Thus far the standard business model for getting music to people is to make it and charge for it, because hey, musicians meed to eat too, eh?
Making a cd costs money. Sometimes a lot of money. If a musician wants to make a living from his or her music, they need to sell a lot of cds, or if all the cd money goes to the label (which it typically does) they need to run some pretty successful concerts.
A by-product of this is that buying music can often cost a fair amount. This can often keep that music out of the heads of people who can’t afford it.
I don’t have a huge problem with this until we start talking about music that is intended to communication the message of the Gospel to people. Why would we ever want to limit the number of people that message can reach?
On the other hand, someone has to pay for that music to be created properly and sent out.
But what if a person or group of people paid for the music before it was created? It used to happen all the time, it was called patronage. It still happens in other arenas, missionaries have been doing it for hundreds of years.
This is why I love what my friend Rick is doing. He’s a good musician, has two albums out already with moderate success, some local airplay, etc. Now he wants to make another one, and he wants it to be available to everyone for free. How can this be done?
If you release the music in digital form then the only real costs are the production and server and bandwidth. Rick estimated that it will cost about $5000 to create his next album, but he doesn’t have that. Who does? God, and he stores it in the pockets of His people.
Rick set up a project at Kickstarter, a web site that lets people raise seed money for any given project. He’s looking for people to come together and raise $5000 so he can pay the people who have previously volunteered their time on other projects.
I think what Rick is doing has an importance independent of his music. I think the Gospel could be spread much further if it weren’t encumbered by the need for money to change hands before you can hear it. Every time I think about that I think of Jesus in the temple with a whip.
So I’d like to ask you to support Rick’s album venture, even if you’re not necessarily a fan of his music. I think this model is important and valuable, and I think the spreading of the Gospel is important.