Posts Tagged ‘free books’

Why give music away free?

May 3, 2012
Why give music away free?

Why give music away free?

Paulo Coelho has rocked the publishing world by making his back catalogue available for download at 99 cents a book.

This was a deal negotiated at the London Book Fair by his agent Monica Antunes with HarperCollins in the USA. Currently it only applies to the US but pressure is being applied by his readers worldwide.

What Paulo Coelho is forcing is a paradigm shift.

The comments in Publishers Weekly give an idea of how controversial. His readers are all in favour. They think it a great idea, they can see that more people will read his books.

Those dependent on the old discredit model just do not get it, as can be seen by comments from a man who admits he is an agent for authors, though he refuses to say who his clients are.

He just does not get it that the old discredited model is finished. A business model that criminalizes those who may wish to buy, not exactly the way to win friends and influence (though lobbyists who whore for them can always buy a few corrupt politicians).

Musicians too have woken up to this new world. They put their music on bandcamp, where it can be listened to for free (the entire album not a few second lofi sample), easily shared and often downloaded for free or pay-what-you-think-it-is-worth or a minimum price. And guess what, people are willing to pay more. People are willing to pay more because they know the money is going to the creative artists who make the music they love, not to a greedy, faceless, global corporation, which at best treats music as a commodity.

One such group is Hope and Social. And guess what? They are making more money, and having more fun, than when they followed the conventional model of being on a corporate record label.

Hope and Social explain why their music is free in a post Why ‘Pay What You Can’? which I reproduce in its entirety below.


We release just about everything we do as Pay What You Can. We make music, you pay us whatever you think it’s worth. The minimum price for downloads is a big fat zero. The minimum price for physical (CD’s etc) is cost of manufacture + post and packing. If you come to see us at a gig we’ll sell you a CD for whatever you want to pay.

Why do we do this?

We believe that the old fashioned record industry model is on it’s last legs. We believe that it’s better to sell direct to fans than via shops. We believe that we now exist in an environment where recorded music is essentially available for free and that environment is totally created by the laziness of the record industry and why fight that? If you want our music you are more than welcome to it. Please… take it, play it, give it to your friends. If you feel that the music we make has value to you then feel free to give us some money. If you do give us some money then you can do so safe in the knowledge that all that money goes to us. It does not go to Apple ot HMV or Sony or some other massive corporation to whom your pounds are such a tiny fraction of their turnover but it all goes to us where it directly allows us to buy the petrol for the next gig or get the next cd pressed or even buy some food or something!

Believe us, we appreciate whatever people give us greatly and we are constantly amazed at how generous people are. In 2009 we made more money giving music away in a year than we have ever made in any of the 10 years previous of selling recorded music for fixed prices in shops, paying for PR and advertising etc… While we are still a league away from making a living wage from this we do believe that is the future for us and for many other bands.

If there’s one thing we would say it’s this. If you love a band find a way to give them money or help or just applause. They will need it and they will appreciate it.


Pirate Coelho/ help your community

April 1, 2011

Pirate Coelho is a site that was hosted somewhere, with a collection of my texts in P2P pages. It was not me who put it there, but being adept of free contents, I put this URL here. I am just facilitating.

Pirate Coelho


A] I the case that you download a book and like it, I would suggest you to buy the book, so we can tell to the industry that sharing contents is not life threatening to the book business.
B] You can do a relevant service to your community. Print and handle FOR FREE to a local library in a small town, to a hospital, to a prison. The intention of Pirate Coelho (as well as my free web books) is first and foremost share thoughts with people who cannot afford buying books.


A) se baixar um livro e gostar da leitura, por favor compre. Isso mostrará às editoras que dividir é multiplicar
B) Use a cópia que imprimiu e faça uma doação para a biblioteca da sua cidade, um hospital, ou uma prisão. A intenção de Pirate Coelho é permitir acesso de meus livros à gente que não tem dinheiro para compra-los.

Obrigado/ Thank you

Paulo Coelho

Posted by Paulo Coelho on his blog.

I was only mentioning today when I bought 50 blank CDs (I would have bought 100 but did not want the weight to carry), that the music industry would equate it with 50 lost sales.

Remember cassettes? The music industry used to say the same about blank cassettes as it says about blank CDs.

I have a one word response to the music industry: Bullshit!

It is the music industry that single-handedly has destroyed music. They have failed to nurture talent. All they are interested in is the next big hit, quick bucks, fast returns then onto the next one-hit wonder.

The so-called musicians, it is actually an insult to real musicians to call them musicians, wannabe celebrities, in it for the money.

If you look at the talent from the 1960s, they are still around. They play music because they love music. Getting paid was a bonus. But they learned their skills the hard way through hard graft. They worked their way through the pubs and clubs, their fame spread through word of mouth

I can find better musicians on the street than what I find promoted by the music industry.

I buy music, I also copy it and pass it around. The stuff gets known.

The assumption by the music industry that copying equates to lost sales is wrong. I may copy something, but it does not mean I was going to buy it. On the other hand, that I have copied it and liked it, means I am more likely to then go out and buy it.

Same is true of books. The search for the next big block buster. A string of me-too Da Vinci Codes. Now every Scandinavian writer is billed as the next Stieg Larsson.

The gentleman publishers are long gone, their names linger as imprints of global corporate businesses.

Well done Paulo making your books available for download. I was especially pleased when following the ban in Iran, you made available download in Farsi.

Iran bans Paulo Coelho
Iran denies banning Paulo Coelho’s books

Last week I bought eight Paulo Coelho books. I cleared the shelves. I cleared the bookshop of its entire stock of Paulo Coelho books. The day before I bought The Alchemist.

All these books I will give away.

Wednesday night at a dinner I gave a woman The Alchemist and By the River Piedra I sat Down and Wept. I had only met her for the first time the previous week, and had said she would like reading books by Paulo Coelho. Little did I know, and only learnt later Wednesday night, that it was her birthday!

Today I met a charming Hungarian girl from Transylvania. I recommended that she read The Historian, but as that may prove too difficult for her, I recommended that she read Paulo Coelho.