Over the years I’ve spent a lot of time talking to advocates on both sides of the fence. Some that wish people couldn’t have their music without some sort of commercial “transaction” (payment, email address, a social media endorsement etc) and others that feel that “if I can download it, cool. I don’t see how this is costing anyone anything.”
The reality is that the activity DOES have a cost. Beyond the monetary implications it makes it difficult for hard working artists and bands to do what they do. There is a segment of the artist/band talent pool that has to exist off of music sales alone. They don’t tour much (ex. family reasons, jobs etc) so they aren’t able to sell merch and so forth. If those artists aren’t seeing enough support to pay for recording, mixing, mastering, replication of CDs and other necessary costs of bringing an album to market… they get discouraged and give up the ghost. Rare are the jack-of-all-trades artists that can do everything in house and absorb the costs through their own time.
It’s a shame. I personally know dozens of people in this situation that had to quit doing music entirely because they were essentially robbed of their ability to do so.
This goes even a bit deeper and in a broader context. Read this article (Legal or Illegal Download Costs: Which Can You Afford?). It’s an interesting analysis of what clicking that download link means.
Another article I read recently is on point:
“The Internet could easily stop this situation but there are darker farces at work and the value of music hits rock bottom. It should be up to the musician if they want to give their work away for free and many do. The days of the fifteen quid CD are, thankfully over. It was a hideous format and somebody was making a lot of money from it but there has to be some sort of bottom line as many creative people are giving up and releasing new music becomes a pointless exercise.” (louderthanwar.com)
My hope is that you continue to support your favorite acts by purchasing their music. If you cannot legitimately afford to buy music, enjoy the free music they release or use some sort of streaming service that they offer. Share the word amongst your friends about your favorites.
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