Paying For Content Created…Have We Have Become Self-Centered?

One of the things you learn when you read books on making money and you start creating your own content is that it is not free and it takes a lot of time! In our society we have an aversion to paying for content other people create. It is almost like a badge of honor when you say you don’t pay for something. People rip movies, games, software, services, or suffer through ads (or block them which is another topic), the list could go on and on. Could it be that we have become too self-centered and focused only on our needs? Have we forgotten how to have a giving mindset? Today we are going to try and examine if this is true or not.

Let’s look at some situations and common objections…

Put Yourself in the Creator’s Shoes-

Napster originally started allowing people to download music back in 1999 to 2001. Even though it was short lived, it was very popular and got plenty of press. Many other sites have come around since including torrent websites.
  • Let’s take a big Hollywood blockbuster movie or game. Hundreds of people are working on this project, spending at least 40 hours or more of their week to get the project finished. We have all heard the stories of people working so much to complete something that it consumes their life. They finally get to the end and are ready to release it to the public and what do some people do? Take the project that hundreds of people have invested so much time, energy, money, resources into to make a living for themselves only to have people take what they created to pay for and made it free. They get the end product, but they basically are saying “Thank you for all you did to complete this project, I am going to use it like you intended, but not pay you anything for your work.”
Start ups are strapped for cash and if they are not getting funds or support, they will phase out and that product or service you enjoyed using will cease to exist.
  • Imagine if You Were a Creator- This is somewhat similar to the point above, but let’s not imagine a big business. Let’s imagine a small business or someone doing a side hustle. They may be working full time, raising a family, and using their free time to work on the business. A blog, podcast, author/book or YouTube are all great examples. You can find plenty of everyday people making amazing content offering it for free or for a small price. If you were in their shoes and you gave up your free time to make something you were proud of and then someone just took it, wouldn’t you be upset? You don’t have to buy expensive courses or merchandise to show your support if you can’t afford it or don’t need it, but don’t be afraid to send them a few dollars or buy their book/product to show them you appreciate them creating something you enjoy or enjoyed.
  • We Don’t Have a Giving Mindset- Paying money is how the world works. It is how we show that we appreciate a work of art and what its value is over something else (You may argue that sharing things online or word of mouth counts too, but money is the ultimate form of showing support). Instead of being afraid and boastful about not paying for content, we should be excited to support the content creators who are just like you and me. They have themselves to support, their families, and new projects to create. When we focus on ourselves it is hard to see the other side. You start to only see how it can benefit you and not how it can benefit the other person. When we switch to a giving mindset, it makes it more clear that by paying for something, you are thanking the person for their time, energy, and attention into creating something you enjoy or find value in. You would want the same if you created something.
  • It is Not of Value- If you are finding the need to use something that is supposed to be paid for, but are using it for free, then it is of value to you. In any kind of economy, if you are using something that helps you out or enjoy, you normally pay for that thing. It doesn’t always have to be money, but if you are spending time with something then you are showing that it does matter to you.
  • We Cannot Afford it- This objection is more about priorities. There are definitely some times and some people who cannot pay for something. Does that mean they should take what someone created and because they don’t have enough money, justify using it? No. If you don’t have the money you should be respectful of the content creators and either find a different, alternative way to view or use their content or find something you can afford.
  • If Everyone Else is Doing it, Why Can’t I?- This one is a matter of justification. Just because you see someone else doing something, does not mean you should. You need to always be questioning and forming your own thoughts. If you just fall in line with what others believe you will be disappointed more often than not and will never take ownership of your life. Think for yourself and make your own opinion! Put yourself on the other side and see their point of view!
You could argue Kodi is the Napster of today. Many people are ditching cable and going to Kodi. You may be mad at the cable companies and think you are paying too much, but making a point to them and hurting the content creators in the meantime is not the way to go.

In the digital age we are entering we say we care about privacy yet we will not pay $1, $2, or $3 to buy an app and remove ads. We don’t want to pay for a subscription service to not show us ads either. Ads are fine and in some cases necessary, but when business plans are based around ad revenue, good things do not normally come of that. We need to be more open if we use a service, platform, app, whatever it might be, to put up the money if not just to show support, but also to protect our privacy.  We are looking for these companies to fix the problem, but maybe we need to take a look at ourselves. If we aren’t willing to pay for something, will not watch ads and use an adblocker, yet watch/consume/enjoy the content from someone, how are they supposed to keep creating if they do not have a way to make money? App stores and micro-transactions are killing the app and games markets because we didn’t want to pay an upfront cost, but now we are paying more than ever to play these games or use these services.

In summary, support the products, people, services, apps, games, movies, TV, books, music, arts, anything that you enjoy that someone is on the other side of creating. Don’t be the reason they cannot do what they love, because you didn’t want to pay a small price to use their content.

Have a giving mindset.

One comment

  1. Good post. Money is not all of life and each of us would be a little disappointed if we did not get paid for work we do. Others feel the same.

    During an interview the Dalai Lama was asked what surprises him the most, his response: “Man surprised me most about humanity. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

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