Monday, October 17, 2005

Downloading and sharing music? You can't make me feel guilty!

Essay writing is a hard chore, at least for me, but one thing I always enjoyed was that out of a seemingly inconclusive essay question, a long string of subsequent questions come along for me to research. Sometimes it’s just something I leave until the very end or find myself burning the midnight oil, just because I enjoyed researching the subject.

When I researched for the “Digital Music” essay question I thought that I might be finding myself in a support group and say “Hi, my name is Christian and I download music illegally” or that I would even find websites condemning illegal music download because the artists are missing out and we are just ripping them off.

Well, what I found out was that many in the music industry (and I mean here the ones involved artistically and not crunching numbers) seem to be pretty neutral or in some cases even support the sharing of music via P2P networks. Hang on a second, aren’t they the ones who seem to be missing out? Just for this post I assume that most music has been recorded in a studio and was produced by a record label. As a side note Fat Freddy’s Drop latest album was produced and distributed independently hence I would consider it immoral to download their album. And of course I would never download New Zealand music.

Worldwide the musical economy seems to be in the stranglehold of the Big Five corporations. They, in my mind, serve the purpose of making profits to their shareholders and not the advancement of musical recording or finding exciting new talent. They want to make us feel sorry for them as 9 out of 10 records loose money and only 10% are making a profit? However, for what I found, the 10% is still making them big bucks. So if I download music illegally who is missing out? Who is getting paid when I fork out $35 (my taste in music is mostly never found at The Warehouse or EMC Music) for that new CD? The fantastic website of the Future of Music Coalition has a great article online.

Whilst writing my essay I have discovered a lot of new information, which were new to me, and while I am not advocating downloading music through P2P networks I do not feel guilty anymore. In fact if I find an album I like, I check out who was responsible for bringing this album to the market and if its one of the Big Five I do not bother buying the real CD. I haven’t seen or heard of any credible musician who sided with the record labels (unless you call Lars Ulrich from Metallica et al credible and then I recommend watching “Some kind of monster”) and pointed towards P2P networks as the downfall to the musical economy.

Its a big subject and when I wrote the essay I could have written 10,000 words and then I still wouldn't have made any conclusions. But without wanting to sound like a Sycophant, I did enjoy writing this essay in the end but that good feeling might change as soon as I get it back marked ;-)

P.S. Here again a summary of some interesting websites:
Fort Culture
The Future of Music Coalition
Downhill Battle
plus all the websites Nabeel gave us


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