To be honest, I have not done very much in terms of purchasing music in the last several years. Ever since I discovered ways to get music for free, that has usually been the avenue I have taken in terms of downloading songs and or albums.
While I realize this may not be the most ethically responsible way of downloading music, the simple fact is that it has been so prominent since I was young, the idea of paying to download music seems outrageous in it’s own right. The ease with which music can be downloaded for free makes it seem like normal practice, therefore rendering the idea of paying for downloads somewhat insane.
In terms of copyright infringement and things of that nature, that is where problems can arise. It it widely known that downloading music for free is illegal, however the majority of individuals (at least those I know anyway) do it and have never had any problems whatsoever. The greater issue is the moral aspect, in my opinion, knowing that it is essentially a form of stealing and therefore someone on the other end of the spectrum is being “ripped off” in a sense. Although this dilemma could be taken care of if everyone were to agree to pay for their music, the fact remains that just does not seem like it will be the case anytime soon.
In terms of the recording industry and ways to combat illegal downloading, it is tough to find solutions to this problem. It seems as if the only solutions come not from trying to prevent illegal downloading, but rather to find ways to appease customers in a way that would prevent them for requiring illegal downloads. For example, if artists were to lower the costs of CD’s or albums, it may encourage fans and consumers to purchase it legally rather than resorting to illegal means. The fact that prices for individual songs and albums are high, especially relative to the option of getting it for free, makes it so that the decision for circumvent the system is much more appealing.
Another option could be for the music industry to simply acknowledge the act of piracy that occurs on a frequent basis and to work in conjunction with these top end places for their mutual benefits. If they were to split the difference between the costs and charge consumers for downloads on these piracy sites, both sides could benefit while eliminating the act of piracy altogether.
A third option for attempting to eliminate the piracy of music could be for places like iTunes (where people are expected to pay for their music) to offer promotions and other gifts in conjunction with paying for downloads. If they were to increase the perceived benefits of paying for downloads, it could encourage people to use their route of downloading more frequently and therefore eliminate some pirating in return.
While none of these particular options are likely to eliminate piracy altogether, cutting out piracy as much as possible would be to the benefit of all those involved. While the
music industry will likely never get to this point, a world where this occurs would be a greater thing.