Remember When Music Was Expensive?

In a recent post, a student of mine stated that music nowadays is expensive; therefore, it’s okay to download the illegal stuff.

I quickly corrected him, telling him that music is not expensive. In fact, music is cheap. Here’s proof.

I started with that dreaded phrase that all youth hate to hear: when I was your age. (But it’s true.) When I was their age, I, too, collected music, but I did so on ’45s (It’s those small black record disc thingys for you young people). If there was a hit song on the radio that I wanted such as Bob Seger, 38 Special, The Police, ELO, or even Eddie Rabbit’s “I love a rainy night”, I smacked down my very hard to get earnings or allowance and paid the $1.09 or $1.19 it required to get my song. Of course I also got a free “B” side at the same time which had a stupid song that nobody liked. I couldn’t afford LPs during my high school days, but I did start to buy cassette tapes my senior year in high school. Remember joining Columbia House to get those twelve cassettes for 1 cent and then buy 5 more for exorbitant prices?

Anyways, then CDs started hitting the racks. Once I got my first CD player I was in the market for the latest and greatest invention there ever was. My first CD ever was Phil Keaggy’s amazing “Sunday’s Child” from 1987. I bought it for $18. EIGHTEEN DOLLARS! ¬†That wasn’t the only CD I ever bought for that price. I would hit the stores for bargain prices and every once in a while I’d find one for $12 – quite the steal! That’s why for about a 10 year period, I probably cancelled Columbia House and re-signed up about five times because music was so expensive!

Fast forward between 20+ years and what has happened to the pricing structure of music? It has dropped significantly because the advent of the MP3. Now I am a bargain music buyer. I usually buy all my albums off of Amazon a few months after they are released for $5. Occasionally, I’ll splurge for the $7.99 or $8.99 album which sometimes have as many as 15 or more songs. If there is the occasional band or artist that I really like (there aren’t many) I’ll buy it upon release, regardless of the price. Gulp! Sometimes it’s $9.99 or $10.99!

To re-cap, individual songs are cheaper in 2014 than they were in 1984. Albums are anywhere from 200% to 33% cheaper in 2014 than they were in 1994.

Music is not expensive. Music is reasonably priced, meaning that there is no good way to justify going around the law to download music which gives no credit or compensation to the artist.

Let’s make it a habit to support the artists that we enjoy by giving them a little love – and a little money.

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