Ok, so first things first, the bible doesn’t say money is evil, it says the love of money is the root of evil.
Personally, I think money is really the biggest evil in my life! Without it I can’t pay my bills, stay warm, eat to stay healthy in order to work, or buy petrol in order to get to work… in order to earn more money. I used to think that was all there was to life: an endless cycle of work to live, live to work to live. No wonder I was depressed!
Anyway, serious question, should I charge for my music? First off, no one can say “No because your music is rubbish and no one would pay for it!” (At least at time of writing, no one could say that because few people have heard it, so I’m not really expecting anyone to answer in that way). Besides, my question is not “would anyone buy my music?” It is “should I charge for it?”
Why wouldn’t I?
Firstly, music is a passion. I feel totally at peace when I’m playing; totally alive, and I love it. I’ve heard it said that ‘strange things happen when you turn a passion into a profession’. I’ve found that to be true. I love teaching, and when I wasn’t teaching for a living, I felt energised and full of life after teaching in children’s church. Now I’m back teaching for a living, I still think it’s the best job I’ve ever done (although if you’re reading this and considering teaching in the UK, DON’T!) but I no longer have a passion for it. I don’t want to ruin my love of music by trying to turn it into a career. I did the same with a craft hobby I had. Soon after turning it into a business it became more of a pain than a passion.
Secondly, I have begun to see my music as a ministry, serving my God and other people. Because of this, (and it’s not an ownership issue, I’ve pretty much sorted that out in my head) I’m not sure I feel great about charging for it. If my lyrics are aimed at helping normal, hurting people to find peace and comfort, is it right to charge? I would hate to think someone didn’t hear the song they were meant to hear because they couldn’t afford it.
Thirdly, pricing has always been an issue for me. If you put a proper price on art, no one would be able to afford it! I feel rubbish about charging for my art!
Why would I?
Everyone else does! Christian artists, singers and songwriters regularly charge for their music and art.
If this is a calling from God that I’m supposed to pursue then I’m going to have to give up some of my regular work as a teacher to make time for it. If that’s the case (and I’m not saying it is), then at some point I’m going to have to supplement my income somehow.
Many people who work for the church for a significant amount of time (and many people who work for God in the same capacity – there’s not necessarily a distinction there, but there could be!) charge or get paid for their work. In 1 Corinthians, Paul points out that God made sure that there was provision for the priests, and that it was ‘his right’ to make a living from the Gospel.
So I’ve decided, I think (!) to charge for my time and travel costs should I get any bookings. (If you’re from a church in the U.K. and would be interested, contact me! (That link is for when I have recordings to upload! Although I’m not averse to public speaking- I have a testimony and a story!)
I think I will also go for a kind of ‘honesty box’ approach to CDs. (Quaint, maybe, but it works for selling eggs in these parts!)
I’ve also found (thanks to a like from ‘things and flesh ‘) a website called band camp (or something like) that will let people listen, or pay what they like, or what they can afford.
Like I said, no one can say right now “don’t charge, you’re rubbish”! But I would welcome any input into charging, not charging (particularly from Christians who do or don’t charge for their ‘ministry’ or how to prevent your passion from becoming your pain when it becomes your profession. (Wow, that sounded like Joey Rozek!)