Steve’s Media Blog

Music Piracy: Is It Worth It?

Posted on: October 30, 2008

Obviously, the biggest risk with downloading music illegally is the potential risk of getting sued by the music industry.  It doesn’t happen to everyone, but from the reports throughout the media it would seem like a high percentage of people are getting caught with their pants down (because they’re probably downloading a lot of their music in their pj’s right?).  For some people, that risk alone is enough to deter them from stealing music.

Others ponder about what happens to the smaller artists (i.e., non-top 40).  You might not feel guilty about downloading the latest Britney Spears album (it’s called Circus, by the way), but you feel guilty about finding a torrent for Joel Plaskett (check out his awesome album Ashtray Rock).  It’s essentially a double standard, but I think in some cases it is a “legitimate” double standard.  Britney’s getting her money regardless – but poor Joel might not, and his income depends on people actually buying his albums.   Then again if everybody uses that viewpoint, nobody buys Britney’s album and she’s in the same boat as Joel.  Maybe that’s a good thing? (Disclaimer: I just picked Joel Plaskett because he was the first artist that came to mind, I’m trying not to be too specific)

I think a big reason to buy the real thing is because lately, CD packaging has become a lot more fun to discover.  I remember I thought it was pretty cool that Beck supplied you with the album artwork in sticker form and let you decorate the jewel case.  Other CDs are just plain cool.

Anyway, lately I’ve been wanting to buy music rather than find illegal sources for it.  I find that I get more excited about a specific CD because I’m watching my money so I don’t buy them right away.  I end up not listening to it ahead of time because I haven’t downloaded it, so I really look forward to the album when I do end up buying it.

As for downloading music, I still do it – but only with legal sources.  Some great places I’ve found include betterPropaganda – which includes some border-line mainstream stuff FOR FREE – as well as finding unknown artists from Jamendo.  Check out my post yesterday to find a large list of links for more free music (that’s legal).

In the meantime, I highly recommend buying your CDs over downloading.  I think it’s more rewarding.  It almost feels like I’ve grown up a bit.


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