posted on Oct, 19 2009 @ 09:14 AM
I agree that there's no excuse for illegal downloading. I've done it in the past, admittedly, and my reasons were that I wanted to hear what an
album from a particular artist sounded like before buying it. So I dowloaded a couple of tracks, decided I liked it and bought the album, became a
fan, paid to see them on tour, and bought their next album. A lot of people say the same thing to justify their actions.
While that may seem like justification for doing it, I don't think the argument holds anymore, and I wouldn't download music illegally now. With
artists now putting their music on myspace, spotify etc, a consumer can hear what the music is like and make an informed decision on whether to buy
without breaking the law. There is simply no excuse for stealing music now.
Right now the biggest losers to illegal downloading are new artists. Becasue the record industry is not making much money now from recordings, the
nature of recording contracts has altered, much to the disadvantage of the new artist. Instead of the standard record deal, we now have the '360'
deal, whereby the record label takes not only its cut of record sales revenue, but also a cut of live performance revenue, merchandise revenue, image
rights, and any or all other streams of revenue. With the artist desperate to break into the industry, the label has all the bargaining power, and
artists get screwed much harder than they used to. Labels are also now much less willing to gamble, or invest in an artist; gone are the days where a
band can get a 200 grand deal on the strength of their material, they will now get just enough to cover costs, and the label will also have a clause
where it has to recoup all costs of recording before it is liable to pay a penny to the artist. Effectively the artist now only gets a cut of the pure
profit, not the revenue as before.
Ultimately, the biggest losers will be the average music fans. With less artists getting signed, there will be less diversity and volume of music for
people to buy, with a worst-case-nightmare scenario of only the most inoffensive, safe, MOR, mainstream acts ever getting deals/airplay/exposure. Then
again this might well, in turn, re-invogorate underground music scenes, and spur on a wave of unbridled creativity and a new golden age of
counter-culture!! Who knows? Only time will tell, but the whole thing is currently a mess, and is largely down to people stealing music, but also down
to the record industry's failiure to adapt to the challenges of the digital revolution.