SoundExchange Head Likes Pandora But Says It Needs Audio Ads | Listening Post from Wired.com: “Simson makes some decent points in the video, then shows that he has no grasp of the concept that infinitely-replicable digital goods differ from physical goods that must be manufactured.
‘Music can be free when Mercedes are free,’ said Simson.”
And the writer has no grasp of elementary economics. Digital goods don’t have a zero cost to reproduce: they have lots of very small costs, from the cost of the computer you use to the cost of the electricity it takes to run, to the cost of the bandwidth to download a file. All very small, but still not free.
But more importantly, it costs someone’s time to create the initial copy. This means that, while the price of any individual digital copy after the first one will trend towards zero, it will never actually reach it. It will never actually be free.
Anything which takes a human being time and effort to make will never be truly free, unless their labour has no value. They may choose to give it away; they may offset the cost of their time with some other activity; but it is never truly free in sense of having no price or having no value.