Let's play pretend here. If artists were releasing their music for free on the internet, and only charging shipping+a small fee for a physical copy of the CD(a fee that really only recoups the expenses of pressing the CD and doesn't give the artist any burritos) If this was the standard way to get music, a la myspace, simply browsing through sites and downloading whatever you wanted. Would you give the artists money anyway? if so, Would you only support the artists you liked? Would you recognize the work being put into it and the labor of love they provide, or would it just be music to you? Would you think it's fair that you give them money, since they are not asking any money of you? Would you support such a system? Do you think such a system would or could work? Would you be freeloading? or is it not your responsibility because the artist didn't officially charge? Or, if artists were asking for tips but not officially charging for their music. Would you be more likely to give them a donation? would you feel that they were justified to ask? or should they just cut their hair and get a real job? Is it feasible for an independent artist to even make a living in this situation? Try and be honest. I know it's easy to say "if I liked it I would definitely give them money", I have heard people say that about many things, but when it comes to it, they really wouldn't part with their money if they weren't being required to. Not always the case, but I've seen it enough to add this disclaimer. A real world parallel would be the software industry, particularly share/free/donationware type projects and whether or not you actively buy them or donate, or if you try and free-load as much as you can.