Shouldn’t You Pay For Music?

enjoyingmusic1You know you couldn’t do without music. Whatever your taste, we all bear this God-assigned appetite for a sweet song, a moving beat, poetic and inspiring words set to stirring audio. You call it music, and like every other thing we enjoy from other humans (really, God is the source of music, but you don’t see him producing it!) someone pays the price required to make it available. My TodayQuestion is: Shouldn’t you pay for the music you so love to enjoy?

An artist stirs up his talent, spends most of his lifetime honing his musical skills while others opt for ‘more important’ things. He eventually gathers up a bunch of songs, and against all odds – as dictated by our particular African clime – squeezes into some studio to get his recordings done. Maybe he borrows a bit. Maybe a friend, an uncle, a parent or some other entity assists a bit. Maybe his producer or the studio owner gets swayed by his optimism and enthusiasm and waives something for him. Or maybe he’s one of the few who just happen to ‘have money’. But the album is ready now; the songs are available on Gospeleon or in some other store, and all you are interested in is a free download? You go combing the internet for free songs to download, and even when you encounter a physical copy of a fellow’s music, you insist it’s too expensive at about the price of a can of Coke! Is this perhaps an African thing – this tendency to disparage musical art and view recordings as no more precious than a moment’s culinary gratification? How else could one in a few words explain why what would sell out there for 10 Dollars seems too expensive here at 150 Naira? It’s amazing how much my African people love ‘Free’!

Next time you catch yourself ‘pricing’ a music CD for 100 Naira, please remember that elsewhere (where they seem to have better appreciation of precious art) that CD would sell for up to 10 Dollars. If you don’t think the music is as good as the ones they sell abroad at $10, why don’t you leave our poor productions alone, walk away and go for those much better foreign productions? You can’t pay 500 Naira for your brother’s album, yet you grumble that his sound is not as good that of your favorite American artist whose albums sell for 10 Dollars! Bad bele! Such great sound comes from well paid producers and sound engineers working with high-end studio equipment, and with such ‘free’-loving fans as most of us around here prove to be, how could your brother/sister afford those?

But let’s start somewhere: Pay for some music today. Go into a shop and buy an album. Much better still, get online, purchase and download someone’s music. Give them a reason to want to work harder, to improve and become better.