Pirates on the high seas of…. the internet??


Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “without music, life would be a mistake.” While this may be a little bit of a stretch on Nietzsche’s part, it demonstrates the power that music holds in the lives of many people. Throughout history music has started cultural revolutions, influenced political movements, and created a multi-billion dollar industry. It has become such an integral part of our lives that we often don’t realize the impact it has. We live in a world where music is readily available to the public in many different forms (especially following the introduction of the internet). With the simple click of a button, anyone with internet access can download a song whether it be Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, “Born in the USA” by Bruce Springsteen, or that timeless classic, “Never Had a Dream Come True” by S Club 7. The government has intervened in order to protect the artists from having their intellectual property stolen. 

I think we all can remember the days of illegally downloading music on peer-to-peer (P2P) networks like Kazaa or Limewire (or for those of you who started young- the infamous Napster) that would slow your computer down to a crawling pace and interfere with your AOL dial-up connection. We all heard the stories of kids being caught and charged with unbelievable fines in order to be made an example of. It always seemed like it could never happen to you, but the possibility existed.

I am torn on this issue, because I understand how illegal downloading has nearly destroyed the record industry. I mean honestly, unless it’s a hobby or you are big on collecting, when was the last time you bought a CD? Apple’s iTunes has done a great job of allowing the record industry to keep up with technological advancements, but people are still more likely to download a song for free as opposed to paying the 99 cents. That being said, I believe that we are reaching a cross roads where people downloading music from the internet should not be persecuted. The files are available and there is essentially no way to combat that fact. Holding a handful of individuals accountable for the illegal download of some of these files just seems archaic and outdated. The artists will complain that the music is their personal property and any illegal downloads are theft. However, numerous artists have achieved great success and gained popularity by releasing their music in the form of “mix tapes” for free.

I just wish music would go back to being more about the MUSIC and less about the business. Apparently some artists agree with me on that. A band named Relient K has the following lyric in one of their songs, “I know that you probably magically got this song for free. I don’t know if it bothers me, that seems fine, cause I’m having a good time.” The government should stop holding people liable in civil and criminal suits, and just let everybody enjoy the music and have a good time.


5 thoughts on “Pirates on the high seas of…. the internet??

  1. I agree with you Mike. I really just don’t see the music industry being restored to its former glory and I think the case should just be put to rest at this point. You can’t stop the internet and it’s crazy channels of accessibility. Music, movies, photos, and information access has been changed forever for the better. It is to the point now that artists are uploading their albums for free as a way of adversing themselves. This exposure eventually pays off in the form of appearances and concert ticket sales. I think its safe to say that no rock stars are really suffering from this shift in the way we receive their hits.

  2. Unfortunately music is a money making industry just like any other. It was sad to see stores like Tower Records go out of business, but this is the evolution of the industry. Does Apple’s Itunes have a monopoly over legal music downloading? I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone using an alternative legal means.

  3. This reminds me of an article I recently read about the state of the movie industry. While I cant find it now, it was about an ex-head of a Hollywood studio who left the business because he was fed up with the quality of movies being made.

    Much like the music industry, the movie industry has become focused on making money. A perfect example of this is the long list of 3D re-releases that have been coming out like Lion King 3D, Finding Nemo 3D, Monsters Inc. 3D. While I do enjoy watching a movie multiple times, it is not worth my time to pay money in the theaters just to see that monkey hold Simba out over my head.

    This website shows a couple graphs to show how unoriginal the industry has become:

    In 2011, none of the top 10 grossing films were original screenplays. Instead, 8 of the top 10 grossing films were sequels, and the other two films were adaptions of comic books (Thor and Captain America). In comparison, 7 out of the top 10 in 1981 were original movies including. The author attempts to explain that these uncreative movies are being made because economic times are tough and there is no room for innovative original movies because they are too risky. Personally I think that it is a trend within the industry and not entirely caused by the economy.

  4. Roger, I really enjoyed that article you posted. It is also interesting to note that Americans today are fine with going to see these uncreative movies. What does that say about our fellow citizens? There is a lack of substance to a lot of the box office hits these days. As you said, producers choose to make profit as opposed to art. I personally enjoy films that I can relate to and make me ponder things weeks later. Mr. Wald and I went to see The Master on Tuesday and still are trying to figure out what it was all about.

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