Why I Left Free Downloads and Decided to Pay

I’ll admit it, growing up I have downloaded music, movies, and TV shows that I didn’t pay for (if the government is charge me for this..I’d like to say “please..go fry bigger fish”). We all know it, Morpheus, Limewire, PirateBay and MegaUpload are but a few ways to get this free entertainment. After I started working, I didn’t have as much free time so I didn’t download as much anymore. Occasionally I would want to watch a movie and I’d download it. Nonetheless, I felt more and more guilty. Then John Oliver showed up to explain my guilt:

In case you haven’t seen it or you don’t want to watch this British man lecture Americans, here is the gist:

[A] big part of the blame for [journalism industry’s] dire straits is on us and our unwillingness to pay for the work journalists produce. We’ve just grown accustomed to getting our news for free and the longer we get something for free the less willing we are to pay for it…

Because of this, I now pay $195.00 every 364 days for New York Times. This comes out to about $0.54 per day (so…two quarters)

But this isn’t just about journalism, this is about music, and movies and all that we hold dear but get for little to no price. A musician I follow on YouTube is Kina Grannis. After going through several labels, she has taken her label to her fans through Patreon (more on this in a bit.)

A colleague of mine and I were discussing movies. He said he will not go to the theaters to watch a movie because that money will only go to the big studios. However, my argument to him was “do you really think the studios will take less money?” The fact is, the studios would take the same amount and just simply rise the price of showing movies. Since each time a movie is shown, the theaters have to pay the studio for distribution which will mostly reflect on tickets or at the concession stands. As a result, pirating hurts fellow movie goers a whole lot more than the studios.

Because of all this, I have gone fully legit.

I pay $9.99 monthly for Google Music. Along with it, I get YouTube Red (no ads)

I use my friend’s Netflix (until about 3 weeks ago when it expired. Anyone want to offer up their account to be shared by me?)

I use my friend’s HBO Go

I use my friend’s Hulu (I really have no idea who’s account I’m using)

But I can get it for free!

I usually tell people this stuff and they commend me for my ideals but say they just want stuff for free. To this, I say “To each their own.” While I do hope people can pay for content, it is also up to the industry to find ways to attract users to pay. Take YouTube content for example. One ways for YouTube celebrities to gain an income is through YouTube’s pay to the creator for the ad sales, but more and more, creators are going onto Patreon.

Patreon — Turning an old business model cool again

Patreon is a service that allows people to be patrons. Patrons will be able to pledge a certain amount of money in which will be paid to the creator either per month or per piece of work published. My first impressions was that it was a crowd-source platform much like Kickstart and Indiegogo, but instead of a lump-sum for the money to come in in small amounts. While many youth are not willing to shell out $10 for music streaming service, they may be inclined to pay $1 per month to a YouTube creator that they watch regularly. In additional to supporting their artists, they are also eligible to get content early or have special deals. I’ve found Patreon a genius idea because they have now repackage the old idea of “subscription” into “patronage.”

Medium — Content based payment

Now that I’m coming onto Medium, I saw that they are struggling to find a business model without compromising their core idea. The newest idea for Medium is to provide membership which will allow users to get high-quality content. This is similar to the styles of YouTube Red and even original series from streaming services (Netflix and Amazon.) I am going to enroll in the Medium membership right after I publish this and we’ll see how this goes.