Ever heard of The Pirate Bay? If you’re around my age, chances are, you probably have. The Pirate Bay (aka TPB) is a huge file sharing site (started in Sweden–that’s the connection to Scandinavia! And now the rest of my post will choose to ignore that completely) where anyone could find and download free music and other files. There are many other similar file sharing sites where people can upload and download media. The big question is: is illegal downloading okay? Also, is restricting what people can post on the Internet infringing on our right to privacy and free speech?
Anyone who knows me knows that I love music more than I love most other things in life. I take pride in introducing my friends to lesser-known artists, and I love making music playlists for my best friends. Sorry, sorry, but I love the Seth Cohen music/OC/mixtape thing 🙂
Any exposure I can get to new music is great, and the more I listen to, the more songs and artists I find that I enjoy. I’ve used various methods to find music throughout the years. When I was younger, I listened to the radio, and then with Pandora and the introduction of Internet radio, my horizons expanded. I also began reading magazines that highlighted new music, like Paste and Nylon. I subscribed to eMusic, which carried the catalogs of more obscure artists (and has since gotten rights to more mainstream labels). Basically, I have been obsessed with music since I had my first cassette tape/radio player, and while this love has been on-going, it has also been evolving.
So what if all music on the Internet was free?? How amazing would that be? Pretty amazing, I think. And I really don’t believe that future is too far off.
To be completely honest, I wouldn’t feel all that bad not paying $10 for Rihanna’s new CD. She seems to be doing just fine. Big artists like her don’t need money from little people like us. But what about the lesser known artists? Well, thank you for asking. I actually really care that new and up-and-coming artists can make it, because otherwise what would I listen to? T-Swift? Nej, tak. I believe that even if Internet music was all free and legal, struggling artists could still be pretty unaffected.
There is a great little website called Noisetrade that I believe is such an awesome idea. On Noisetrade, you can download songs, compilations, and even full albums completely legally and completely for free! This site, and similar ones, introduces people to musicians they may not otherwise hear about… and then downloaders can choose to tip the artists for their free music! That way, the musicians can still be making money. Alternately, artists can post music on their websites and ask for contributions. Chances are, the only people who may choose to download for free (without tipping) are the ones who wouldn’t pay for the music in the first place. The people who enjoy the music and want to support the musicians can still do so by paying! So the bands and individuals still make money, and people have access to so much more music! Win-win!
If that isn’t convincing enough, with free Internet radio (I previously mentioned Pandora, but there are so many others… I’m looking at you, Spotify…) people no longer need to pay to listen to music anyway! So come on, music is a right, not a privilege!