Much of this content is ... possible through the generous financial support of our readers and partners, Dawes says. (Image courtesy of winnond/FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
Yahoo music analyst Paul Green's Oct. 20 report noted that no platinum albums (1 million copies sold) had been released in 2014.
The reason? "Today's fans are perfectly content to stream their favorite music - and increasingly reluctant to buy it," Green said.
Online music services like Pandora and Spotify, which pay royalties to musicians, allow users to listen for free to a customizable variety of musical genres in exchange for listening to occasional advertisements.
Using Pandora hasn't impacted my music purchasing patterns, but Green's assertion is understandable.
Taylor Swift's decision to pull her songs from Spotify before the Oct. 27 release of her new album, which has become the only platinum album of 2014 to date, has intensified the debate.
The underlying issue is accessing desired content for free.
The news industry is facing a similar challenge. A decline in paid subscriptions due, in part, to "free" online news, has led print newspapers and magazines to reduce staff and make certain online content only available to paid subscribers.
Cliff Vaughn, EthicsDaily.com's media producer, reflected on this issue previously, noting that many readers turn to free news sources covering the same story when faced with a pay-to-view news approach.
This trend reveals that "we don't really value news" because "at the end of the day, most people only pay for things they value," he commented.
The desire to use resources without supporting the organizations providing them is a growing challenge in many industries. It has long been a challenge for local churches and faith-based nonprofits.
Talk to any faith-based nonprofit leader and they will tell you about the awkward moment when an individual showing interest in their products at an event learned the items were not free.
Ask any seasoned pastor and they can share about a financially secure church member who consumes congregational resources, and might even hold a leadership position, but rarely tithes.
In many contexts today, the desired cost-benefit ratio sought by consumers is 0 to 100 - free.
Yet the old adage, "There is no such thing as a free lunch," remains true. The costs required to produce the desired resource have to be paid by someone at some point.
Nonprofit organizations, like Baptist Center for Ethics (BCE)/EthicsDaily.com, are not in the business of making money.
Yet, funding is essential to carry out our work of providing faith-based global news and commentary to our readers through:
● Fresh, relevant articles each weekday
● Photo news stories from local and global partners
● Skype interviews with religious leaders on timely issues
● Documentaries on relevant topics addressed from a faith perspective
● Video footage from locations around the world
● Bible study curriculum written by global Baptists
● Tweets on global news, events and opinion pieces throughout the day
Since launching EthicsDaily.com, BCE has worked hard to build a site that:
● Is seen as a reliable moral rudder for churches and people of faith
● Reaches a global audience
● Publishes the best submissions and blog articles from around the world
● Innovates by implementing new means of sharing content
● Produces high-quality video resources in the form of documentaries, Skype interviews and video clips designed to resource local churches
Much of this content is provided free of charge to our readers. But it's not free; it is possible through the generous financial support of our readers and partners.
Before I began working at EthicsDaily.com in 2013, I had contributed columns regularly since 2009.
I assumed during this time that the staff listed on the website were all full-time and that the organization's funding was overflowing based on what they produced each week.
What I know now is that BCE maintains a small staff - usually two full-time employees at any given time - uses the best affordable technology available, and finds creative and low-cost means to produce high quality resources on a limited budget.
EthicsDaily.com relies on the financial contributions of individuals and foundations to support much of its work as well as on writers, photographers and videographers who donate their time, skills, insights and, yes, finances.
Our goal is always to form mutually synergistic partnerships. We provide and continually develop a platform that reaches a global audience, while contributors provide content that makes us a trusted, respected source for moral reflection, global news, biblically based resources and Baptist ethics.
This requires consistent, sustained funding. As denominational giving declines, funding from individuals and foundations becomes more essential.
During this season of preparing 2015 budgets, will you consider how you can help support our work?
Here are a few ways:
● Share information about EthicsDaily.com with your friends and family.
● Follow us on social media and share our content with your network.
● Subscribe to our e-newsletter and invite others to do the same.
● Submit an article for consideration.
● Encourage your church, friends, family or foundation to include us in their budget.
● Make a secure, online donation today.
Having worked in several jobs previously - from retail sales to construction to local churches - I can assure you that BCE is a good steward of its resources, stretching a dollar without sacrificing quality.
While you can rest assured that our staff will continue to find ways to provide high-quality, trustworthy, biblically based content that advances the common good, will you dream with us about what we could do with increased funding and reader engagement?
Zach Dawes is the managing editor for EthicsDaily.com. You can follow him on Twitter @ZachDawes_Jr.