Of course this practice has been going on for years and has been the subject of controversy. Some musicians don't want to allow this because they're afraid if people can download their songs for free, they won't purchase the album.
But it's just not a very good argument. See, people will continue to purchase CDs as long as they are confident the product is good. If a band has only one song worth listening to, they may be subject to losing money as the one good song is passed among the downloaders, and no one wants to listen to the rest of the songs on the album. But for those who can make an entire album of enjoyable music, they have nothing to worry about. And "enjoyable music" is a pretty broad term. It doesn't have to be enjoyable to everyone, but it has to contain some level of quality, so that people who enjoy that genre will want to buy the CD.
Credible musicians such as Dr. Dre and Metallica have filed lawsuits over the issue, alleging that trading music over the Internet is theft and copyright infringement. I'm just not so sure why they're so worried. They've made millions selling their albums and touring the country. Do they really need a few more CD sales to boost their incomes?
Recently pop king Michael Jackson spoke out on the issue, saying that Congress should make no laws that could require jail time for music fans who download songs illegally over the Internet.
"I am speechless about the idea of putting music fans in jail for downloading music. It is wrong to download, but the answer cannot be jail," Jackson said in a statement released Monday.
The Associated Press reported that there is currently bill before Congress that would make it a federal felony to obtain copyright works over the Internet without permission.
I have to say I agree with Michael Jackson Musicians are spending way too much time fighting this when they could be spending some time in the studio making some better music.
Remember back in the 1908s when we used to make mix tapes, copying songs from our friends, or putting the songs from a store-bought tape onto a blank one? That was pretty much the same thing as downloading is today, and I don't think copying tapes caused a downfall in the music industry.
AP reported that "the recording industry blames illegal music file-swapping and CD burning for lackluster sales. It's preparing to file hundreds of civil lawsuits against people it suspects of music piracy." Maybe these people in the recording industry should remember that it's the fans the same people who are downloading music who put them where they are in the first place. Musicians who have a problem with downloading are simply being greedy or are afraid their music isn't worth buying.
April Avison is the city editor of the Daily Herald. Her column appears on Mondays. She can be reached at (770) 957-9161 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.