Alright. So its been so long I’ve almost forgotten how to post. School is really getting the better of me, guys…
Anyway, tonight at dinner the subject came up of illegal music downloads…aka when people rip songs off the internet and don’t pay for them. Now, the obvious response is that any sort of taking things without paying is illegal, the end.
but to 95% of people, is it really that black and white? Everyone can see that the music industry is barely swimming, and free music is prevalent everywhere you turn. Even major stars are hopping on the bandwagon, issuing CDs for whatever you want to pay or just straight up saying that they’re cool with free downloads. And fans start to rationalize, Why pay when you can get it for free? what if it is only one song you’re after, and not a whole CD? What if you know you’ll never get caught? It gets harder and harder to use self control. even if I do decide to pay for a CD, it costs $15. dude. I can easily buy that same CD online for half that cost.
Record labels haven’t lowered the price of CDs in the last 20 years. That alone was a shot in the foot when the internet came around. Secondly, Myspace and other sites started popping up, people could easily listen for free there. And then Ruckus, a site that allows you to download songs onto your computer (for free), but doesn’t allow you to copy them onto a disc. Now here we have people in the industry who are telling us that free music is the future. We’re told that the record companies are failing because of free downloads, yet somehow we’re also being told simultaneously that this is a good thing. In many ways, it It forces artists to get more inventive and creative, to step up their work, and prove to us why we should buy their album. Since we get to hear samples before we ever go into a record store, we know whether it is something worth buying or not. No surprises here. This makes for better songs, better album art, better packaging…and people will buy if they think it’s the real deal. I promise.
Ok, here is another scenario. my brother likes Iron Maiden. he has bought every Iron Maiden CD there is. Knowing nothing about them,I would never buy an Iron Maiden CD, simply based on first impression…they have an ugly monster on their covers and sing about war. whatever. But because he has allowed me to copy two of his CDs, I’ve started to see they aren’t so bad. If they were to issue another CD in the future, maybe i would buy it (actually, no i wouldn’t…but for the sake of the example…). If not for this “illegal” sharing I would never be tempted to buy an Iron Maiden CD, ever. thus, they’ve already got $15 from me they wouldn’t have got otherwise. Same goes for so many other bands I love. So many bands I would never have discovered otherwise, but now look…I buy their shirts, I go to concerts. I write a blog post to promote them. I join their street teams. I get their posters and hang them up around town. They’ve made more money off of me from that than they would have had I just bought a CD.
Now, I don’t think the “free music revolution” is going to last forever. The number of lawsuits is enough to hint that someone definitely cares and is willing to put the effort into ending this. However. For now, it is here. Its hard to avoid, and I would bet that most internet-users have downloaded illegally in some shape or form. Its getting uncontrollable.
I feel like I need to clarify one more time…I don’t think illegal downloading is the right choice. I think it is stealing no matter how you try to justify yourself. But, as we move into the future…it gets more and more hazy.
So I guess my question is, where do you draw the line? I know this topic is about beaten into the ground, but what do you think? should changes be made in the laws to make them less severe? Or do you just think it isn’t any big deal?