Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Loved that piece of music you just heard? Support the programming you enjoy by becoming a WWFM member with your financial contribution today. Thank you!

Paying for Music in the Internet Age

Image: Corbis
Image: Corbis

The technologies that record companies blame for the downturn in retail music sales -- computers, CD burners and the Internet -- are allowing musicians to do more of the things that record labels used to do. In a three-part series, NPR's Rick Karr profiles some of the artists and Internet sites embracing these emerging business models:

Part 1: Searching for a Patron

Looking for someone with deep pockets to finance an artist's creative impulses is a time-honored tradition Karr profiles artists who use the Internet to connect with supporters.

Part 2: Online Micropayments

Emerging artists are discovering that many music fans on the Internet are willing to pay small amounts -- dubbed "micropayments," usually for sums less than a dollar -- for access to exclusive downloads.

Part 3: Taxing the Internet

Some music industry insiders, including former major-label executives, want Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and computer makers to pay record companies in proportion to how much of their music is being shared and copied online.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit

Rick Karr
Rick Karr contributes reports on the arts to NPR News. He is a correspondent for the weekly PBS public affairs show Bill Moyers Journal and teaches radio journalism at Columbia University.