When I was a sophomore in college, literally all day every day I would download music. I had this recliner in my room facing the TV that was literally a foot from my bed, and I would curl up underneath the covers and just potato – it was the laziest setup ever.
I would lay down all day and do nothing. It was aw-esome, err, I mean aw-ful.
But one of the things I did do was download lots and lots of music. Like hundreds of songs a day sometimes. I remember when I first got into techno and electronic music. I’d been hanging out in a friend’s room, and after listening to artists like Fredde Le Grande and Bassnectar, I realized that I really enjoyed techno and electronic music.
What this started was a techno music downloading spree. I remember googling “Top 100 Techno” songs and downloading a whole torrent of songs. I then proceeded to sit down on my couch with my computer in my lap, went through all 100 songs and picked out which songs I loved, which songs I liked, and which songs I thought were meh.
The greatest thing to me at the time was not necessarily that I could listen to all this new music, but that I could do so for free.
You see, I was born in the tail end of the 80’s, which means I grew up using programs like Kazaa, Napster and Limewire to find new music.
So the concept of free when it comes to music has been ingrained in me for I don’t know, about 10 years.
It’s proving to be a hard habit to break. I could conceivably buy my own music. Even though I’m often a broke college student, I do have enough moola coming my way to spend a $.99 on a few tracks or $10 for an album.
But you see, that’s whats wrong with the whole debate around paying for music. The music industry still lives in an age where if you liked an artist, you went into a record store and bought a vinyl or a CD for $10 or more. Back then, record labels controlled everything, and the number of artists we listened to was limited.
Not so today. We now live in a digital age which has leveled the playing field for everything, including music. There are literally hundreds of thousands of artists that I could listen to, and often I don’t want to listen to and pay for a whole album.
And for someone like me, who is web and technologically savvy, and has a thirsty passion for new music, the notion that I have to pay $.99 for every song I wish to download is ludicrous. Even though I no longer download hundreds of songs a day, I would say that some weeks I do download over a 100 songs.
For others, this number may be much higher. Do record labels really expect a consumer like me to pay $100 dollars a week for new music? Let’s multiply that by 52 weeks, and now I’m looking at a hefty $5,200 spent on music alone. How many people do you know who spend that much on music alone? Probably not many.
I want to pay for music from the artists that I enjoy, which is why I’m excited about the UK music subscription service Spotify coming to the United States. If I could pay a monthly fee for access to unlimited music downloads, I would do so in a heartbeat.
But unfortunately record labels are still clinging to a dying business model, and will continue to stubbornly do so until a new company comes along and disrupts them. I hope that company is Spotify.
So until I either find a job that pays enough, or an exceptional subscription service comes out that allows me to purchase new music for a reasonable price, I will still be pirating a lot of the music I listen to.
What are your thoughts on pirating music? If you do pirate, is it because of the cost, is it out of habit, or is it because you hate the record labels and want to watch them burn? Share your thoughts in the comments below.