You’ve probably come across this video of Joshua Bell busking in the Washington subway during rush hour.
To me, this video and article shows several things: first of all, people just don’t recognize greatness even if it is in front of them in the size of a mountain. But second, and this I find even more important, here is a chance to enjoy something for free, no strings attached at a level of performance that is unrivaled in the world. And yet, no one stops to listen.
Here’s my thought: what about all those people claiming that every artist should put out his/her work for free as it helps to get exposure and exposure and reaching people is what matters? It seems to me that if something is free, won’t even stop to take a closer look. So free seems to equate “not interesting enough to check out”.
Now on the other hand, if there is something with a value attached to it, suddenly the argument is: no, no, no, no, I can’t possibly be expected to pay for something. I’ll just grab it from my friend and be done with it. Does anyone else see the terribly destructive hypocrisy in this?
So please, all you people out there who claim to wanting to help creators by forcing them to just give away their work for free: think again. And for yourself this time without the “screaming free industry” (I’m looking at you, Lawrence Lessig) yelling in your ear about how modern that attitude supposedly is.