Should Music be Free?

We live in a digital age where music is easily accessible, which is a great thing.
We also live in a digital age where it is socially accepted to steal music.
It makes sense to pay a buck for a cup of pre-fab coffee, but not for a piece of music.

Why?

Behind a piece of music is expertise, investment, skill and professionalism.
You wouldn't ask a contractor to build your house for free, just because he 'likes his job', would you?

Example.
If everyone who contributes to this discussion were to buy my album (let me stress - this is by no means a request to do so!!!), I would have enough money to buy groceries this month. The royalties we earned on selling our music made it possible to buy our house.

Who benefits from free music?

I'm curious, from the point of view of the 'starving musician', what your thoughts are!

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No. people worked for it, they deserve to make money. We live in an age where creativity and art aren't appreciated anymore. Creativeness should be praised.

Nope. Not unless everything else forever is free too.

I was pondering this question just today.
Logically I would say no. Absolutely not. Music is art and often takes the kind of time and dedication that people who make it usually don't have time to support themselves any other way than money made form their music.
The problem this poses is it turns music into a business which sort of takes some of the soul out of the art form. Additionally it creates an entirely new kind of music, music made to make money. Usually in the form of unoriginal and uniform pop music that is being distributed as if music were a business which makes it very unfortunately effective at becoming popular. Not all pop music is bad, but it's becoming less of an art and more of a product.
Nevertheless, both sides seem to have pros and cons. Ultimately I think it's best for everyone if music were to continue not being free, although, it's not feasible to imagine a world were all music is free anyway.

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