Stealing is wrong. Fine. But the issue of piracy runs deeper than just stealing. The big record companies charge a ridiculous amount of money for music. Half the time most of the money goes to them and not the artist anyway. So it’s difficult to justify spending a lot of money on music. But that’s the standard now, so what are we supposed to do? If we can get it for free on the internet, the artist is still having their music heard. People will still pay to see them perform live, and there is still an interest in them. If anything, more people will be privy to music they otherwise wouldn’t hear, which could perhaps enlarge their fan bases.
But of course, I’m not a musician. I think bands like Radiohead did it right. They released their 2007 album In Rainbows online, and you could purchase it for as much or as little as you wanted. After some time, then it was released in music stores and on iTunes for the regular price. It’s a good idea to offer your fans your music for as much as they think it’s worth or want to contribute. Because hey, they’re still millionaires!
But what about new artists? Piracy still isn’t so bad. I’m much less inclined to buy an album by someone I don’t know. I know if I could listen to it for free, there is a greater chance I may become a fan, because there’s no downside to listening to it.
I know a lot of my friends download torrents. I personally enjoy album art. I enjoy holding something tangible. But I’m not the majority anymore, and I can’t blame them.