If I listen to music, I'm grabbing some as it passes by. Do I need to give something in return?
Let's face it, the world revolves around quid pro quo.
Photosynthesis takes light and returns oxygen.
The oyster filters water and returns a pearl.
Our labour returns the means of sustenance.
Engaging in civic affairs maintains our freedoms.
But what about music?
Musicians labour to create it, and hope to earn the means to sustain themselves. People buy concert tickets and recorded albums to help make that exchange happen. The concert-goer and record-buyer get their reward in listening pleasure, so the exchange is straightforward.
When I listen to music that I am not directly paying for, I get pleasure. Even if I don't buy tickets to a single concert in a year, or buy a single audio track, I will still be exposed to several hours of music -- some of which I will not just hear but listen to.
So is it my responsibility to give something in return? Should I support a performing arts organization? Should I buy an instrument for a school band program? Should I regularly support my local buskers?