Music, Writing, and Art in the Age of the Optional Purchase

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In the summer of 2010, when I started my first job, I listened to about six hours of Pandora a day. The ads were an annoyance, but I sat through them because I loved the songs that Pandora found for me.

I knew that there was such a thing as “Pandora One,” but, like most millennials, I scorned the idea of paying for something I knew I could get for free.

Yet Pandora persisted. Hours and hours a day, it brought me amazing bands I never would have otherwise heard.

A few months in, I took the $32-a-month plunge. And I’ve never looked back.

Why did I buy something that was so optional? More importantly, how can any creative person ever hope to get compensated in the age of the optional purchase?

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