Why Your Music is Great Art and Should Not Be Free

Mighty City's approach is fully supportive of the artist--creatively, emotionally, philosophically. We recognize that its the musicians that bring light into a dark world and without the artists--the world stops functioning in a meaningful way.

That said--while art for art sake is great, behind bands and their music is a business that has to function as a business for it (the band) to survive--and one doesn't have a business unless they have paying customers and can make a profit.

People pay money for goods and services they perceive to be valuable all the time, and people can and often will pay big money for art if it moves them. Painters spend hours and hours painting, sculptors or metalworkers or photographers spend hours and hours honing their craft and getting it just right--then sell their works in an exhibit or showing or through some other forum--often at large sums. Wow $2,000 for that painting? Really? Next guy walks in and it reminds him of some warm place from his childhood. Boom $2,000 it is no questions asked. Mass appeal no, artistic appeal to an emotionally moved buyer of art--yes.

So why then do musicians--who similarly spend hours and hours (not to mention money) composing, creating, recording, their art feel compelled to give so much away? Why is something of such great value often discounted to the lowest denominator?  Presumably to commoditize it and "get your music to the masses?"

The masses go into a store or through a free app for music--then either never buys the record or goes online and buys it for as little as possible. Almost free. But almost free does not make a business, and there are not enough live shows or merchandise or 7 cent per play paychecks from an app for most bands to make a living (i.e.- to make a band a viable and profitable business) on the appealing to the masses revenue model alone.

Music is no different than painting. People who are moved emotionally are willing to pay big money for the experience of something unique--so its important to keep it unique. That special album only available to the fans at certain shows or via your website? Yes. Certainly much different  and more special than that emotionally deadening experience of online e-tailers, virtual shopping carts, auto-generated email, and eye-squinting screenshots of album artwork.

Mighty City was in a coffee shop in Gainesville Florida not long ago and stuck on the bathroom paper towel dispenser was a sticker for a label that had 1000s of downloads from all kinds of artists--all free. Ska, reggae, hard core, punk, experimental, noise pop, etc., etc. The fan in us says awesome, the management company in us says why do the artists do this?

Instead. Be a painter. Be a sculptor. Charge for your art. Be different and blow up the revenue model. Chasing volume at free or near free is a failed strategy versus chasing premium at higher exclusivity within highly supportive niches/fan followings.

The point? Mighty City believes in art, believes in the experience (especially the fan experience), and believes in great music getting out into the world as far and wide as possible. We don't however believe this should be done for free--nor should you as the artist.

Your contributions have value, and like all who labor under hard conditions you deserve to be paid for your work--and will be--if you approach your music business (i.e.- your band) with that mindset.

Work with us and we will show you how. 314.326.5417 or doug@mightycitymusic.com