Free or full price
In 2010, a heavy metal kid suddenly took the dance music world by storm.
When Sonny Moore aka Skrillex broke onto the scene, he played over 300 shows in the first year.
In the second year, he did maybe 10% of that.
Well, a lot. Profile, direction, team, creative energy, obligations, and a whole load more.
At a certain point, it flips around from saying yes with abandon to repeatedly saying no.
No to the club gig.
No to the corporate cash.
No to the private show that no one will know about.
Even no to the festival.
And the ones that become ‘yes’ have more stakes, more riding on them. More elements, more people involved, more to consider. Yes becomes more difficult.
But there’s another type of yes.
For friends, for people we trust, those with causes we believe in. Someone we’ve worked with who needs a little extra from us, and we give it because we know it’ll make things better.
For Skrillex, it could be jumping on stage for a single track collab. Giving a shout out in a tweet. Showing up randomly to play a DJ set in a sweatbox club on a Wednesday. The 300 gigs a year went away, and almost everything was no. Except when it was yes.
And with this kind of yes there’s no point in talking money or negotiating a deal.
It’s free. No reciprocation requested. Nothing expected in return.
When this tipping point comes and the world becomes more complex, things can in fact become clearer.
And this tipping point can come earlier than you think. You don’t need to be headlining festivals or starring in movies to feel it.
It could even be happening right now.
Free or full price.
The full price may never come – not from the person for whom we did it for free. And that’s fine.
There’s no need to worry about awkward conversations with friends, or finding a way to lowball ourselves and highball them. The tension goes, and we’re not watching the clock against a rate we compromised on.
The great news about free is that it’s freeing.
And the full price is there, and it’s clear.
Free or full price. Your choice.