In the Loop

In the Loop: March 24, 2009 Archive

What the death of the music biz says about us

Posted at 12:22 PM on March 24, 2009 by Sanden Totten (3 Comments)

Sometimes it feels like newspapers and the music industry are neck and neck in a race to see which will die off first (go place your bets in the comment section). Well, after losing some ground to the papers last week, the music biz has caught back up.

A recent poll came out of Canada announcing that illegal song-snatching is now considered normal and not that immoral. Plus, according to Angus Reid Strategies, the firm behind the study, file sharing is growing in popularity across age ranges. Couple that with the death of SpiralFrog, a site that lets people download free tunes as long as they look at some ads while doing it, and you've got cultural critics saying it's over for the record industry.

Is it weird that people will pay more for a blank CD than a song?
photo by john_a_ward via Creative Commons

Personally, I'm not that sentimental when it comes to big record companies. I've never enjoyed how they charge me twice as much to buy an album where my favorite bands sound half as good as they once did. But this recent news is a little unnerving. Since when did it become okay to openly steal? Newspapers are dying in part because they give their content away for free. Sure, it may be a mistake, but at least it's one they willingly made. The music industry has fought free music at every step. And as the survey says: "nearly 45% of respondents say those who use P2P and file sharing services to download music and movies are "just regular Internet users doing what people should be able to do on the Internet."

To me this sounds like entitlement. Like, if content exists and people want it, they deserve to get it for free. I don't mind if big businesses bite the dust over this, but the idea of a society where people feel they should get what they want, whenever they want, without dropping a dime or sit through an ad, scares me a little. And not just because I work in public radio.

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