By Joshua Rush
The record industry just ain’t what it used to be. A little over a decade ago we were running to places like Virgin Megastore, FYE, or the mom and pop record stores to purchase our favorite artist’s new album. Now receiving the newest music simply requires an internet connection, no gas money, and no, well, money. Now before the anti-piracy Gestapo gets their panties in a bunch, this article is not in advocacy of the pilfering
of artists hard earned rhythmic jewels nor is it a condemnation of these acts or the sites that aid them it is simply a lesson that times have changed. Prepare to adapt.
Top-selling pop artist at the start of the 21st century enjoyed the beyond opulent lifestyle that selling six or seven million copies of their album at $17.99 or higher afforded them. Fast-forward nine years and Rihanna’s Rated R album was on sale with a coupon for .99 cents. The gravy train with biscuit wheels had indefensibly derailed. Why? The dawn of the digital age that’s why. Napster had opened up a flood gate that couldn’t be closed no matter how many normal everyday citizens were hit with lawsuits for illegal downloading, no matter how many sites were shut down the bomb that would turn the
music industry on its head found itself with its fuse lit.
Today we have a myriad of ways to attain our music and iTunes used to reign over the digital music domain with an iron fist. And although Apple is still the safest way to obtain your music, many fans are choosing not to pay. The emergence of YouTube to MP3 sites like FLVTO, dirpy!, Xenra and dozens upon dozens more has left Google in
a never ending war on piracy, while legal music fans find refuge with online radio like Pandora or Spotify. Internet radio is a fast and reliable way to hear music free of charge or by paying a low monthly subscription. Either way you can exist in a world free of iTunes. To be fair Apple does offer free downloads, which is a decision totally left up to the artist. But the speed and availability of ways to attain new and maybe hard to find music leads people to become desensitized to the fact that they are in actuality stealing it. Or perhaps they do realize it and feel as though these huge corporations behind their favorite artists pockets are so big that they couldn’t possibly feel the slight pinch that little ol’ me taking one or two measly little songs. Next time you are paying an exorbitant amount for concert tickets remember that you are on the wrong end of those trickle down economics. That debt will be paid, one way or another. Even if all the “pirating” sites disappeared off the face of the earth overnight and we all used iTunes the problem would
still remain. We simply won’t pay what we use to for our music. If you walked into a restaurant that sold hamburgers for $5 and they started to sell those same hamburgers for
$1 well it would be hard to get you to pay $5 again. The restaurant would just have to adapt and start finding opportunities to build up their profit margins in new ways. Much like the music industry has had to; higher concert tickets, ringtones, merchandise, etc.
Building their business plan on the hopes that you and I will continue to shell out a buck or two to buy the new Justin Bieber single on iTunes is a faulty one at best. I fully expect them to learn how to maneuver in this new, hostile terrain. Our love for music will not diminish nor our want to see our idols on stage or walk around with them blasting out of our overpriced headphones so the demand will always be there – how we are supplied however will constantly change.