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Human beings are so weird right? If you hear or see or take part in something beautiful, wouldn't you stop to enjoy it? Crazy how if we spend money on it, we are more apt to pay attention. crazy how the environment we are in dictates if we pay attention.
I've been actually wondering this for awhile now. it's hard to get one person to clap at a bar. does this mean i suck? Maybe, but i think this is because the people are not there to listen at all. i am actually stepping into their time of eating and drinking and conversation, and possibly interuppting it.
i sometimes think that if a really famous person was doing exactly what i was doing with the equipment i had and the places i play, that no one would notice either. if no one announced that neil young or bono and the edge would be coming in to play music tonight. and they didn't have lights and a stage and fancy equipment, my guess is that one or two people would notice, but not really care.
Now, if neil young played a show the next night at red rocks and announced it and charged people 87.50 for tickets. it would sell out and most everyone would pay attention. he could even play the exact same set as the night at the bar where no one listened, an people may say it was the greatest set he's ever played. newspapers and blogs would go as far as to critique it. Crazy right?
why are we this way? i think it's value. when you pay for something, you want something in return. at a concert, that return is the experience. you are willing to take part because you put down hard earned money and want to enjoy it. if you are eating in a restaurant and didn't know live music was going to be there, and the band came in and setup while you were eating. unless it was the type of music you enjoyed, you'd probably leave.
think about a free football game. we all know how expensive football tickets are. we want a good game in return for what we paid, or our money feels wasted. now think about someone inviting you to a free football game. it wouldn't be at mile high. it would be in a park with makeshift bleachers. the field would be over run with weeds and tall grass and the goal posts were the old highschool kind with the soccer goal on the bottom. the audience wouldn't know any of the players personally. the jerseys would have numbers, but no names and no fancy colors. just plain white vs plain blue.
how inclined would you be to watch these players every move? to really care what the outcome of the game was? to discuss strategy with your friends and listen to experts discuss it on the radio. you wouldn't! you would try as best you could to stay interested and not fall asleep. you would get up and walk around the park and enjoy the weather if it was nice. if it wasn't nice, you probably wouldn't go at all. you wouldn't dress up in all your warm clothes and bring whiskey and hot cocoa. you would stay at home.
now what if someone told you afterwords that those players were the probowl picks from the nfl. this was an experiment that the nfl was doing. wouldn't you be upset? wouldn't you have called all your friends and family to come and see this game? wouldn't you have paid more attention and maybe even tried to meet the players after the game.
strange right? I think we value what we are told to value for the most part. it's hard to value something that's free. not a gift, a gift is still valued because it cost someone else. for instance, free music. people have more music on their computers, iphones, ipods, clouds etc... than ever before in history. and yet, the music industry is tanking. we've decided that music isn't worth paying for anymore. how many people really treasure the music they listen to? can you treasure something that is readily available at your fingertips for free. i don't think so. try buying a cd vs. downloading a free album. i gaurantee you will listen to that cd more than the 1000 songs you downloaded for free. why? Because you paid for it and there is only one for you.
i am not going to say that everyone should stop listening to music for free. i'm not going to tell anyone what to value. only to think about what you do value and why. also, To take time to find value in something that you may not have. like the violin player on the subway. or the guy outside coors field playing the clarinet after every game. sometimes these people don't want money, they just want to share something with you. and money is always nice.