The title of one of CTW's first posts, "Free Music is Rubbish, isn't it?" summarised the general public's position regarding music that is given away free of charge. If the music is given away for nothing, ipso facto it must be worthless and therefore not worth downloading. Why else would millions of people prefer to copy and transfer thousands of pirated commercial mp3s on bit-torrents? Even though the music they receive illegally is now free, it was once worth something - so it must still be worth listening to, even though it is now, erm, free. We have arrived at a situation where all songs are free but some songs are more free than others.
*CTW explodes in a mish-mash of pretentious paraphrasing and poor grammar*
Similarly, how are musicians expected to earn a living if these amateurish Creative Commons bozoes are going to barge in with their free albums and entice tone-deaf customers away from them? Isn't free music going to destroy the music industry?
Well, no, not if you're talented, famous and slap a Creative Commons licence on your album.
According to Creative Commons.org, the top-selling album at Amazon's mp3 store in 2008 was Ghosts I-IV by Nine Inch Nails. Ghosts I (nine high-fidelity and DRM-free tracks plus a PDF full of gorgeous photos) is available completely free of charge from NIN's website, but millions of people chose to pay for it and II-IV, either as a show of solidarity, as a gesture of gratitude or simply because Amazon made it convenient for fans to splash the cash. Should those lovely, generous people care to investigate further, they'll find that the entire opus, Ghosts I-IV, is also available from the capacious archive.org for precisely no money whatsoever.
I'm not denying that Trent Reznor's fame gives him a huge advantage over the common-or-garden CC artist. But kudos to NIN for releasing the album in such a fashion and delivering a roundhouse kick to the smug features of the ghoulish credit crunch. If only they could do the same to the greedy and idiotic bankers and politicians responsible for the mess.
If you'd like to pick up another free album that reminds you of Nine Inch Nails, you could always try the completely free, new, and CC-licensed album The Slip, from the world's most accurate tribute band, Nine Inch Nails. Yes, they're at it again.
Goths, grungies and emos: ho!
One last thought: what would you rather have "CC" stand for?