What's really "free?" How many meaningful things in your surroundings are things you've gotten for "free"? If you have lots of things that cost you nothing, that is not really a fulfilling way to live your life. But I do know this- The person who finds something spectacular after digging through garbage cans will feel a greater sense of satisfaction with their acquisition than would someone who inherited a fortune and has never had to dig for anything. When you extend some effort to a cause, either monetarily or personal time invested, you gain a deeper level of satisfaction overall.
"Good ain't cheap, and cheap ain't good"
The thing I love about the collaboration community is that it opens the door for "career creatives" to hire out their services in a more formal manner. It's fun plinking around in the studio, banging out randomness and things that please me at the moment. And anyone, ANYONE serious about this as a career must realize that there is most definitely a "quid pro quo" standard that is largely unspoken. If you're known for slipping a musician a few bucks for their time, that does NOT go unnoticed and that creative will defer to your project before others. A little "palm grease" can go a long way.
And being a professional musician these days is damn hard! For 30+ years I was fortunate to make a living playing drums and pretty much nothing else. As music becomes more accessible to individuals through the internet and as attention spans are hijacked by all the big screen TVs that are becoming more commonplace these days (not to mention all the cool gadgetry that fits in one's pocket!) keeping people engaged for 60-120 minutes is a lot of mental focus.
I am glad for sites like ccMixter, because they are bridges that will connect more of us "career musicians" with the "casual composers" who have been writing their opus for quite some time. Finding people who can play their vision and someone who can polish that to their sonic liking can and will become as accessible as is the ease of discovering new ideas and riffs on ccMixter.
Thank you for supporting the arts.