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'Free' Thinker: Alligator Record's Bruce Iglauer

CHICAGO (Hypebot) – As part of a week long exploration into the meaning and value of "free", Hypebot asked some of the music industry's most forward thinkers the value and future of free music. Here Bruce Iglauer, Founder & President of Alligator Records shares his experiences with "free."

"The use of free music to turn on potential customers to a new artist or songwriter has been in use for decades. We're happy to give away a free download if it will excite someone to buy other music by this artist or writer. Of course, this assumes that we have legal ownership of the master and publishing, or publisher approval. However, ultimately the creators of music deserve to be paid for their creations.

At this point, no model for monetizing music (for example, advertising-based free streaming or downloading) other than traditional royalties has proven to fairly pay artists, songwriters or their patrons/financiers (the labels). So, a free track or stream with label and publisher approval? Sure. Distribution of music without label and publisher approval? Nope.