Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Price of Art

"Do you have any music I can buy ?", I asked. "Ah. Yes. I have some. Come.", he gestured, trying to communicate in the language I chose as a medium, and I followed. "How much is it", I queried. "Err... I don't know. Err... the price is... well the CD costs about 10-15 pounds... so its about 1000 Rs... err or 800 Rs is ok..". I have never bought music for that much but I looked at how much I had and decided to pick up the CD.

I had gone for this free concert of Regis Gizavo. He is a musician from Madagascar who plays the accordion and sings some amazingly soulful music. He couldn't talk in English too well so he spoke in French about each song before he began and someone translated what he wanted to convey. The concert turned out to be pretty amazing and so I decided to buy his CD.

My friend heard the music at home and loved what he heard. So when I told this friend that I had paid 800 bucks for 11 songs he looked at me and said, "I never pay for songs. I get all my music from the net. I like listening to music but I have never paid for music in my life". I looked at him as he continued," You know I can get his songs from the net for free. There are so many places I can download it". And he smiled, feeling proud of the fact that he doesn't pay anything for music. Music that he agreed, calms his nerves and clears his mind when he has the need for it. So I reminded him that this was their only source of livelihood. And to choose music as a profession takes a lots of guts, where you are not sure if you will be able to sustain yourself with the amount that you make. A cousin, Adrian D'souza, decided music was his profession at a very young age. He is doing pretty well but I have always wondered about the thoughts that went through his head before he decided that music was it. You can hear some of his music out here. He used to be compared with Sivamani before he decided that he wanted to explore Jazz and went in that direction.

Well I have downloaded, shared mp3 with friends but when I hear musicians playing live and I enjoy their music, I usually end up buying their CDs. Maybe its just a way of making sure that I hear them again cause they too need to survive. Art needs to be given support from society otherwise young people will not even think of exploring those avenues, even if they have the talent.

Regis Gizavo's albums.
Listen To Samy Olombelo
Listen To Stories
Listen To Mikea


Goli said...

I agree to some extent, I stopped buying books from road side footpaths, and now I buy it only from blossoms, or Crossword.

But to great extent I dont think you can help. I guess economics drives everything.

Alistair D'souza said...

yeah... but in a way we all want what we like to continue... so we do what we can :-)

Reema Banerjee said...

my simple explanation: the guy made music, i liked it, i heard it, i need to pay him for it. therefore i buy music.
only exceptions are, when i know that i like only one song out of an entire album, then i download for free

Alistair D'souza said...

@ reema
yup.... give and take.... it shouldn't just be one way :-)