MP3 Download Poll


The Verbose Lord
Apr 12, 2001

Here's a little Poll I wanted to float to see how everyone felt about this topic. I'll state my opinion (as usual...) but I am curious how everyone feels about this.

So how do I feel about MP3 downloads? I think it's great, and what's more it's a revolution in music and entertainment technology. It is unfortunate that folks in the music industry don't see it that way. They are bound and determined to keep their 1982 business model, which forces us consumers to buy whole pre-packaged CDs at their prices. Yes, I also think artists should get every penny coming to them for their efforts, as well as the music industry itself - they are a legitimate business after all and we've all benefitted from the work they've done. But, as in 1982 when re-recordable audio cassettes became a reality, there is a new technology that gives consumers (i.e., us) more power over what we listen to and when. The law was changed back then to accommodate this new technology, and consumers gained the legal right to re-record music they'd legally purchased for their own private use - so long as they didn't distribute it on a mass scale. They were even legally able to give friends cassettes. The recent court ruling in the U.S. in the Napster case, however, saw the court agree with the music industry's claim that the internet does not constitute a new technology by the standards of 1982 (!), and the music industry's tactic since then has been to sue anyone who dares to claim that it isn't still 1982.

A recent column in the Wall Street Journal mentioned something to the effect that the film industry was trying to avoid the music industry's situation vis-a-vis internet free distribution networks, which is that they've had to essentially declare war on their own customers. I liked Napster and was willing (still am) to pay a reasonable fee for it or a similar service. I liked it because I could control my CD content, I could find obscure songs not readily available in the local CD shop, and compared to the amount of CDs I buy every year it did save me money in the end.

(It saved me money because I didn't have to pay as much for the huge marketing campaigns. The Wall Street Journal a month back had an article about a young girl from Ireland who'd been picked up by a talent scout and brought to Los Angeles, wined & dined, taken everywhere in limos - only to discover after a year that this girl just didn't have whatever sound they were looking for, so they shipped her back to Ireland...having spent more than $2 million USD on her! The article claimed this type of very bad marketing practice that would get you fired in any other business was not unusual in the music industry. The article also pointed out that artists typically only get about $1.00 of every CD purchased; the rest covers marketing, productions, etc. In other words, no matter what kind of music you buy, you are partially subsidizing such idiotic industry gaffs as spending millions looking for the next Britney Spears or Backstreet Boyz. That's why a CD costs c. $16.99-21.99!)

So, in my humble opinion, the music industry is basically saying "Screw you!" to artists and "Screw you!" to consumers in their quest to retain that old 1982 business-model cash cow, instead of adapting to what could be a much cheaper and enpowering distribution technology (the net) for both artists and consumers. I will always buy CDs or future equivalents, because some artists produce great CDs - who could ever pick just one tune off Miles Davis' "Pictures of Spain" or Peter Gabriel's "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway"? But I can be picky with some REM or Tool albums. The technology exists to allow me to pick and choose what music I want to listen to (from home!) and like most people I'm willing to pay for it. Why does the music industry so badly want to believe it's still 1982? It's not.

Here are a couple links for those who want to read more:

This one is for a group fighting against the music industry's attempts to take away our existing rights by encrypting CDs and forcing you to seek digital permission to play your legally-purchased CDs on multiple CD players. This one is Walt Mossberg's site. He's the technology writer for the Wall Street Journal, and while you'll have to poke around the site for relevant articles he has some impressive (and well-informed) things to say on the topic.
Sorry, I had problems with creating the poll itself. I've created them before with no trouble, but things were a bit funky this time around. When I gave up and just tried to delete the whole thing to start over, I kept getting this contradictory message:

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Logged in user: Vrylakas [logout]

It told me I couldn't delete it because I wasn't logged in, then tells me at the bottom that I am logged in....

Anyway, technical difficulties aside, please do share your opinions on this one.
Here's my thing:

I know it's wrong. I know it's illegal. But I just don't care anymore. I've got a cable connection and a brand new 80GB hard drive, and I intend to fill it up. I'm going to forget all this legal mumbo-jumbo over the legality of p2p file sharing and just get what I can when i can. And if you know the places to look and the people to talk to, you can get anything you want for only the investment of your computer's runtime. Hell, right now I've got one cooking. By this evening I'll have a DVD rip for a movie that's still in theatres.

But I still don't want to feel like a total scumbag, so whenever I discover a band that just sounds awesome (like I did with Ill Nino, Chimaira, and 40 Below Summer), or a movie that was great, or a computer game that is absolutely incredible I'll go out and buy it. I call it consumer awareness -a process by which only the people who really deserve to get rich off a multimedia product do.
Mp3 downloading is great! I've discovered many new bands I never knew about before, such as Moby (before he became a star), Oasis, Orbital, etc. Then I went and BOUGHT THEIR CD's. I never would have payed money to the record companies if I hadn't first listened to samples of these artists. I have gone through three different p2p apps for downloading and amassed over 400 songs (on a 56k, that's pretty impressive, although my friend got 1200 before he switched to cable, but that's not fair because he has 2 phone lines!) (big breath). It's really too bad that the record companies shut down Napster. It will never regain its user base, because Morpheus and Kazaa stole them all. Napster was the original and it will always hold a special place in my heart...
I download mp3, the only why to know if the songs are any god. If I like them enough I’ll go out and by the record or the single.

But when I try to do so I do encounter a few problems:

1. The single haven’t been released in my country yet: and a few months later when it does so, I have probably pick up something else to listen to and forget to by the CD.

2. The single is out of print. So I can’t by it. (This occurs both for old songs and for new old song (up to a year)

3. The CD has not been release or is out of print. (Kind of same as 1 and 2 but for CD not the single).

Now how come the record company’s don’t see that they are loosing money by not providing the CD or singles for me to purchase.
My "free-download" ethics are as follows:

For mp3's, if I like one or two songs from an artist, I'll download them. As soon as I find I like three or more songs, I'll go buy the CD. If I had the option of purchasing individual mp3s permanently for 2-3$, then I would do that instead of free downloading.

For games, I'll download them to see how they play. If I like them, I go out and buy them.

For high-priced software, no matter what happens, I'm not gonna have the $ to buy it. So what does it matter if I download it and use it? The company isn't going to get my $ anyways.
That's pretty much my standard too... if I like something enough, I will go buy it within the next week or so.
The reason the music industry fears peer to peer sharing so much is because it destroys their current business model. The business model they use relies entirely on the sale of an album to fickle music listeners who will get caught up in popularity. Peer to peer allows for a much more selective audience.

I can name a dozen bands I've found from downloading songs that I've given money to that I wouldn't have otherwise. I can also name some albums that I was considering buying but changed my mind after listening to them. That creates trouble for the music industry because we become an unpredictable market; they can't market to us anymore, they actually have to let us test drive their product.

But I don't think they have as much to worry about as they think. The vast majority of music buyers are still fickle and quick to buy whats popular.
Excellent points all! Several have brought up a detail that I suspect we are party to; sampling. I have similarly sampled many new bands and albums this way and have (as Greadius points out) been led to buy some CDs I otherwise wouldn't have but have also avoided others I may have otherwise considered. This does make us an unpredictable lot, but I like that unpredictability - it makes the market a bit more democratic and less easily controlled.

I really don't like Britney Spears, and no amount of marketing is going to change that. I like bands like Beta Band and Morphine, and I'm currently listening to Miles Davis' Great Expectations from the Japanese import version of his "Big Fun" album. Why waste money marketing to people like me, when all I require is a chance to sample some stuff for myself?
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