Open Mic: Should Musicians Give Away Their Music For Free?


UK-based musician Nathan Joseph White, aka Whitey, has had his music on shows ranging from CSI, The Sopranos, Entourage to Breaking Bad. So, he wasn’t interested in getting yet another pitch from a television production company asking him for rights to use his music at no cost.

His response, embedded above, has gone viral.

“Would you approach a Creative or a Director…. and in one flippant sentence ask them to work for nothing?” asks White. “Or would you walk into someone’s home, eat from their bowl, and walk out smiling, saying ‘So sorry, I’ve got not budget for food’?”

Check it out – and let us know what you think of this practice. Is it just another way for big companies to rip off musicians, or do you think these sort of requests are a legitimate opportunity to get exposure for your music?

And are there circumstances when you think it makes sense for musicians to share their work for free?

52 thoughts on “Open Mic: Should Musicians Give Away Their Music For Free?

  1. Bravo!!! Extremely well written response . Right on , Whitey . As long as one can’t walk into a bakery and pick up a loaf of bread without paying , why would musicians give up their work for free .

    1. How is it different than a bakery giving out free samples?

      I would be tempted to take a gig like this just so I could get my foot in the door. If you’re established, your perspective is probably a lot different!

      1. Because it takes a fairly comparable amount of time and effort to make these samples. In fact, it takes weeks of long days to make a good piece of music,

        Apart from that, a musician has to invest a big amount of time and money to study and buy equipment, just like any other person running a business. A musician will never ask the music tech shop to take equipment for free and will never ask the music teacher to teach him for free. Why should other professionals ask from a composer such freebies?

        Producers that will not pay you at all they will not respect your work, trust me. They even tend to believe that they are doing you a favor for getting your foot in the industry, even if that is not the case. And the most surprising of all, is that after you have done so much work for them, it is more likely that they will not call you back to the next “big” job they always promise.

        Also, asking for payment is a very simple and easy way to communicate a very important message about your status:
        “You are a professional, not a hobbyist”

        Even if they will not accept it, they will respect you, believe me.

        I would be happy to help students that have no budgets indeed, a friend that will be also there when I need him/her, or passionate people that have no money at all. But helping guys I am not related to and they are making money out of that is a whole different story.

      2. and that is exactly the mindset that they exploit in order to justify “no budget for music”…
        “let’s hire some punter off the street who will work for free rather than a professional”

        sadly, its not too far from the truth. kind of plays into that whole attitude lately of “there’s too much music” when supply exceeds demand (regardless of quality) then only the top talent suffers.

      3. Let’s stop discussing and DO SOMETHING. I’ve been railing about this for years now. NO! I don’t give a shite about the “exposure”. “Google me” that’s my retort. Maybe 5% of those results emerged from “exposure” only gigs, etc…

        Let’s put it together. REFUSE to do a gig without a “guarantee”. A minimum, payed in advance. I opened for China Criss tonight. I waked I the door, sound checked and I was ASKED by the promoter if I’d like to be paid now or when I come back to do my show. BEFORE I walk onstage.

        That’s the way it should be. Get a guarantee, and get payed before you do the gig. WHY? Because most of the NYC clubs and promoters can’t be trusted, not yet. Not till thee is a united front. Not unroll they can’t get live bands on their stages till they fess. Exposure doesn’t pay bills. You work, you get paid.

        And RE the streamers , Spotify, Rhapsody etc the ones who pay insultingly low royalties (1000 plays 10 cents?) they have to be dealt with en mass as well. Otherwise it’ll be a few Artists and bands who wind up shooting themselves in their boots by pulling their Music off their “services”. It’s clearly not a financial service to the Artist, it’s literally pennies away from theft of services.

        And to all of the MUSIC SHOULD BE FREE, idealogs, No, it shouldn’t, so stop fucking it up for those of us who’ve created callouses working on our careers. There should be a rating for free music bands, “Hobby Music” cause that’s what it is, a hobby for you on your free time from your paying job. Oh wait, you should work for free there too, you never know how much exposure you’ll get…

        Message me if you want to work on this….



  2. Things like this are ridiculous indeed, they earn millions of dollars and yet they can’t pay for the music, the same music that makes for most of the atmosphere in a movie or series.

    Strip out the music and its basically all nothing, the movie will suck, the series will suck!

    So just pay the musicians/composers/producers their fair share!

    1. You’re 99.9% correct except for the fact that it’s the musician’s choice…a personal choice at that. Businesses will always use tactics like this with up and coming musicians because they know many ‘undiscovered’ musicians want exposure. They also know that musicians are largely driving by emotion and dedication to their art form. You have to watch out for yourself. I can understand the musician that turns a ‘free’ offer down, but I can also understand the musician who says yes to a business prime tv show offering this pitch. It’s exposure. Yes, businesses should pay an artist without question. But the questions a musician needs to ask first are “what do I want to achieve with my music? Am I trying to get a bigger audience? And if so, how else am I going to achieve this?” If you don’t care to get more exposure than tell them to go @$#% off. But all in all it’s a personal choice that only you can make, and hopefully it’s the right one for you! Unfortunately, businesses generally exploit artists and the arts. And we’re living in a time when music is like tap water. Wait, even that’s not exactly a relevant comparison in many places. People are buying bottled water. You have to do what you have to do as a musician and no one should tell you different. But, if you do make it big, tell those twats in business and tv that you don’t need their crap show even if they’re rated number one, and remember the rest of us!

  3. Only if they’re cutting their teeth, or working out new material. Otherwise, DO NOT give out your services for free. Make it a none negotiable stipulation, even at the risk of losing the opportunity to work for free. If that mentality spreads, the bar will be raised and pay won’t even be a question…

    ~Jeff Saphin

  4. It’s a good thing I don’t make music for money, I was be furious over this. Musicians make music for the love of it, if you’re a musician. But asking anyone to give their music away to all isn’t fair.

  5. I agree with the points made in the letter, but I do need to point out the weakness of the analogy of stealing food. It’s the same lazy argument the RIAA has made for years about piracy.

    If I walk into your house and eat food from your bowl, that is food that is no longer available to eat. Zero sum.

    If I download your .mp3, or if my company uses your music without paying you, it does not mean there is less of your music available for sale.

    Music is intellectual property, not a physical good. That doesn’t mean musicians shouldn’t be compensated for their work, just that not every analogy about theft is applicable.

    1. I think theft of time and energy is the biggest point. Wanting to use a track for free is one thing; commissioning work for free is insulting. It’s exactly like not paying a plumber or a taxi cab driver. Their services are skills the buyer doesn’t possess. If the cab driver wants to give you a free lift, that’s one thing, but expecting all cabs to be free because you just don’t feel like paying them is quite another.

      I knew nothing about this artist before his post, but I totally support him in this issue. Even prostitutes get paid.

    2. Lets put it this way:

      If you copy food that is not stealing in your opinion, right?

      But the farmer who made the food isn´t getting any money so he can´t keep making food. In the end when everybody is making copys there is no one left to do the original.

      Maybe thats ok with food but I want my favorite musicgroups to keep on doing new music so I pay for music.

    3. They aren’t asking for a copy on an MP3 though. This is asking for the exclusive (meaning the musician has no claim or ability to monetize the piece) rights to use, license, and monetize a product.

      IE, the production company isn’t taking a copy, they’re taking the sole right to use that music and want it for free.

  6. This type if exposure is worthless by itself – 15 seconds of your music gets heard in the background of a reality show and your credit flies by when viewers run to the bathroom.

    But this sort of thing is a necessary evil for getting bigger jobs – you do it and then you can say you’ve got tv credits.

  7. I would suggest anger management classes to the author of that letter. Maybe channel that anger into a mean techno tune or something. There is really not much to gain by ranting on someone that asked to use the music for free, which for some musicians might be viewed upon favorably as a resume builder. I just think when musicians get pissed off about not getting paid it is a bad look. It makes you seem like less of an artist and more of a whiner.


    Unfortunately my music is not available to license for free, but my fees are quite reasonable. I look forward to working with you in the future.

    —and then get back to making music!

    1. You’re correct about one thing; anger management. It must be working. cause without it, I’d write a blog about what a moron Scott is. He’s the prime example of why we’re in this position in the first place.

  8. Typically when talking about an artist giving away their music, we’re talking about giving away an album. Think artists like Pretty LIghts, GRiZ, the Floozies. This I whole-heartedly agree with.

    If someone’s going to make money from your music, of course you should be paid.

  9. I`m in the business of writing music for Advertising/Tv/Movies , and I agree with what Whitey said. However , keep in mind that this is only part of the financial system involved in broadcast media. There are also the royalties that collection agencies like BMI pay the author. In some cases , if your music is licensed around the world , you can earn a pretty penny.There are some very talented musicians who take this whole deal as an investment. ‘ If you use my music then I’m going to make money out of royalties ‘ and so on. Big shows use music at their discretion nowadays , I know production houses who take music off of iTunes without even contacting the publisher , they just send a cue sheet. They have a deal with BMI to use any artist they represent.
    ‘Clients’ should pay for the production cost / license . But as long as there are people willing to license their music without a direct cost , clients are going to take advantage of that. And to some extent it helps unknown musicians get noticed and make some money. If you’re going to buy music from a guy like Nathan Joseph White , you should pay for his name as well. There are probably hundreds of artists way better than him , who would accept the deal , but none have such an impressive resume.
    I managed to get my music on some big shows in he US , without a fee , and the money that came from BMI was not bad. If I can afford to write music for free , then I’m going to.

      1. Yeah , kinda. TV/radio stations pay collection agencies some money. The percentage may vary for every country. The agency , based on the cue sheets , gives you some money based on how many seconds your music was on air.
        If the TV station makes 1 mil $ off of advertising revenues the agency will collect a percentage of that (something like 2-3 percent in most cases) .And that represents an X number of minutes of music on the channel for that month. The agency then calculates how much your music represents out of that total amount and gives you some money.Also keeping a percentage for themselves.
        You and your tracks do need to be registered with the agency however. These are not record labels so you still own your music and can do whatever you like with it. I advise anyone to sign with an agency because it’s also safer for you. If someone uses your music without your consent to make money they can help a little. Some can even monitor what music is on air and can give you report on where it was used. I’m not sure about the percentages but the system works like this.
        There’s a huge business in royalties. Here are some links :

        1. That’s crap. There’s never ANY guarantees of royalties.

          it’s difficult to trust a company, a huge company, when said huge company doesn’t want to pay a basic fee for your work, instead hoping you’ll spend weeks working and further months unpaid and let you live off the royalties IF the show ever gets beyond pilot, or ever gets sold to a station. Royalties are a pittance and will rarely pay the bills.

          Also while were on the topic, let it be known that It’s common practice for big name artists, let’s say Michael Jackson to have their name put on a song they didn’t even slightly write and take a huge percentage of the royalties for that track. When dishonest practices like these become common place – which they have – I think letters like the above are important if a musician ever expects true recognition and payment for their work.

          It’ll only erode further and more professionals of stature should be speaking out.

          1. I don’t know about the USA, but I cannot help but think that it’s not that much different from, say, Germany. These agencies are big companies, too, and don’t think twice about suing a school for using some unlicensed music in a school play or a hairdresser that has a radio playing while serving customers. It’s probably not in the interest of any other big company to play games with them. The collection agencies are like some kind of crazy show-biz union in the USA except that you are not forced to join but once you are in you are in all the way (and voting power comes with the amount of royalties earned, so these organizations are “run” by the most wealthy composers).

          2. It’s true , making money from royalties is never a guarantee. Neither is making music in general . It’s up to you to decide if you trust the job is going to make money from royalties or not. Sure , in most cases it’s not going to earn a whole lot , but in general it’s enough to make a living. It”s an investment , sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t. I’m just glad I can write music and not pick-up garbage for money.
            If you write music you always have this decision in front of you. Either you go with your intuition and your own style of music , or go with the flow and try to make money. You can be a successful musician with any kind of music you want , but there’s no guarantee.
            If your job as an artist is to make music that people will listen to on the radio today , then you’re going to follow some patterns imposed by that industry. I already decided I can’t write for mainstream because I’m just not good at it. If your music is not radio friendly , then you can be sure TV / Advertising or Film has a place for it.
            As far as dishonest practice goes , I know it’s happening. If someone in the industry knows you will make money , they’ll bleed you dry if they can.
            Don’t get me wrong , I completely support White’s reaction. It’s the big names that can change the business. But the reality is that someone out there is going to take the job that White refused. And probably do a good job. Sometimes , like someone said , even adding a job like that to your resume can be worth it.
            There’s NEVER any guarantee. It’s unfair , but you’re a musician … .get used to it.

  10. Great letter, wonderfully put.. but.. i cant help buy feel this is not telling the whole story.. First off, this dudes pretty successful & respect for that.. I like others can count on the PRS / PPL royalties from our music being aired on TV stations around the world, Yes a licence should be paid for to gain rights to use.. but those companies if making shows as massive as they say will be guaranteeing your music is played on prime time on the top stations around the world, this is going to add up to regular income over years of repeats & syndication.. I gain income from both licenses & music air play & you take the ruff with the smooth.. if i were asked for use of my music on those shows, i would say yes, to get the foot in the door, yes, because the income even without license will be massive .. so i just feel this response isn’t putting the reality of how the income form use works, rather he’s just pissed off that they don’t wont to pay a license fee.. all he has to say is no.. & that.. is also where the less successful get the call & actually make a living from the scraps that people throw away.

    1. Exactly !
      It does get very annoying when you get a job for original music , with never-ending modifications on the brief. And the client still wants you to do it despite the fact that they’re not going to pay for the production.
      Sometimes I end up with 30-40 versions done , and they reconsider and go back to one of the first I sent.
      It would be nice to get a decent amount of money to produce stuff , every time. Maybe the job needs a piece of gear , some instrument players or vocals. I can’t always drag other people in this roller coaster of a job. Being a bedroom studio guy , I guess the fact that some people refuse jobs like that is to my advantage after all.

  11. They shouldn’t have approached an artist with lots of exposure with that offer; however, it would be a boon for many musicians who are looking to make a name for themselves. If you have no following and you turn down an offer to be featured on national TV, you’re a dunce. The monetary value of your work is determined by ***demand*** i.e. its value to *other people*. No following = no demand = no value.

  12. The other day I was watching a video of two chicks making out on a well known porn site. There was a great song playing in the background that I had never heard before. I had to figure out what that song was, so I listened to the lyrics and then googled the those lyrics. Turns out it’s a lesser known band from Seattle, but the song was available on iTunes. I picked it up immediately and I’ve listened to it at least a dozen times since.

  13. I am an Australian Producer who along with two of my friends and fellow Producer/Directors decided to shoot our own documentary TV series in the USA. We paid for it ourselves and worked for months getting without earning what we normally would. It was a labour of love.
    After a year of hustling we finally sold it to a TV station in Australia for only enough money for us to pay for post production (we have to buy new gear out of that, and we are getting paid half what we normally would for the three month edit that’s happening. But when it all even out, we are not technically “getting paid” due the money we have already spent.
    We are still a long way (probably years) away from recouping the $100,00-odd that it cost us to make the show. But we now have our foot in the door, which will hopefully lead us on the path to a healthy, decently paid career making shows on our own terms.
    We are asking musicians to contribute music which we cannot afford to pay for, due to our post production budget. All we can offer is exposure for unsigned artists. I do not know what else to do. We aren’t getting paid, they aren’t getting paid. But we are all getting exposure.
    I am a musician too, and this doesn’t seem unfair to me, but I just hope the fightback Whitey’s stance supports doesn’t mean that artists don’t want to help us by providing music for our soundtrack.

    1. I think you should be fine if you’re willing to work with people right out of school, because it’s an exchange both parties can benefit from. Absolutely nothing wrong with that.

    2. Nick, it’s true that you can do anything to anybody with their consent but you started out your post saying that you and your friends producers and directors decided that you wanted to make a documentary, if that is the case why didn’t you and your friends decide from the start to pay for the music? you’re a musician yourself even, and you and your friends obviously felt that something in your documentary was worth spending $100,000 dollars on, I just don’t understand why in your plans you all devalued the music?

  14. He’s very very right. I work in the film & TV industry, I freelance as a sound recordist, a post-production editor/mixer, & also a music composer. The amount of offers I get requesting me to work on a shoot or production without pay is insane. The Industry is eating itself from the inside out. I’m ALL FOR everyone having the chance to create media & get involved, its awesome that we live in a time where the tools & platform allow all the opportunity to be creative. But time & time again I get asked by producers/directors etc to supplement they’re passion for an idea with my time/talent/skill/equipment/resources… because they believe “it’ll be great exposure” (of they’re going to believe that, they think they’re film will be great). The Issue there is that if & when these creative people with an idea cannot do a certain task themselves, they have to then get someone else who can tend to that, at which point this task becomes a job. & jobs need to be paid for. IF these people have such great idea’s that they cannot realize themselves, then the next step, is to show confidence in that idea by finding finances to get it made. Its when people with no money attempt to make professional level media, & then force many of these departments to work for free, because “we don’t have the budget for that” that every aspect of this industry becomes eroded.

    You can’t call up plumber to come round & fix your boiler (because you don’t have the skills to do it yourself) & then say “oh, I can’t pay you for it I’m afraid because I haven’t budgeted for this”.

  15. It’s a total myth that working for free will get you (paying) work in the future. If you give it up for free it tells them that you either don’t care about money or don’t care about music, either way you’re making it even harder to get recognition.

    If you suddenly change your mind about wanting money? They’ll find someone else to work for free. Don’t play that game and they’ll run out of bodies to use.

    The folks above talking about getting royalties/points, etc. – that is getting paid! Often times it can be a gamble, but it can pay even better.

    Have faith that if your skills are there people will come to you and want to give you money/points, etc.

    And even session musicians get paid!

  16. I once saw a good suggestion for freelancers being asked to work for free for “exposure”. Do the work and after send a bill marked “paid” to them. This way they realize the value of what you just did for them and that it was YOU who did them a favor not the other way around.

  17. This actually boils down to a very simple set of concepts. Making music takes resources. It takes years of experience, education, equipment and soul. If a person can’t make ends meet via the product of their profession, they will need to find other means of making money. This means less time spent making music. Musicians have always been getting screwed, the only real difference now is people (through rationalization, guilt, stupidity and good old fashioned corporate manipulation) have come to the idiotic (but understandable given the situation) idea that recorded music has no actual value. The only reason for this perception, is the technological reality of just how easy it is to steal the product. This is in no way meant as a moral trip, I myself have stolen content. I’ve also had content stolen. But the basic concepts are, well basic. The product no longer has value. The major corporations are still making tons of money, and the average musician gets shafted. And we’ll all lament the loss of art while contributing to it’s demise.

  18. The reality is: Music is not scarce anymore. It is totally ubiquitous. And prices for ubiquitious things go down to zero. The bad news is: We have far too many people like Mr. White who desperatly want to live from their music. But music in it’s purest form was art and maybe we should just stop to make money from music altogether. There are plenty of other profitable and less arty days jobs that one can have. And he is a free man. A simple “no” to the potential client would have been enough. Personally, it’ seems pretty self-righteous and pompous to me to try to make such a big wave out of this.

    1. “But music in it’s purest form was art and maybe we should just stop to make money from music altogether. ”

      I would accept that if no one would earn money from this industry , but in this case everyone seems to have profit from music apart from the ones the music belongs to. Sites have profits, tv channels have profits, film producers, cinemas, radio stations, production companies, agents, recording labels…all apart from composers. Even music critics and famous musicians take money from young composers through sites just to make a short review of their music… Unfair isn’t?

      With all due respect, I cannot agree with the claim that art should go free, not in this world.

  19. Musicians need a decent union, one which prevents companies like these from hiring schmucks off the street for free.

    Writers have a union, actors have a union. Musicians get a shittier deal from record companies than any artist gets from a gallery, or illustrator from an agency.

    But this should have happened decades ago. I’m guessing record companies had something to do with it – divided we fall. Now in this digital age it’s pretty much impossible to keep the cat In the bag. It’s too late. Musicians will never win this battle.

  20. Exposure? I’d never heard of Whitey before he wrote this letter, fuck background tv show music and working for free, just write to these blood sucking parasites and tell them where to shove their disrespectful bullshit offers of exposure; then make the letter public – WIN!

    I’m off to listen to his music 😉

  21. Im as Musician can say we do this already 😛
    My last album comes out 31 May 2013 on the same youve found it on illegal download sites…
    everybody wants everything for free…

  22. Never give away your music for free. Ever. We as musicians deserve compensation for our hard work.

    That said, I sometimes license my tracks at no cost under creative commons, so that others may remix or write to my music. Sometimes that spirit of collaboration can push an unfinished track forward or can give a producer multiple shots at a track reaching the right ears…

    Have a lawyer and contracts written up to stipulate how others can use your music, for how long, the compensation, etc.. I’ve had my music used and stolen ever AFTER declining an offer.

    If we don’t appreciate and place value on our own work, no one else will.

    1. I agree with you 100%. But, on the other hand, don’t tell me what to do with my music.

      Remember, just because you have a skill or talent – or THINK you do – doesn’t mean that the world owes you a living for doing it.

      1. Sorry for coming off preachy before, but many musicians are duped into thinking a paid gig will arise from free “get your foot in the door” work… it usually doesn’t work that way.

        If you make a living off or wish to make a living from music… you need to believe in the value of your art and abilities. Most of the musicians I know charge very modest fees for their studio work. If people are willing to consume your product, they should also be willing to compensate you for it. If your talent is such that people demand it, use it, listen to it, etc… you deserve to be compensated for it’s usage.

  23. in general, the comments that suggest that the reason people view music as a free commodity is because of its overabundant supply are spot on. The original letter is essentially arguing that himself and others create an artificial scarcity by refusing to sell below a certain price. This is fine and all, but its delusional. The plumber analogy that people seem so fond of only works if there is a scarcity of plumbing. If however there are too many plumbers (like there is too much music being made) then the value drops to a appropriate level, which is this case, is free (with the potential of future work). That is the current going price of music. Whitey doesn’t like this face, and he might as well be arguing that less people should be making music while he is at it. His anger is misdirected. he is trying to sell a commodity that exists in abundance. Sure, he will sell it as long as it is exclusively what people need, but otherwise they will go with the lower price.

    1. What you’re missing in your criticism of the plumbing analogy is that any licenced plumber should be able to do the necessary work to fix your toilet etc, but music is not quite so homogeneous; I wouldn’t take Kate Bush if I wanted to listen to Extortion. The idea that all artists represent the same commodity is sheer willful ignorance of why we enjoy the art in the first place. You could argue that the value of a song is in its’ uniqueness, and that different levels of uniqueness appeal to people with differing levels of interest in the music itself.
      An example, the uninitiated may say something like “oh all hardstyle sounds the same”..but many hardstylers I know can call a song out based on the first 3 seconds of the beat, not to mention go to festivals where they play it for 10 hours straight.. There is clearly something unique there for them, even if you need that interest to hear it, and you can’t possibly suggest they’d be happy going to that festival and hearing Judy Garland or Sting.

  24. If you can’t stop the copying then it seems the wisest move is to get into the high quality copying and redistributing business as well. It’s no use demanding the right to continue making buggy whips and railing against the automobile when you aren’t able to make a profit. You’ve been voted down by the public’s eagerness for progress. In other words, the march of new gadgets defeats everything in the end. It IS always about the latest mousetrap.
    There should be a link to White’s site so the original request can be read (as opposed to having to spend several minutes searching for it, oh, bother) so everyone can see what verbiage got White in such a lather. Was free use of music actually demanded of him? Or was it just a request? Is the demanding company profit or non-profit? Could White have written it off his taxes as a donation? Only half the story is being presented here.

  25. It’s ultimately up to the musician to decide whether or not they want to give away their music for free. It’s their product, after all. I think the issue arises when someone asks them to give away their music for free and gives some half-ass reason for not paying them.

  26. Plumbers? Are you kidding? Making music vs. shoveling shit? I’ve played music professionally and i’ve done straight gigs. The straight gig pays better because it’s less fun. Many people will write, record, and play music just for the fun of it, and be happy if someone, anyone, will simply give it a listen. If you can get paid for it, that is great. But complaining that others are giving it away free is like complaining the tide came in. Be better than them, a lot better, and develop the skills and contacts to sell your product, and you’ll have as good a chance as anyone to make money from your music.
    As for those who are in business, or hope to be, and require music for their products but want it for free, they are scum sucking leeches. And I don’t care if your product is profitable or not, if you spent 100k making a film but can’t scare up some money for the music, an essential part of the product, you don’t deserve any music. Get garageband and punch in a few chords and hit a button. Don’t expect talented musicians to give up their work for your vision. Rant over…..

  27. This is a tricky subject, because there are many variables, but I do have to say this: do what you feel is right. If a musician wants to give away their music, you have no right to be mad at them. They’re not reaching in your pocket. If a musician expects to get paid for what they do, that is also their right. Music, like so many other creative endeavors, can be many different things. Some people do it for fun and occasionally get paid. Some do it for a living, and the idea of not getting paid is ridiculous to them. Some well paid artists will lend or donate their talents to a project that they believe in simply because they want to be part of it. Some of the best films, albums, art, etc were commercial failures, but became incredibly influential. So my point is, for any situation like this, the way that it gets handled is up to the individuals involved. I can understand the frustration that Whitey had in this situation. To ask something like that of someone who obviously is well established in the business is a bit insulting. Nothing wrong with him speaking his mind on the subject. But there is also nothing wrong with a composer with less notoriety taking on the job for exposure.

    In short, it never hurts to ask, but if you ask, be prepared not only for a “no”, but a “HELL NO!”

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