A Different Case For Music Piracy
Internet piracy is a topic that needs no introduction, but allow me to provide you with one anyway. Utilizing various resources, be they file uploading sites, torrents, or file-sharing software, we sit comfortably at our computer chairs as our worlds become packed to the bursting seams with new multimedia. Music, movies, games, even computer software: it’s all there, and it’s all free. And rarely are there any consequences to indulging yourself in the process. Sure, the government might arrest and slap insane fines on two or three people a year just to make a point and keep you scared, but let’s be honest. What are the chances you’ll be any part of that startlingly small minority.
There are many justifications for piracy. On one end of the spectrum, you have the defensible, who spout genius phrases such as “The big corporate record labels already have enough of our money. Music is too expensive anyway, man! Down with the system!” On another end of the spectrum, you have the curious folks, interested in a new CD or movie, but definitely not enough so to pay for it. They get their piracy on, try things out, and move on. They might say something about “trying before you buy,” but once again, let’s be honest with ourselves. How often does that happen? The argument in most cases is that individuals are just downloading things that they wouldn’t ever have purchased anyway, so technically, the record label and the artist aren’t really losing an actual sale. It almost makes sense in some weird way, but that most certainly doesn’t suddenly make it okay.
Even with all this in mind, there is another argument for multimedia piracy. This argument is in place mostly for the subject of music, a seemingly dying mainstream media form. The availability of compact disc music is shockingly low in your day-to-day big box retail outlets. Wal Mart doesn’t even carry any form of explicit music, so they are often out of the question to folks deliberating over where they may go to purchase the latest release of their favorite artist. Best Buy has cut their music section practically in half, which is harsh, considering that they were once one of the largest mainstream distributors of music in the United States. Now, unless you’re looking for a top 40 album, you’re pretty much out of luck. Most anything remotely obscure has been left to the wayside.
This leaves us with the option of hitting up our favorite mom-and-pop record stores to get our fix. Supporting local businesses, and so on and so forth. There’s only one problem: there aren’t a whole lot of mom-and-pop record stores left. Speaking from personal experience, I only have two in a somewhat immediate area from where I live, but both are about a half hour drive in either direction, and the prices aren’t necessarily what I’d call “affordable,” or even reasonable, for that matter.
What are our options now? iTunes, online ordering, or piracy. If you put in an order, you have to pay shipping, and then you have to wait. With iTunes, you lose out on the physical product, which I’m fairly certain some of us still enjoy pretty significantly. You’re out the jewel case, the booklet with lyrics and liner notes, and the disc itself. Essentially, you’re paying the same price for less actual product.
Sad to say, but piracy is starting to look a whole lot nicer.
What have we learned here? Piracy is bad, mkay? But beyond that, we have learned that until some of these big retailers start giving the product higher availability and better visibility, piracy will continue to be a viable option in many of our minds. A lot of us would love to support the artist, but when we aren’t given the resources necessary to do so, then well… what can you do? I’m not saying it’s right, but it’s unfortunately the situation.
Worst of all, most record labels can’t afford the distribution they used to be allotted, solely because of… what? Music piracy. It is the most vicious of cycles.