Now That’s What I Call Music, Piracy!
I bought my first CD when I was about 10 years old. My mom had drove me to Target and allowed me to purchase one CD of my choosing; I chose Now 11. I spent what felt like hours scouring the aisles of the store looking for the 11th edition of Now That’s What I Call Music and finally found it on the shelf. I remember being filled with excitement and anticipation as we drove home; I was so anxious to put it into my CD player. I remember the only reason I wanted it was because there was a few rap songs my brother listened to on it. Since my mother didn’t allow me to listen to his music, I knew this was a great way to slide it past her. I will never forget that CD; I listened to it for days on end. As I played the CD, I poured over the insert book, reading the lyrics and singing along. Today if I wanted to own that same Now 11 CD the experience would be entirely different. A few simple searches on the Internet would lead me to various file-sharing websites where I could easily download the album for free. Instant gratification. I wouldn’t have to look through aisles, no waiting in line, and no money necessary. This change in technology has done more harm than good to the music industry and the economy. Downloading music, whether legally or illegally, has completely changed the record industry. Consumers seem perfectly content to click their computer mouse a few times and download whatever songs they want at their leisure. It all makes perfect sense; the technology world is changing and we are taking what we are given. Almost everyone has an iPod or some other portable music device and the days of sitting around a stereo and listening to an album from start to finish seem lost forever. Digital downloads are far more convenient than buying physical albums. They don’t take up shelf space in your home and as long as you back up all your files, you don’t need to worry about losing your favorite album. However, common music pirates tend to lack the knowledge of who or how they are affecting. The transition from physical copies of music to digital downloads has made music a commodity in the United States. It seems that music has been completely devalued by this evolution in technology. The excitement of going out to a record store and having to look for a specific album is gone. Virtually everything is available online and whether music fans realize it or not, society has come to take this art form for granted. According to the Record Industry Association of America, “global music piracy causes $12.5 billion in economic losses every year” (Who). There is no doubt it takes an affect on our $16 trillion plus national debt. This economic loss also affects the employees of record labels with 70,000 lost jobs (Who). With the US unemployment rate currently at 7.9%, it definitely takes a toll on that as well (Databases). Consequently these economic downfalls music piracy is creating detracts from revenue that could be spent on finding and promoting new artists and allowing signed artists to record more albums. Losing money to piracy also has a profound effect on working musicians themselves. Artists are now forced to make up a large part of their earnings through licensing their songs to television commercials and shows, touring relentlessly, and selling merchandise. Even with these alternatives to offset the fall in record sales, artists can still struggle to make ends meet. Renting a tour bus and paying for a driver and gas can cost a small music artist almost a $1,000 (Arnold). In 2007, the Boston based band, The Dresden Dolls, told National Public Radio (NPR) Music in an interview that their record contract had them receiving about $1 in royalties for every CD sold, but “before a band gets to see any of that, it has to sell enough CDs to cover all of the label’s production expenses, which can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars” (Arnold). Most artists try to dig...
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