I’ve just been to a few of my favourite fiction podcast sites – places like Pseudopod and Podcastle, among others – and donated a few dollars their way. I’m a starving artist, but I love to listen to the things they produce and they pay their authors well. It’s in all of our interests to support them. They all have an option on the site to subscribe (by paying a regular amount every month) or to simply donate once.
When we buy a magazine – in ebook or print – we’re directly helping that publication to stay alive. But so much content online these days is essentially free and relies on the generosity of its fans to keep it going. I read a thing recently that talked about how downloading doesn’t really cost sales. From the article:
The report states that around a third of Swiss citizens over 15 years old download pirated music, movies and games from the Internet. However, these people don’t spend less money as a result because the budgets they reserve for entertainment are fairly constant. This means that downloading is mostly complementary.
On the whole, people can be honest and kind and they do value the things they consume. I’m firmly against DRM and all for open source and Creative Commons. I think it engenders a greater sharing of art and a greater consumption overall. The Swiss study cited above seems to validate that opinion. I know for a fact that I’ve bought music from a band I discovered via downloads. I’ve bought books by authors after borrowing one of their works from a friend too, and that’s exactly the same thing. It’s all about learning that these things exist, discovering that we like them and subsequently paying for those things we enjoy.
With stuff that’s always free, however, like podcasts, it’s not so easy to follow that line of action and end up giving back. So we have to make that little bit of extra effort and find a way to give. Most podcasts, ezines, magazines, publishers and so on have a PayPal option on their site for you to drop a few shekels through and show your appreciation. Tis the season to be loving and generous, so get online and get clicking. Throw some cash around. It only has to be the cost of a few beers and you’ll be making a real difference to your culture and the livelihoods of struggling artists like myself – we need places to sell our work to, and they need cookies to pay us. It’ll make you a better person, I promise.
(Incidentally, Thrillercast has a donate button too. Just, you know, in case you were interested.)