Illegal downloading of music is nothing new, and frankly, I’m sure every one of us has done it before. In fact, way too many people are taking money from artists these days and the truth is most people don’t feel that bad about it, either.
I’m a proponent of giving the artist credit where credit is due. There is a lot of creative genius that goes into writing, recording, producing and perfecting music. It is something that we as a society treasure.
So what makes it all right for an individual to personally decide that the artist no longer deserves to make money off of their music? We rationalize that they already make ridiculous amounts of money, and so they no longer deserve to get paid. “Oh Beyoncé is like a billionaire anyway. She really doesn’t need the money.” This logic is flawed.
Maybe it’s not just our logic that is flawed, but our understanding of piracy laws as well. Have you ever made a mixtape for a friend? Well, it just so happens that this act is online copyright infringement, according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The recording artist (and everyone else who gets a cut from the legal music download) will lose out money because the friend who receives the mixtape will not buy the song himself. In fact, there’s nothing stopping him from taking that burned CD and distributing it to 15 more people.
Personally, I enjoy my music a lot more when I know that I’ve paid for it, and when I’ve compensated the artist the way that they specified. If you respect the artist and all the energy and passion that goes into their music, then you should also be willing to pay the full price for the song.
According to the RIAA, music theft is devastating to the people who work to bring their songs to the public ear. What the average music thief doesn’t think about is who he or she is impacting and how.
There are many different jobs that go into bringing one song out in the open. For instance, there are publishers, producers, song writers, audio engineers and recording artists who all share in the production of one song.
So when an individual decides to download a song without paying, he is taking money out of the pockets of working-class Americans who are struggling along with everybody else to provide a living.
We just aren’t thinking about the repercussions of our seemingly harmless, yet fraudulent, music downloads.
On the surface, it seems like a win-win situation for everyone involved. You got your music for free, and the artist is a musician, so he must make millions anyway.
No harm done, right?
Wrong. Because it isn’t just one person participating in music theft, it’s everybody. It has become the moral epidemic of our generation.