The Cost of Free Art

The Cost of Free Art

Should art be free? Should you pay for the news or let them use ads on their site? How much for cup of coffee is reasonable?

It may not appear this way at first but these questions are about the very same, essential topic. Where is the balance between paid and free?

In the pre-internet age you had to pay for everything. You would buy tickets to plays and movies, you would pay for cable TV, you would pay for newspaper subscriptions. Which is not a perfect model when you compare it to today when most of the things you want may be gotten for free.

However, this is not ideal as well because free isn’t free. You may think that downloading torrent movies, listening to music via free Spotify service or getting bonus rounds at a casino doesn’t cost anything. You pay with your privacy, you pay by watching ads and by essentially being a test bunny for all those giant corporations when they are learning how to target customers better.

Everything is paid for. When you think about it, nothing changed since the dawn of the internet. But I bet it will. Every company in the world has only one way to survive. That’s, as you probably already have guessed it right, to make money. But when and how much you will pay for it is a matter of question.

But when it comes to art, it is a completely different picture.


Is Theater moving online

Theater and dance has always been different from most other types of entertainment because it’s live, up close and intimate. There are no second takes. There are no crowd-evoked euphoria. It’s all quiet. It is all personal. Which sort of makes plays an ideal candidate to move online.

Should they?

I’ll confess. I saw Hamilton by watching a pirated copy online. I only did it because there was no other way I could ever watch it. But I also felt horrible. For some reason I take not paying for the news as a normal thing but I would have gladly paid for watching a play.

So, my question is, should plays move online? Modern technologies make it easy nowadays to stream, or they could record plays and release downloadable versions.

If you will visit one of the festivals for dance and theater, you will join a small community of people who have seen these plays. Theater doesn’t have the capabilities to reach millions. Well, it didn’t until now.

And if we watch Netflix and Hulu, why wouldn’t we watch plays in our homes? Another question is, however, whether that would distort theater. Would it destroy the sanctity of the institution? OR would it raise the quality of production and help actors get paid as much as they deserve?

In closing, I want to ask you whether you think art should be paid or free and how making theater accessible through internet would change art? Finally, would you yourself download and watch a play from Australia or a musical from Hungary?

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