There have been many arguments on whether illegal downloading is a serious problem or not. Illegal downloading isn't that much of a problem if you take the time out to research into it. Sources have shown that illegal downloading actually promotes and helps artist more, it helps people become more diverse in music genres, artist illegally download music as well as their fans, and that there is zero to no evidence that free online music financially harms anyone. These and many more is just the tip iceberg on the arguments that are for illegal downloading, but for now where did illegal downloading all begin?
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"The history of commercial music distribution is a recent one."(Miller, Web). Music distribution started up about the 1800's when the idea of sheet music was thought of. Later after that during the 1930's, people of the middle class had pianos. They would usually go to the local store, buy sheet music of their favorite artist during that time, and play it at their homes. Soon after there was the invention of the phonograph by Thomas Edison which enabled artist to widely distribute their music. The music was first created on wax cylinders and then vinyl discs. During this time there were about 150 companies creating records. "Over time, the record industry evolved from 78 RPM discs to 45 RPM singles to 33 1/3 RPM long playing (LP) albums, and then to 8-track tapes (remember them?) And recorded audiocassette, and then to digital compact discs and finally to downloadable and streaming digital tracks."(Miller, Web). Quality had greatly increased with this evolution and so did the distribution. It was pretty obvious that these recordings could be duplicated, but it wasn't as easy back then. The only things that were known were home wire recorders and discs cutting machines. Not all people knew how to use these devices at the time though. What really started making things easy was the invention of the reel to reel tape recording in the 1950's and the audiocassette recorders in the 1960's. The only problems with these were that the audio grade of copied music was somewhat horrible. It wasn't until the digital era started that we could make extremely good copies of music due to CDs and your computer. Then when the internet came along downloading music became simple for anyone to be able to download any type music for free. (Miller, Web). "Napster, which started in 1999, was the first hugely popular music file-sharing services. It was shut down by court order in 2001."(Hamilton, 90). Now a days most music downloading is done by college students. (Jambon, Web).
One of the main arguments of the opposing side says that it harms artist by taking money from them, but this is the exact opposite. In a survey shown by opposing viewpoints there were only about 12 percent of artists thought that illegal downloading hurt them. Most of the artists were not convinced that illegal downloading is doing any economic harm. "What's worth noting is that higher educated artist in particular believed that file-sharing is doing them no harm."(Opposing Viewpoints). Also majority of the artist thought that illegal downloading helped promote them. About 50 percent of the artists believe strongly that illegal downloading helps get their work known better in public. There was only about 5 percent who thought the other way around. "In particular the younger artists (<25yo) recognized promotional benefits, as more than 80% thought file-sharing increases the popularity of their work."(Opposing Viewpoints). This is one of the most important things for an artist. Without this there would be no shows to come to, there would be no buying of CDs in the first place and without this there would be no one to help you earn your income. Most money is also made from live touring, artist doing their own shows. These live shows are pushed by the artist's web site and in return are pushed by the live shows, and both are pushed by the availability of the artist's music. What is more available than free? "If the music industry had a shred of sense, they'd have addressed this problem seven years ago, when people like Michael Camp were trying to obtain legitimate licenses for music online."(Aksomitis, 15). This really doesn't hurt the artist at all. More or less it helps them. "Most consumers have no problem paying for entertainment.
Illegal downloading also helps artist by helping people become more subjected to new genres of music. Having the easy accessibility of mp3's means that more people will be listening to different types of music that they haven't heard before, and this informs them more on music as a whole. Artists really have nothing to worry about when it comes to losing money in the music industry.
From research artist have also been known to download music illegally themselves. "the Dutch Government announced plans to outlaw downloading of all copyrighted material and measures to make it easier to block websites that facilitate copyright infringement. An interesting, particularly since a survey they published on the same day shows that artists' views on file-sharing are not all that negative."(Opposing Viewpoints). They began a huge survey in order to find out more about the view of artist on the topic of piracy, DRM the digital rights management: technologies that limit access to digital content), and similar opportunities and challenges they had faced in the digital era. The questions that were asked in the article were answered by about 4,000 artists of all ages, which included musicians, filmmakers, authors and photographers. When the results had come out, there was in unparalleled look into the state at which the artists stood on the subject. "One of the results that stands out directly is that artist are pirates too."(Opposing Viewpoints). While not all of them were pirates, there was a good amount of them that were. About 22 percent of the surveyors responded saying that they had downloaded copyrighted works without the owner's permission in the last 12 months. "Another 71% told the researchers they hadn't downloaded anything without permission during this period, and the remaining 7% didn't know, or didn't want to answer the question."(Opposing Viewpoints). There was another question ask to the surveyors who had recently owned up to downloading other people's copyrighted works. These results had shown that music was the most downloaded media type, with 80 percent from music, 40 percent for movies and 5 percent for e-books and games (Opposing Viewpoints). So as well the fans downloading illegally, the artist were no different.
Lastly there really is zero to no evidence when it comes to financially harming artist. "If you think about, the music industry should be rejoicing at this new technological advance. Here's a foolproof way to deliver music to millions who might otherwise never bought a CD in a store."(Aksomitis,16). There is an exceptional amount of cross-marketing. The cost is extremely low and there is no shipping. The RIAA may be right about their being a lot changes in the music industry, but at the same time there still are a good amount of labels left. "We'll turn into Microsoft if we're not careful, folks, insisting that any household wanting an extra copy for the car, the kids, or the portable CD player, has to go out and "license" multiple copies."(Aksomitis, 16). People as artist are the ones who have the ear of the masses, and that's who should be trusted. Most of the shame should not be brought on the fans and the people, but on the bad state of the industry of recording companies, radio programmers. There although is some good arguments that states the fans need to organize themselves in order to better their own lives and morals in illegal downloading. This is true but this is one of few true statements that fall under the cons of illegal downloading.
In conclusion to this argument, there is some but not a lot of danger when it comes to illegal downloading it's actually a good thing. Whether it be helping the artist, artists illegally downloading or any other reason. Illegal downloading is here to stay, and while there all no ways to completely stop it there are always ways to help it.
Jambon, Marc M., and Judith G. Smetana. "College Students' Moral Evaluations Of Illegal Music Downloading." Journal Of Applied Developmental Psychology 33.1 (2012): 31 39. Academic Search Premier. Web. 19 Apr. 2013.
Miller, Michael. "Downloading Pirated Music: Pros and Cons."Que.com. (2012): n. page. Web. 19 Apr. 2013.
Sar, Ernesto Van Der. "Copyright Violations Do Not Hurt Artist Income." The Music Industry. Ed. Noah Berlatsky. Detroit: Green haven Press, 2012. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. From "Artist Don't Think Piracy Hurts Them Financially, Study Shows." TorrentFreak.com. 2011. Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 6 Mar. 2013
Aksomitis, Linda. Downloading Music. Farmington Hills: Greenhaven Press, 2007. Print.
Hamilton, Jill. The Music Industry. Farmington Hills: Greenhaven Press, 2009. Print.
Smith, Ethan. "Listen to Music Free, but Pay to Carry." Wall Street Journal - Eastern Edition 05 June 2007: B1+. Newspaper Source. Web. 19 Apr. 2013.
Heigl, Alex. "Five Ways to Justify Illegally Downloading Music." Nerve.com. (2011): n. page. Web. 19 Apr. 2013.
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