What’s an idea or a magic secret actually worth? After all, if you think about it, without a steady flow of both, magic would gradually wither away, because it is the creation of new ways to do things and fresh types of magic that keeps us all interested and paying attention.
Given that magic cannot exist without its secrets, I find it surprising that there are some magicians who do not seem to truly value these essential core elements. They seem to think that HOW something is done is less important than the clever little gizmo that actually helps to get the magic done.
You only have to wander round a convention dealer room and consider the prices of some of the products to understand where the perceived value lies. Performers will often pay substantial amounts for a few pieces of card which need to be assembled into some gimmick or other, whereas if you asked them to pay the same amount just to learn the actual secret, they probably wouldn’t want to part with their cash.
I have always felt that a good method or secret is far more valuable to a magician than the props needed to perform it. It’s not easy to come up with practical, magical effects and methods, sometimes it can take years! The eventual solution to the magical problem might be simple, but the value to the performer is enshrined in that simplicity, and rather than elicit a “oh, is that all it is?” from the performer, there should instead be an understanding and appreciation of the thinking behind it.
A lot of magic secrets are given away to anyone who is prepared to watch them on YouTube. People who often have no right to be revealing the ideas in the first place, set themselves up as a sort of modern day Masked Magician, someone who just seeks to expose the secrets with no thought for the way that this devalues the original thought and development that may gone into the material.
If something is free, more often than not it is not valued very much by the recipient. Whereas something that they have to pay for, is seen as being more important. So that is why I think that ideas should be paid for and not handed out like confetti to anyone who asks for them. If you pay for a concept or method, the chances are you will respect and value it more, and that to me only seems right.
That is why my online magic club E-Club Pro has a membership fee. I spend hours every month creating and assembling material, ideas and advice and after 9 years of constant development, a hugely substantial database of magic and information has been assembled. I am truly proud of the content as I think it is of undoubted value to magicians of all types and levels of interest, and I am only prepared to reveal it all to those who see the value in the ideas.
Fortunately, E-Club Pro has plenty of members who hail from all different parts of the world, and some of them have been with me from the very beginning. I am pleased to have these magicians as part of the club, because instead of trying to trawl the internet for snippets of random free information, they understand the benefit of organised, professional advice and magic, and are happy to pay the modest monthly membership fee to receive it. You see, they DO know the value of a secret.