In the age of the internet, it’s almost impossible to protect anything.   Music, art and literature often can be easily duplicated without cost (and of course, without profit to the artist).    In some cases, it may even seem better just to make art free.   But if you do that, what’s left – relying on charity?  As it turns out, that idea may not be as risky as some seem to think.

Amanda Palmer is the first “big” artist to try this.  After an ‘unsuccessful’ release of her first CD, Palmer began her grand campaign online.  Instead of charging people for her music, she asked people to pay what she thought her money was worth.  It sounds crazy, but considering online piracy, and the massive amounts of money that record companies take from artists, she taught is was worth considering.

The music industry is all about connecting with the audience, and for Amanda, that means crowdsourcing (staying in homes instead of hotels, and inviting musicians to play with her when she needs a band) in order to build greater contact with her fans.

And how does she fund this?  She relies completely on charity.  Yes, although a musician is not someone we might normally consider for a charitable donation, the simple act of paying for the experience you received sure seems like giving back.   In Amanda’s case, nobody is making you pay, so by simply giving to fund the experience is an act of charity within itself.

But such acts are not confined to just musicians. Look at Aaron’s Last Wish.  It started when Aaron Collins, dies three weeks before his 30th birthday.  He believed that generosity and kindness were the ways that a person’s life left a mark on the world.  Moved by his generous spirit, his brother tips waiters and waitresses across the country $500 in an attempt to spread this kindness.  These tips, a single act of charity, have had a remarkable impact on the people they were given to.  One waitress was a twenty-one year old student, working three jobs to make ends meet.  Another was struggling to pay rent after a car accident kept her out of work for a week, yet a single tip (albeit a big one), had the power to change that.  It’s so hard to remember that something as simple as giving to a service you are grateful for, can be Making A Difference®!