I would ask everyone who visits my blog (especially those who are looking for download links) to read it, as it is AT THE VERY LEAST food for thought. Check out the rest of this post to read it.
I try not to be a moralistic preacher. Heaven knows, I've made bad decisions. I'm a flawed person, same as everyone else. It does me no good to point fingers, when I'm often no better than others in a situation.
Several comments on my blog have been from people who ask for links to download material (and these requests are often accompanied by unverified names / accounts / anonymous tags, so people can't be identified ... suggesting that folks making these requests know they're doing something unethical and illegal).
I am not judging anyone for doing these things. When I was in college, I had access to Napster before it got cracked down on and later became a pay service. I took advantage of it. Everyone did. Then there came links to bootlegs (unreleased materials, like The Beach Boys' "SMiLE" album, and commercially unreleased live materials from groups like The Beatles, Weezer, Nirvana, etc.). I understand the impulse to download music, to fulfill desires ... or just to experience stuff.
As I've gotten older and become a bit more responsible, I've also put a lot of money into music. I buy a lot of new CDs and vinyl records. I download from iTunes and Amazon. And I visit my independent music store a few times a month, putting money into a business that makes music its priority. I try to put my money where my mouth is ... I try to support the people creating the music I love so much. Ask my wife, our house is packed with enough music to stock a respectable library.
Certainly, there are people I've interacted with who used downloads, liked what they heard and then PAID for copies of things. From a practical standpoint (not necessarily a legal one), that's fantastic. In some cases, especially in the bad economy, I can even understand the practical approach of that process. In the end, at least the music gets paid for and the artists get compensated. Their work, which they've put out there to be consumed, gets paid for then. They get to pay bills. Cover rent. Eat. Clothe themselves. Take care of their families. Get health care. Previews that lead to payment seem practical, and benefits the artist properly.
That practice seems to be fairly rare, however, on the grand scale of things. There's a lot of uploading/downloading of commercially available music, and nothing gets paid back to the artists in these situations. This DOES hurt the creative folks that we are so eager to hear. Sure, it has impact on the companies and the process itself (and everyone likes to rebel against "the man," right?). But those companies, and the process, don't operate in a vacuum. When their bottom lines take a hit, the artists get hit too.
The article that I'm going to provide below takes a look at the situation, after being sparked by a post on an NPR blog about an intern who admitted to having 11,000 songs in her music library ... though she estimated she's only paid for 15 albums in her life. Those numbers are pretty stunning, though I'm sure it's becoming all too common.
Please, understand that I am not scolding. I'm not judging. I appreciate and share your love for music and musicians. It's some fulfilling art. It can make you dance and shout. It can make you scream. It can make you cry. It can comfort you in times of loss. It can support you when you need help. Music is important. It's vital. And it deserves fair compensation.
So, without further ado:
(From The Trichordist, YOU CAN READ THE ENTRY HERE)