This is a post about pirates and music. They do, in fact, correlate.
When I see a status, tweet, or post beginning with something along the lines of “Where is the best site to download free music from?” inquiring advice from fellow pirates (argggh), I want to respond: “If you pay 99 cents for a song, you’ll probably listen to it for a longer period of time AND you have the added bonus of knowing that your money is paying the various hardworking people who created that song.”
You see, I have used Limewire in the past. I do believe the last time I used any site to download “shared” music illegally, I was at the ripe age of 13. My desktop was infected by quite a virus, and ironically I lost all of the music, photos and saved documents. Karma bites hard, I suppose. I knew from that incident on that I would never trust these so-called friendly sites encouraging users to upload and share music. (Commonly referred to as peer-to-peer; I love euphemisms.)
The music industry has gone through some incredibly significant changes. I would argue that the most significant ones have a common thread–the creation of the Internet. Now, peer-to-peer has basically vanished. There are new ways to steal music. There is no euphemism for a thief, which is why I will refer to people who insist on illegally downloading/storing music as thefts.
Woah, statistics are following! (Watch out kids!)
- Since peer-to-peer (p2p) file-sharing site Napster emerged in 1999, music sales in the U.S. have dropped 53 percent, from $14.6 billion to $7.0 billion in 2011.
- From 2004 through 2009 alone, approximately 30 billion songs were illegally downloaded on file-sharing networks.
- NPD reports that only 37 percent of music acquired by U.S. consumers in 2009 was paid for.
- According to the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, the digital theft of music, movies and copyrighted content takes up huge amounts of Internet bandwidth – 24 percent globally, and 17.5 percent in the U.S.
- Digital storage locker downloads constitute 7 percent of all Internet traffic, while 91 percent of the links found on them were for copyrighted material, and 10 percent of those links were to music specifically, according to a 2011 Envisional study.
The above stats are courtesy of the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America)
I have heard quite a few arguments about the issue of piracy. The main defense of the problem that I have heard from peers is (for example) most of the money an average person pays for one album will never be seen by the artist because there are so many people who have a cut of the profit from that individual album.
I call bull shit. In fact, this is reinforcing a problem that those who do pay for entire iTunes albums, tangible CDs or even records have to pay double. CDs are more expensive and iTunes charges $1.29 for well-knows songs. Another problem faced by those who love seeing their favorite artist(s) live is the amount for each ticket. It’s hard to come by a show that costs less than $20. In reality, if you’re keeping up with me, devoted listeners and fans are required to pay double to compensate for those who pay nothing. It’s piracy, it’s illegal and it can mean potential jail time/serious fines.
I guess people are willing to take their chances regardless. I’d rather pay my respect to artists I appreciate.