Tim O’Reilly once said that the problem for artists isn’t piracy – it’s obscurity. I think that’s true. A lot of people have commented: ‘You can’t eat page views, so how does being well-known help you earn a living as a writer?’ It’s true; however, it’s very hard to monetise fame, but impossible to monetise obscurity. It doesn’t really matter how great your work is; if no one’s ever heard of it, you’ll never make any money from it. That’s not to say that if everyone’s heard of it, you’ll make a fortune, but it is a necessary precursor that your work be well-known to earn you a living. As far as I can tell, these themes apply very widely, across all media.
Cory Doctorow in The Guardian explaining why he publishes his books online for free (via Largehearted Boy).