I understand fully all the legal consequences and moral implications of illegal downloading, but I strongly feel this is a battle that will never be won. You can
monitor our IP addresses on the daily, order subpeonas for appearances in court, limit our internet usage, and fine us to the point that we all have to file
bankruptcy, but honestly, are these measures actually deterring the crime or increasing it? The recording industry and several media outlets like to cover the dark
side of illegal downloading, but there are also some positives to be considered.
For instance, illegal downloading is great for struggling artists who are trying to make a name for themselves. Sure, sure, there’s the counterargument concerning
major artists, but look at it this way: People that actually care about music (and rest assured our generation puts a HUGE emphasis on the importance of music. Don’t
believe me? Just take a good look at all the people toting aroudn iPods around the city.) will find SOME way to contribute to the artist’s salary. We may illegally
download a song, an album, or an entire discography, but we reciprocate this by purchasing concert tickets, attending live performances, buying miscellaneous
merchandise/memorabilia, and telling our friends about the artists we listen to–hello free advertising! Let’s not forget to mention what those small struggling
artists do for the recording industry. Sooner or later, these smaller artists are going to produce a sizable amount of listeners and followers. What does this mean?
This means, that those once struggling artists are now on the market for a record label to record the artist’s songs and distribute them to the masses as they see fit.
Additionally, they’re going to need publicisits, managers, sound technicians… see where I’m going with this? There is money to be made even if the recording industry
If the recording industry seriously intends to battle illegal downloading, they should probably reconsider their business model and change the way they choose to
market their music. Music affficiandos will always appreciate having a tangible object that they can display in their homes and have just in case their computer
crashes (trust me, I’ve lost my music collection several times, it really sucks, but lucky for me I have the albums shacked away somewhere in my closet).
There was a GREAT marketing gimmick that Radiohead did back in 2007 when they released their album, “In Rainbows” that worked beautifully. The band chose to distribute
their album electronically for a price that the fans could choose. Some opted to pay nothing, while others made contributions as little as a penny for the album up to
about $20 for the album.
There has been a lot of speculation about whether Radiohead’s release of their last “album” on a pay-what-you-want basis worked out. Only 40% of users paid for it. Did they stumble trying to sidestep the tradiitonal channels?
This month’s Wired has an interview between Thom Yorke and David Byrne (looking oh so wizened).
“Q: Are you making money on the download of In Rainbows?
A: In terms of digital income, we’ve made more money out of this record than out of all the other Radiohead albums put together, forever – in terms of anything on the Net. And that’s nuts. It’s partly due to the fact that EMI wasn’t giving us any money for digital sales. All the contracts signed in a certain era have none of that stuff.” (http://johnbell.typepad.com/weblog/2007/12/did-radiohead-s.html)
Enough said, I could go on forever on this subject. I think a great anaology for this issue can be illustrated as thus: Illegal downloading is like the war on drugs, you may be able to apprehend a handful of people, but you cannot catch us all. We will find a way around the system. :p