Is Music Priceless?

Is Music Priceless?

It’s a good conversation to have, and one that tends to center along some well-worn fault lines running beneath the evolving economic models of today’s music business. It’s also clear that the definition of value is different to different people. It can be some ethereal notion of what music means emotionally, it can be a more market-driven and semantically accurate assessment, or some carefully calibrated combination of the two. But it’s a tall order to answer these questions when the underlying definition of the concept of value differs significantly depending on your perspective.

From our vantage point, music, like the life moments it accompanies, is priceless, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be devalued. The value of music may be the listening experience, but it is also the sum of every step on the path from the creator’s imagination to the listener’s ear.

The countless ways people have to discover and listen to their favorite music today should add value all along that road – to the creators who, like everyone else plying their trade, deserve appropriate compensation for their work, and to the end consumers who have more options for enjoying great music than ever before.

While changing music economics present a challenge, they also offer an opportunity for artists and labels to reach more people than ever before. New platforms enhance the listening experience while also establishing new revenue streams. Ensuring that artists, labels and rights owners are compensated for all the listens on all the various platforms is central to our mission. We have distributed more than $1.5 billion to artists since our inception. That significant figure demonstrates our commitment to ensuring the enormous long-term value of music.

Yes, music is priceless – but that doesn’t mean it should go without a price. To move music forward, as SoundExchange has done for 10 years, we can’t diminish its inherent value.