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american qabalah wrote:

> The issue is not whether it's romantic for a society to starve its 
>artists to
> death, it's one of simple business.  You can't make money selling 
> when everyone in your neighborhood is paying their utility bill.  

The reason I'm not convinced by this argument is that it makes the
assumption that *ANY* free download is going to be preferable to *ANY*
for-sale download.  It's like saying, "Why would a person shell out
$17.99 for a new CD when there are plenty of good CDs to be had at the
used store for a fraction of the price?"  

> Now "you* deserve to make lots of cold, hard cash for what you do.  
> me, I know.  You work hard for your money.  So hard for it, honey.  You 
> have to tell me.  

I'm not sure where this nasty sarcasm is coming from, but I am sure it's
not necessary to make your point.

> Now you may be the marketing/business supragenius who revolutionizes the
> charge-per-download MP3 market.  I'm just saying that Free is hard to 
>beat in
> a price war.  

But again, you're making the connection that any particular MP3 for sale
is going to be of equal interest and/or value to any particular free
download, for any particular listener.  Two different pieces of music
are not the same thing, and they're not going to have equal value to any
particular listener. 

Here's an example: after two years of working in record stores I had
accumulated about 200 promo CDs -- those are free CDs that stores get
from labels, which wind up getting passed on to their employees.  Now
some of those promos were music I was excited to get.  Others I grabbed
out of idle curiosity.  Still others were taken as spare jewel boxes or
high-tech vanity mirrors.

But you know what?  Even when I was getting free promo CDs as a record
store employee, I was still buying CDs.  Why would I buy CDs when I can
get plenty of free ones on a regular basis?  Well, maybe I couldn't get
what I wanted for free.  Would you rather have a free MP3 that you don't
like or a purchased MP3 that you do like?  

> No one is more desirable than when they're giving things away. 
> For free.

As opposed to giving things away for a price?
> So anyway, you know what you're up against.  Go for it.  I mean, after 
> it's a free market.