"Everything Is Free" as written by Gillian Howard Welch and David Todd Rawlings....
Everything is free now
that's what they say
Everything I ever done
gonna give it away
Someone hit the big score
they figured it out
that we're gonna do it anyway
even if it doesn't pay

I could get a straight job
I've done it before
I never minded working hard
it is who I'm working for
Or I could get a tip-job
gas up a car
or try to make a little change
down at the bar

'Cause everything is free now
that's what they say
and everything I ever done
gonna have to give it away
'Cause someone hit the big score
they figured it out
that we gonna do it anyway
even if it doesn't pay

Everyday I wake up
am humming this song
and I don't need to run around
I can just stay at home
and sing this little love song
for the love in myself
If there's something that you wanna hear
you can sing it yourself

'Cause everything is free now
that's what I say
Everything you ever done
gonna give it away
'Cause someone hit the big score
they figured it out
that we gonna do it anyway
even if it doesn't pay

...'cause everything is free now


Lyrics submitted by lww

Everything Is Free song meanings
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7 Comments

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  • 0
    General Commenti feel like this song is talking
    about having to wake up every day
    to the SAME routine.
    i can totally relate!

    her voice is so perfect,
    the whole song is so pure.
    it makes me cry every time!
    cupkateon November 26, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is by gillian welch.
    and i think it's about downloading music online for free.
    loveinvincibleon May 08, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDitto loveinvincible.
    Arafelison May 18, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"I can just stay at home
    and sing this little love song
    for the love in myself
    If there's something that you wanna hear
    you can sing it yourself"

    while the rest of the song is somewhat vague, these lyrics give away the direct meaning in this song; it is entirely against pirated/unpaid copies of music (download, bootleg, etc.)

    it's smaller scale artists like The Tiny that get hit the hardest by it, after all.
    tkilljoyon December 17, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYeah, it's pretty hard to argue against the file sharing interpretation. Which disappoints me, because the music behind the words is so heart-wrenching and powerful. It sounds like it should be about something bigger than not getting paid as much as you want because some people steal.

    I mean, I'm not saying that I condone piracy, but with this music, it sounds like melodramatic whining. It makes me sad, and not in the way that it should.
    onechadon July 29, 2009   Link
  • 0
    My OpinionI, too, ended up feeling disappointed after realizing the song was most likely meant to be a sermon against filesharing. For weeks I found myself enchanted by the sound and tone and feel of the song, first when hearing it on the radio, then later at home after I had (ironically, I suppose) downloaded it. After having listened to it and let my mind meander over various meanings, I went out and bought the CD, not having heard much of Gillian Welch and wanting to hear more. It was around this point, driving around listening to the CD, that I realized the likely meaning. As Onechad put it, the song was so heart-wrenching and beautiful, it sounded like it should have been about something bigger than money and the filesharing controversy.

    My experience also illustrates something largely ignored by the more rabid opponents of filesharing -- overall, it tends to INCREASE the amount of money that goes to the artist. Sure, there may be decreased CD sales (though in many cases, especially for smaller-scale artists, filesharing results in increased CD sales). But the "brand awareness" of the artist skyrockets, concert tickets soar, word of mouth provides free advertising. Wise bands can make themselves by riding the filesharing wave in the right way.

    And as for any decreased CD sales, does anyone know how much the average artist makes from a CD sale? Last I looked into it, the average ranged between twenty cents and two dollars, while the CDs themselves sell for $10 to $20. Bring recoupment and other factors into it, and most artists get almost nothing from CD sales. It's the greedy parasites known as record labels and record executives that lose money through filesharing, not the artists.

    Many artists actually benefit from filesharing, and most of the rest aren't much affected.
    JackTHornon December 03, 2009   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI am not against the anti piracy interpretation of this song, but I did have a completely different impression of its message. Like onechad said, to me this song is about something bigger than file sharing. Think of a dystopian (extreme socialist) future like what is depicted in 1984. 

    In a world where the government owns all property and production - money as we know it has no meaning or value and therefor "Everything is free now."

    Looking at the refrain it first goes: "Everything is free now thats what they say everything I ever done gonna give it away cause someone hit the big score they figured it out that we're gonna do it anyway even if it doesn't pay."
    Then at the end: "Everything is free now thats what I say everything you ever done gonna give it away cause someone hit the big score they figured it out that we're gonna do it anyway even if it doesn't pay cause everything is free now."
    The major difference between them is who is talking and who is giving what they've done away. When she says it's all free we give up what we've done, when someone else says it then she has to. Whatever this situation is someone has won big and someone else or everyone else has lost even the right to own what they produce.

    The first verse about who she has to work for. She could get a solid government job or an illegal job and actually get paid - not in clean money - but in fuel or illicit liquor profits.

    The second verse is about the state of the entertainment industry in context. You don't need to go to a public place for a good song because the only place for it is in private at home. If you want to hear a song you actually like - sing it yourself because recorded music does not exist. 

    The Tiny could have only meant this song to be about  anti piracy, but as JackTHorn says the group would not suffer as much as the record label would from the issue. This is merely what I feel as I listen to it.
    Triskellionon February 12, 2012   Link

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