Why We Download Music (“illegally”): A Manifesto

This is a post I did on Panda’s Hideout Podcast via SpoiltVictorianChild.co.uk regarding an articel on BBC’s website about downloading music. The article suggests that ease of accessibility to music by downloading it means a lower appreciation of music.

Our standards have been raised because the amount of music that is out there. We are no longer satisfied as easily as we would have been in the past because of this. In the past, the way we would discover interesting music was through the radio, MTV, and maybe through record stores and friends recommendations. So, if you were a fan of music, you would find the music you liked best and become a fan. But of course, there is always something that you may like that may remain undiscovered by you for months or even years.

Now that there is so much music out there and it is so much easier to discover it, we have the chance to refine our tastes. We can download a ton of music to try and find something we really like rather than settling. When we find something we really, really like that is worth our time, we can then become obsessive fanboys and fangirls, buying ever release on vinyl, every single that come out, and going to every show. Life as a music fan is so much better when you have a mad passion about music, rather than settling for music that makes us feel luke-warm.

We, as music fans, will now take auditions for music that we will become passionate about. We will not pay for this screening process as we did in the past, and we will not narrow our search to what old media is presenting to us. We want to find music that is really, good, and then remain committed to that artist or genre.

Ease of discovery + breadth of variety = higher standards (more discriminating tastes)

*Does this mean we “consume” more music? Yes. (need to plow through all the crap to find the gems).
*Do we want to pay for music we do not like? No (and we want to pay for music we do like).
*Should we have to pay for everything we “consume?” No (but the old, dying media model says yes).
*Do we think “paid, industry sanctioned channels of discovery” of music are a dying model? Yes (radio, MTV, brick-and-mortar music stores).

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