A tough question. Without a doubt, downloads are now a part of the age in which we live. For some of the older members here, we can all remember making cassette tapes of albums, and nobody said too much about piracy then. Although the modern dissemination of media, with high speed internet, barely makes it an argument of comparison. Back then, you still had to have mates who owned the albums you were pirating, or be part of a tape-trading scene (such as the underground metal movement in the ‘80’s).
Flash forward to 2009 - I can download a couple of dozen albums and a few movies overnight if I wished to do. In fact, because my hard drive recently ceased to work, I did just that. However i don’t think Deep Purple are going to miss the royalties I’ve deprived them of LOL.
As I mentioned elsewhere, the real damage, the ultimate in questionable ethics, is downloading music from up & coming artists, or career underground bands who simply don’t have the high rotation on MTV, the page-space in Rolling Stone or the radio airplay.
So how do we stop piracy, or minimise the impact on artists who are struggling, and need that couple of dollars per album sale to keep the dream alive? It appears that the beast cannot be stopped; take a look at the ongoing legal saga with Pirate Bay. The answer perhaps lay in the motives behind people who illegally download.
Anyone care to share their reasons for downloading? Don’t be shy about it… unless you have downloaded Ineffable… then your IP address will be logged and Raja will come over and break your kneecaps LOL.
For me, it’s multi-faceted, in no particular order of importance:
1. It’s easy for me to look for complete discographies of music I already own on CD, rather than piss around burning each of them (I have A LOT of CD’s).
2. It’s nice to revisit a lot of the old stuff I listened to in my younger years, of which i used to own the albums (I used to own A LOT of vinyl)
3. It’s very satisfying to download Metallica, then send them an email telling them I’ve done so. The thought of Little Lars dancing around in his bathtub of money after he reads my message truly humours me.
4. Less often, but it’s nice to download a band’s album in the week prior to going to a gig where they are supporting. It dictates whether it’s worth popping in early or staying at the pub down the road before the band I’m interested in (and not always the headliner - sometimes i only go to see the support bands). Added bonus - if they’re cool I buy their CD at the gig… money straight into their pocket, with less middle men taking their pound of flesh. I like it, I buy it straight from the source. Simple.
5. The ‘taste-test’. I don’t love the entire genre of, let’s say ‘electro psy’ and all it’s tentacles, but the stuff I have found is spectacularly mind-blowing. So I don’t feel comfortable buying 20 crap CD’s (IMO) just to find that I really dig Phutureprimitive. However to download a wide cross section of the genre, I can review much more, and direct my spending habits to reflect my taste.
6. Sometimes I simply think that a band is already raping society via their label, and they don’t deserve my money, so I’ll download an album, enjoy it immensely, and jerk off to their Wikipedia page while madly cackling and pointing my tool at their bio shot.
I just realised that after such a big & pointless post, I didn’t get any closer to expressing a solution to the issue. Ah well, maybe next time.