Immersion, it's not up to you to decide whether or not musicians should be allowed to charge for their music. Some musicians are happy to give it away for free, and others want to charge something for it. Some listeners are happy getting a bunch of mp3 files via bittorrent, while many others want to purchase a CD with printed artwork.
Your choice of the Robert Rich live archive perfectly illustrates my point, not yours. You'll notice Robert did not release the live recordings on CD, though he has released live recordings on CD in the past. The reason his new live archive was released as download-only, rather than on CD, is because the music market has changed so much that Robert feels pressing CDs of these live recordings would not be worth the cost, given how many copies might sell. Ten years ago, this would be an easy decision to make -- we sold plenty of copies of Humidity, for example, a collection of live Robert Rich recordings. Now, Robert believed and I agreed with him, the live archive recordings would be hard to sell in sufficient numbers to justify putting them on CDs. And this is one of the most popular and most established artists in our genre! The effect of file sharing, and the "music must be free" mentality, has made it harder for artists to sell enough CDs to pay for the cost of pressing the discs, let alone any big profit. So the Robert Rich live archive recordings are download-only, even though Robert would like to have them on CD and there are many listeners (though probably not enough) who would like to have them on CD too.
You keep saying people should "get a job" and that's ignorant of you, because most of us DO have jobs -- label owners and ambient musicians alike -- because there is not much money to be made from selling our music. I understand that in your idealized utopian vision, all artists would gladly work hard to buy equipment and record music to be released for free, but the reality, not the dream, is that many artists will not participate in the vision you propose. If artists must bear the cost of buying all their own equipment and instruments without any possibility of getting something in return, some of them won't bother, and all of us who would have been willing to buy their CD will have lost out on that artist's work.
The thing is, it's not up to YOU to decide whether or not an artist or label can charge for their work. The work belongs to them, not you, and they get to decide. If you assert that you can overrule their decision, that's just because you want something for free and you're inventing a rationalization after the fact to justify your own selfishness.
It is not totally true, according to Robert Rich himself,...
So why did I wait so long to release some of this music? Well, it’s because of the realities of digital download. Back when a “release” meant a CD, and several thousand dollars invested in manufacturing, marketing, packaging and such, I wanted to keep my releases limited to the latest work. But in retrospect, some of these more improvisational moments of the past have value on their own, as action instead of object, like dance relates to sculpture. The download format also allows for longer durations. Manufactured CDs shouldn’t exceed 74 minutes. Some of these sets were 80-90 minutes long. Even now I faced a challenge to edit them down to an 80 minute CDR-capable format, so people could back-up their lossless downloads.
The reality is the artist is no longer in power to decide to take charge for music or not since they do no longer have monopoly in distribution, consumers now have a choice, either to download it for free or buy the cd and maybe wait 1-2 weeks before you receive the cd, the choice is up to you.
Too survive on music is only a dream for most artists, you can't be a "rockstar" anymore..that time is over... only a very few of all artists have the opportunity to survive on their music, and those who do usually work hard...long tours etc... as I said, cd sales only generates pocket money for the independent artists, you can't surrive on that shit, unless you do live shows, and sell shirts etc. And to produce and record music in your home studio is now something everyone can do. Personally I have plants to Norway in a few months to work like a dog for 10 weeks if I get the job..that is...when I come home I will be able to buy everything I want, finally the Eventide Processor a pair of studio monitors. Then I have all I need to create music and I am all happy, I have however no plans to survive on my "music" or get money for it... I create music for my own personal pleasure.