Downloading (or file sharing or whatever) is a hot topic among music fans these days. I know a lot of people that use Torrents to grab tracks and even whole albums, but I am just really against illegal downloads.
I won't lie: the thought of downloading leaked tracks for free and before an official release is downright intoxicating. I didn't illegally download Motley Crue's Saints of Los Angeles even though it's been on the Internet for about a month. I think there is something truly special about waiting until the day of a big release, going to the store, buying the physical album and then letting the music blast all the way home. I know many of you can attest to my honesty here: a lot of you have sent me download links or asked my opinion of the album and my response was always "wait until the day of the release." I'll review Motley Crue's new one right here tomorrow, after listening to my advance copy (and yeah, I pre-ordered a copy too, so Motley got my money).
I know kids like to download because 1) it's free and 2) it's quick. The problem is, Torrents and the like are basically stealing. No, you're not throwing a brick through a big glass window at the bank and robbing the safe, but you're still hurting the artist and everyone else who worked on producing an album.
There is no way in HELL that I would work without getting paid, so how can I rob someone else of their salary? Yes, bands like Motley Crue, Aerosmith, Guns n' Roses, Metallica, The Rolling Stones...are filthy rich, but that doesn't make file sharing acceptable. Producers, sound engineers, publicists, managers, writers, gear techs - not to mention distributors and and your local music store - all get a piece of the pie when a band records an album. When sales fall off - sometimes due to downloads or a million other reasons - everyone involved suffers. Problem is, that lost revenue comes right back to you and me. Promoters set ticket prices for tours, but with the sky high cost of just about everything, bands need a surefire way to guarantee money. It's a vicious cycle because kids think they'll download an album, then spend their money on the concert. The only problem is, if not enough people buy an album, it's kind of hard to generate hype and that can hurt shows, too.
The music industry is fatally flawed, there's no doubt about that. I'm also not judging people for downloading songs without payment, but I felt it was important for you to know my stance on the issue. I've always been "choosy" when it comes to purchasing albums. When I was in high school, I bought nearly all my own CDs, so I couldn't go to the mall and pick up five or ten discs at a time. My rule was one CD a week, so I made sure I really wanted the album before I plunked down my 15 bucks. Now, I have more money but I'm still the same way: I think about my music purchases and I buy used if I can meaning I can get more in one trip. I can't say what position I'd take on downloading if I was 16 again. Like I said, the thought of immediate, free music is very intoxicating.
What is your opinion on the matter?