It was a week ago that I first felt the inevitability of my change of heart, and Sunday the camel’s back broke. I’ve since stopped offering my drumline music for free.
The initial decision to offer my music at no cost wasn’t hastily made. At first, I priced my music between $3 and $10, which is what I thought it was worth, and had a few takers. Then I began split-testing to evaluate the effectiveness of “pay what you want” as well as “pay what you want with some proceeds going to charity”, with no takers. It caused me to reflect upon my audience, which is largely high school drummers, and the fact that they they most certainly don’t have much income to part with. So, given my audience and the state of public school music programs, I decided to be generous and offer the music for free to those who need it.
That was the goal, to help schools and individuals that can’t afford to pay, but if I had to estimate, no more than 30% of those receiving the music were gracious for my efforts; only about 15 sent thank-yous. Now, I wasn’t giving the music away to be popular, or to be liked, but I did hope to be appreciated. When one doesn’t feel appreciated – and especially when one wonders whether generosity is being wasted on those that don’t need it – there’s very little motivation to continue being generous.
For now I’m going back to “name your price”, with the minimum being $1 to cover PayPal costs. I imagine the majority of payments/donations will gravitate toward $1 rather than towards infinity.
How can I make people realize that if they can afford to buy a soda, they can afford to donate $2 for a piece of music that took more than 20 hours to create?