Wednesday, September 23rd 2009
The Truth: Miscellaneous
The fight (not necessarily an unstoppable force) against the immovable object that is P2P downloading has provided fodder for what could easily become a regular series on Antiquiet. There’s certainly a great deal of interest among passionate music fans, worldwide, for these topics and several others related.
I think it’s time to go a little further than simply pointing and laughing.
I wish I didn’t have to provide this disclaimer, but I should, given my reputation and the oversight of this site by certain interested parties: I buy music. A lot of it. I pay for it with actual money. I have removed myself personally from the P2P equation. I’ve gone straight.
Obviously, I have a lot of respect for artists. Antiquiet is irrefutable evidence of this. But that’s nothing new. A few years ago, with all the respect for artists in the world, I conducted myself exactly how many of our readers do: I downloaded quite often to sample, as I simply could not afford ‘blind buys,’ nor have I ever had a snowball’s chance in a microwave at simply kicking what can only be described as a hopeless addiction to good music.
All that’s really changed is that I can now afford to take a lot more chances, and I get a lot of music sent to me for free by publicists that want me to talk about it.
But let’s look at this behavior that’s supposedly ruining the music industry.
As many of our readers do now, once upon a time I downloaded, and with not the slightest bit of remorse; I would just look at piles of CDs, ticket stubs, and t-shirts I had spent countless last dollars on. I watched those piles grow exponentially when the number of bands I liked grew beyond the seven on the radio to the hundreds and ultimately thousands that could be found on MP3 trading forums. And that’s one bone of contention in the argument: Those who download say they directly, financially support artists they like (and might otherwise never have discovered) in one form or many others, with many examples handy.
But what if they don’t like what they downloaded, and they don’t purchase? Or what if they liked it just enough to keep it, but couldn’t quite afford to pay the $10 for what is essentially nothing more than a license they know no one’s ever going to check? Or maybe they can’t afford the $30 ticket that becomes $65 after “convenience fees.” These people are the alleged thieves. These are the people being blamed for the downfall of the industry.
In their defense, they say they only avoided a purchase that wasn’t going to happen anyway, and not buying is not exactly stealing. Maybe it is. Or maybe we have piles of research proving that they’re not harming anyone at all in any way, shape or form. Regardless, it’s a moot point. The people buying and the people stealing, by and large, they’re the same people. They’re the people that care enough about music to pay for it when they can, steal it when they can’t, and spread the word to others either way.
We’ve raised this point before, and it’s been questioned. It’s one of those things that’s hard to prove or accurately quantify. People say that they buy what they download and like, but do they really?
According to the RIAA, they do.