Chris Anderson

Earlier this week I saw Chris “The Long Tail” Anderson speak about his new book, Free, which you can also get for free.

As a musician, I’m of course very interested in the role of “free.” Music can be had for free, I give away music for free, much of the software I use is free, etc. In the ten years since Napster, has anything changed?

Nope! Bertrand and Moore are still destroying everything, yay!

The talk was pretty fascinating and Anderson is an entertaining speaker. The key takeaway for me as an artist is that once price hits zero, it’s pretty much all psychology from there. As if selling music wasn’t a giant head-fake already. Also, the secondary argument of whether music — or anything digital, really — should be free is totally moot these days, and belongs in angry comment threads where musicians who spend $20K on their recordings shout at the musicians giving away basement-recorded MP3s.

Other than that, I don’t have much to offer in the way of analysis. If anything, Anderson’s talk confirmed my opinion that the best thing any up-and-coming artist could do with their music is give it away.

(Photo via / CC BY 2.0)
July 16, 2009