Just four years ago London’s publication The Guardian published a piece about the pitfalls of the music industry in regards to filesharing and illegal music downloads. It reported that 7 million people “use” illegal downloads in the UK costing the economy billions of pounds and thousands of jobs each year – although last I heard Adele is doing quite nicely.
You see, it was never the artists lifestyle that was in question; it was those that stood to profit from said artists lifestyle. Itunes is big business for everyone involved, most assuredly Apple executives themselves. If Steve Jobs was still alive, could you imagine him being tormented by cost/benefit analysis of ipods and iphones; aka the most money grubbing inventions known to mankind? No. Talk about filesharing and illegal downloads has quieted down because too many people are profiting from legal music downloads, including the procurer of music in question.
Which brings me to the real reason I wanted to write this article: How weird is it that your children and your children’s children will never know the magical feeling of discovering a great album for the first time? Like the first time you bought Prince’s “Purple Rain” cassette or the Doors on vinyl? Music sharing, whether it be legal or illegal, has eliminated the excitement behind that first purchase. Now all anyone does is download individual songs off albums they will likely never give a concerted listen to. That’s like buying a Ferrari Testarossa and never taking it out for a test drive…well sort of. In any case, you get the point. Our need as consumers to sample the menu in the most cost efficient manner possible is the real crux of the issue at stake here.
Itunes is like a veritable ‘come one, come all’ pot luck where everyone wets their beak and everyone goes home satisfied except for the pot providing the luck; namely the musician and/or artist. Musicians nowadays have to tour nearly twice as long as they normally would to offset the ‘file raping’ – for lack of a better term – they’re undergoing at the neighborhood all-you-can-hear file sharing buffet. Gone are the days of purchasing the totality of an artists effort, a complete album; or, more specifically, the compact disc. And while Taylor Swift won’t be applying for government assistance anytime soon, maybe we should keep this in mind the next time we go on an individual song downloading frenzy.
On second thought…Nah. It’s a long line and I don’t have time for seconds.