? How do you keep people making music if music is free?

I’ve heard several arguments both for and against Apple’s new music download service. For me, it’s a simple moral question. Music is someone’s craft. Like any other craft, some people do it for their own sake, with their own time, for their own benefit. Some share it with others, and some charge you a fee so they can do it full time. A select few do it well enough to make an awful lot of money. As a consumer, I have objected to record companies insistence to extort money from me – in the way of forcing me to buy an entire album of songs I don’t want, in order to own the one I do want. For that reason, I haven’t bought music in years. I haven’t stolen very much music either, so mostly I’ve made do with my college collection of CDs. Suddenly, a music service comes along to allow me to purchase the music I want, without needing to pay for music I don’t want. I pay for it because I don’t want to steal. I pay for it because someone has finally decided to sell me want I want. I haven’t spent much, but it’s more than I have in years, and there’s more where that came from. I really hope that there are more out there like me. Not just because I want the service to succeed (and therefore stick around to take more of my money), but because I think paying for music is the right thing to do and I hope most people are above petty theft.

Please give me some reason to be optimistic about the human condition.