Music should be free. If you don't want it 'stolen' then don't record it.
That would be fine if everything else would be free as well. It isn't.
It doesn't matter if music about emotion or if artists are passionate about their work or if someone manage to have a day job and write books or compose in the evenings. It doesn't matter if many artists have't been ripped off in the past either, even when their record sales are high (because all the money ended up elsewhere). To use the lack of profitability involved in record making in the past as an argument for not getting paid for work today is pretty similar, logically, to claim that workers in cotton fields shouldn't ask for money for their work because in the past, slaves ere doing this work.
What matters is that if someone has a job (writing/recording/producing music), he needs to pay his bills, otherwise he'll end up with thinking more about money than on music.
How can one person even feel entitled to have an opinion about whether someone else should get paid for his work or not? If someone thinks somebody should work for free... work for free, don't ask others to do it.
And the idea about requesting that people who are into a financially risky business segment (producing recorded music) should have to dive into another risky business (touring) to get paid is just nonsense. Lots of tours are not generating any profit at all, especially for the main artists. Why? Because everybody else (hired musicians, sound crew, the people renting out the PA equipment, those who sell tickets and wast the floors of course expect to get paid. Most of them wouldn't even consider doing their job if they wouldn't know for sure that they would get paid, how much they would get paid and when the money would arrive.
In all segments of the music the music industry, there are people trying to make the originators of the whole music business work for free, especially young musicians. If they give up on recording albums or tour, and try making music for TV stations - even jingles for a TV show, they'll soon meet someone who'll tell them that they can't pay them much but at least they'll get some exposure for their music and their name.
If a librarian is passionate about books, or a chef is passionate about cooking, would someone ever suggest that their work should be free, or that they should go touring, on order to demonstrate their skills for a paying audience, in order to cover up for their free work in libraries or restaurants back home?
Should books, cinemas, theater, concerts or paintings be free?
As long as people use internet and other means to promote that one group of people - music makers - shouldn't get paid for their work while everybody else should, these futile discussions will exist.
Even worse, there are people out there, like Wired's Chris Anderson, who promote the same idea - wrapped into 'pseudo-visionary' arguments - and make a lot of money in it. As mentioned in another thread (Chris Anderson, promoter of free music, charged $60.000 for lecture about the topic
), he charged circa 60,000 USD last year to talk about free music, that musicians have always had daytime jobs etc.
He thinks music should be free, and takes as much as he possibly can for his lectures because when lecturing he has to 'spend time away from his family'.
Does he really think that people who are spending weeks or months in recording studios are less away from their family than he is? And, if he is passionate about giving lectures, writing books about musicians working for free, or about editing Wired, shouldn't he consider getting another job, so he can work in Wired for free, at home, after the kids have fallen asleep?
To those involved in such discussions who use the 'money isn't really important' argument... I have a bank account number for you, and I generously accept bank incoming money transfers anytime.