Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I Don’t Steal Music and that’s How I Rebel

By Chris McGinty (AccordingToWhim.com)

I think sometimes that when society shifts a certain way that it’s society’s duty to stop and shift back. Two decades ago, the internet became a household thing. The early days were a little rough. I used to half-assed joke that the internet was useless. It was entertainment, sure, but it was not the tool it is today. A little over a decade ago, file sharing became a trend. There was likely file sharing going on already between people who had web space or a server of their own, but peer to peer brought it to the public, the way that everything eventually gets to the public.

Unfortunately, around the same time, the music industry started experiencing a dip in sales. What happens often when something goes wrong at your workplace and the blame can’t be traced directly back to any one person or group of people? An outside influence is blamed. Peer to peer was the scapegoat. There could have been any number of reasons or influences, but the music industry started a multi-million dollar campaign to blame peer to peer for their multi-million dollar losses. The problem is that while parts of the music industry were losing money, there were parts that were still profiting.

In subsequent years, those who embraced the internet as the new marketplace thrived. Those who did not continued throwing money at the problem of losing money. People were sued for monetary amounts that didn’t equal the crime of stealing x number of CDs, but there were still ads that equated downloading music to petty theft. Nevermind that we hear most music for free, sometimes hundreds of times, before we buy it. I still own nothing by Boston in spite of the thousands of times I’ve listened to their music. They are a band that I enjoy hearing on the radio, not a band that I wish to listen to often. Heck, even in the days when I downloaded music, I never downloaded Boston. And yet, I think they’re a great band.

The point is that the music industry pushed the truest fans of music away by not letting us preview the bands we enjoyed. I never stopped buying CDs. I’ve bought 10 CDs this year alone. I listen to most music on You Tube, Pandora, Playlist though, even albums I own. Why? Because I’m on my computer or my phone more often than I’m driving in my car now. Also, because those websites are ad based, and I don’t acquire copies of what I listen to.

I decided when SOPA was a thing that I would play by the music industry’s rules, but I would give them less of my money. I’ve always bought used, but I’ve stepped it up now. The ten CDs cost me $1. Not a piece. $1 total. I download music still, but I download from artists who offer their music for free. There are bands out there that make little to no money, sometimes losing money, to present their music to the public. Let’s listen to them for a while. Sure, the music industry will continue to blame the internet as long as they lose money, but someday when the stop blaming and start adapting, they will make more money than they thought was possible.

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