Just when you think you’ve heard every trick in the choosing beggars‘ book, a creative comes forward and shares more absurd tactics these people use to get free stuff and services. This time, it’s Jamie Mathias.

A few days ago, the UK-based musician posted the exchanges he has had with people who believe that exposure is the best payment and demanded that he create (and sometimes fly to another country to perform) original songs for free.

“I’ve been a singer-songwriter for around 10 years, releasing several of my own tracks (either self-released or through indie-labels), with a couple of my singles charting,” Mathias told Bored Panda. “This brought me a half-decent following across platforms and then around 5-6 years ago, I decided to write bespoke songs for other people.”

Usually, it’s composing a wedding song for a special moment during the ceremony, like a speech or the first dance. “The demand has grown exponentially which means I receive a lot of enquiries,” the musician said. “Most from very reasonable people but as you can see, some from people who expect the world for nothing.”

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Musician Jamie Mathias decided to share the ridiculous conversations he’s had with opportunistic people who wanted him to work for free

And there’s no shortage of them


Mathias thinks one of the reasons why he gets these requests is the fact that he doesn’t really advertise his prices anywhere and because many people don’t have a benchmark to compare his services to. And there’s so much that goes into them!

“Creating a bespoke song for someone starts with a conversation where I can gain more of an understanding as to what they want,” Jamie introduced the process. “Because I write them for a variety of reasons, this can really differ. On the wedding side of things, it’s working out whether they want it to be more on the funny or romantic side, how it’s going to be used, and then I send out a guide which helps them with the information that I’m going to need from them.”


He does, however, write songs about other things too (like the loss of loved ones), “which need to be handled really delicately and almost put me in the shoes of the person who is grieving, which is really tough, and make sure I have the right info I need,” he continued. “Once I have this, I then start piecing it together and write the song making sure I have included the things that are most important to them. Once completed, I then send them a studio version of the song and if they want to make any changes to it, they are free to. I then travel all over the country or even the world to perform it.”

Image credits: JamieMathias


Author Len Cristobal thinks another reason why creative work is often undervalued rises from distance.

“People rarely see artists, their sleeves rolled up and hunched over a desk, studying various elements of design, principles, software, methods, materials, trends, histories, and relevant industries in order to hone their craft, find opportunities where their skill set is needed, and produce sensible artwork,” she wrote. “There are people who believe that artists deserve low pay because their work does not require technical skills — as if art is produced solely by impulse, vanity, or some internal dissonance.”

But it might also have to do something with human nature. Not just our crooked understanding of each other. Psychologist and decision researcher Eva Krockow, Ph.D., said people experience a pleasant high after receiving a freebie in an expensive world where we frequently have to pay even for visiting a public toilet.

Whatever the reason might be, Mathias isn’t receiving such requests every day, but they remain regular and still blow his mind every time he receives one. Only with less negative emotion than before. “Ultimately, I got to the point where I don’t get angry at all anymore; I just like to have fun with them,” he explained. “I realized that by doing that and posting them online, I get way more ‘exposure’ than I would have done from doing their booking, and I get to enjoy it in the process!”


Many creatives and ordinary folk related to Jamie’s thread

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