Paid In Full: the Internet, artists and money

Leading on from my last post, I recognise that as much as the Internet is opening up horizons and introducing artists to new audiences they wouldn’t have acquired otherwise, the issue of making sure artists get paid for their output is still there.

Spotify is an incredible service, and while I’m currently on the free, ad-supported version, I would gladly pay for it if my financial situation was better. There have been recent criticisms of the amounts it pays to songwriters, but there are many who see it as opportunity rather than a problem. For my part, I’ve bought tons of albums off Amazon and at my friendly local record store, thanks to hearing them on Spotify.

There’s another layer, though – artists that you may hear through MP3s posted on their blogs or MySpace pages, or shared through Tumblr sites, or through free downloadable mixtapes. I’d love to be able to pay even a token sum for this wonderful free entertainment. But Paypal is unwieldy, and a lot of smaller artists won’t have access to large-scale distribution channels like iTunes or Amazon’s MP3 store. Micropayments have been progressing in the last few years – there are a few promising options available. I don’t know how effective they can or will be, but I think it’s important for people to be able to earn money from the art they create. It’s a brave new world, but some things stay the same:

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