Don't we love how this all revolve around a microphone capturing sound, a camera capturing images, then a way of storing them, and finally playing them back to our senses? (plus processing and engineering of the material etc. creativity, musicianship, another etc.)
People used to sing and play music to one another spontaneously and music existed only in the present moment. Now we have artists that dedicates themselves completely to it to "produce" themselves on scenes, and we have to pay all the time for whatever strings they strum, drums they hit, and notes they sing.
A CD, a jewel case and a booklet are all virtually worthless, they are fun to look at but they are not what you want when you buy a CD. What do you think is the value of the music you're paying for? I would be the first to propose that we make better music costlier, paying for creativity, for every single instruments used, and that we also pay for better mixing/production/mastering for it.
Although, my opinion is that the first day in history when we became able to record someone singing, print it on a tape or a vinyl thingy, and then sell it to someone for listening, it was worthless. You would have ask anyone on the street if they would pay to hear someone singing the same thing over and over, they would have found the idea absurd and would have refused to pay. They would demo the thing, have a good laugh, and then return to their homes... Personally, I love to listen to music, I can't imagine myself without it, yet, I still don't think it's an essential in the life of anybody. This is the kind of opposing reaction the people on the street would have had in that era, in reply to the offering of the salesman of a machinery playing back a recording of someone singing. Especially on that first moment, the thing sure wasn't that enjoyable in the long run (although impressing as a first sensation) and not affordable. A lot of things happened along the way and now everyone listen to music. Changing subject
Playing an instrument, writing a song, sorry but I would not call it work. It's not even a routine. The sound engineer and the scene technician, yes those two are doing work, but the musical artists they love to write music, jam together, and be in the studio. They are not building a bridge, or developing technological advancements, and will never be. So that's why I'm saying they are not doing work.
Of course world touring musicians gets hard times, sleep deprivation from both the jet lag and from not being able to sleep on a plane is momentarily atrocious and should not be endured, but most of them will tell you that their 2 hours of scene-time they get, that feels more like 30 minutes in their own perception, is entirely worth the trip.
Yes they give us enjoyable times, and even more when it's a social activity... (but on Head-Fi I like how we care only about the music and keep the social activity part for showing off our headphones ^^)
Maybe enjoyable times contribute in our increasing lifespan? but wasn't music just as healthy when it was done around the piano and with all the family every Sunday night?
Basically the biggest portion of humanity has lived finely and happily without the ability to playback recorded music, so that's why I'm having mad finding a purpose to (justifying) artistry (the one that can be recorded, but I'm mainly only thinking about the music) in our society. Personally I dislike all popular, fast-served, (kind of) ticket-booth style forms of entertainments, that are in way a reflection of how bored we are (paying and letting specialized others entertain us), and that make us look always less entertaining (because we're not the cinema screen projecting Avatar in 3D, kind of less-entertaining; we're shifting entertainment from human-born and pleasurable direct social interactions to stiff objects).
I also think medecine and quality of life is doing more to increase our lifespan than artists, but again I like to stand in the middle, shake up things, some people judge quality of the year before their quantity, suggesting that you wouldn't need to live that old really.
My personal favorite one-man artist is a Japanese dude (not ZUN) using a combination of real life instruments and microphones, synthesizers, and studio/computer effects to make music and distribute it for free as 192 kbps mp3s on his website since 1998. I've been listening and downloading since 2003-2004 [and right now I'm also listening to it, discovering new songs to put on my MP3 player, from his complete discography (coincidental)]. He opened himself a YouTube account two weeks ago and he posted a positive comment on my channel (and many others') to show his appreciation for having uploaded some of his songs. Right now he is working on uploading unreleased stuff, forgotten songs, and he provides mediafire.com links to them to anyone who asks him for it. Anyway, he's relatively popular, his fanbase loves his music to death, and it's a proof that you don't need to pay for the media to have enjoyment from it.
Also this guy is super creative, not being restricted to the CD format he has songs ranging in length from 27 seconds to 47 minutes, and 600+ of them (while most of them are 3-4-5 minutes long, a lot are 6-7 minutes long). And no joke song (well maybe 2-3), almost-completely blank bonus tracks at the end, Japanese(regional)/iTunes/website only extras, or pointless filler songs like you find in some CDs. That is a proof that you don't need to be paid to produce good music.