I know I stated this in the past, but I thought I’ll repeat here.
The way I see it is that bands in the future will need to perform to earn money. Digital recordings will just become promotional material, just like radio advertisers don’t charge people to listen to their ads!
A little more in-depth and how it compares with let’s say a beer bottle cooler:
[li]A band creates a song and makings a recording of it, just like how a company designs a beer cooler to fit common bottle sizes and gets it ready for mass production.
[/li][li]The band advertises their work by posting their music online for free download and using Facebook, Twitter, Radio, etc. to announce it. For that beer cooler company company, they put out an ad on the radio, Facebook, etc. to announce it, e.g. that it cools your beer ice cold in 5 minutes.
[/li][li]People download the music and share it with their friends, which if a good song will get the band well-known. For that beer cooler company, potential customers hear their ad, head to the store to check out that gadget and tell their friends all about it.
[/li][li]As interest grows, the band will be requested to play in venues, at weddings, etc. i.e. their songs finally start paying off. As with the beer cooler, the customer loves the in-store demo, buys it and when their friends come around, they all want one of them also!
[/li][li]If the band gets popular enough, they’ll go on to perform concerts and earn even more income. Again, for the beer cooler company, bigger chains will want to stock it and place mass orders.
[/li][li]The band has the option of releasing their music on CD, selling T-shirts, etc. Yes, there are still collectors out there, just like how stamp collectors will not give up their stamp collection for digital images! Well, maybe not quite the same for cooler products though.
In my opinion, charging to download a song is the same as a company charging to listen to its radio commercial. It may make sense for a “Free Ads Paper”, but I think it should be history as far as music goes.
A plumber doesn’t earn a royalty every time one of their customers turns on a tap!