It has widely been agreed and acknowledged before that the use of MP3s is a good way
to spread new music and generate support for new musicians. Iron Maiden has a wide
fan base and anybody who is interested in their music can download their albums
from the Internet, and then if they like the music, they should buy the album in a record store.
Alternatively, if they do not like the music they should delete it from their computer and
not bother listening to it. The people who download the music, like it, and do not buy
the records are killing the music industry. I agree with the philosophy that MP3 downloads
are a great advertisement if they are used in this way. They help the bands by giving
a free promotion. Musicians do realise the benefits of this advertisement as
Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails acknowledges:
"Just because technology exists where you can duplicate something, that doesn't
give you the right to do it. There's nothing wrong with giving some tracks away or bits
of stuff that's fine. But it's not everybody's right. Once I record something, it's not public
domain to give it away freely. And that's not trying to be the outdated musician who
is trying to 'stop technology'. I love technology."
This is why Napster, iTunes and similar programmes annoy me. They charge little money
(around £10 for a monthly subscription or 75 pence per song) for downloads
which they advertise as an alternative to buying the music in a shop. They offer us the choice
"Buy music to keep forever, burn and transfer"
This is immoral to suggest that we should download music and burn CDs as an alternative
to buying the real deal. Who wins from a deal like this? It is not the customer who is being
ripped off for at that price only getting the music but not the artwork, booklet and authentically
sound physically collectable product. Their music collections will look bare sitting on the shelf
with a grey CD and poor quality box. The music industry, the artists and record companies,
do not benefit as their music is being offloaded at a lower price and they have no fan loyalty
as music is more accessible and the fans more fickle with a vast range of choice. The only
people who benefit from a deal like this are the fat cats at Napster who cream the profits
and kill the business. They do no work but man a computer or two and have a vast empire
of digital music.
Soon enough the record companies will realise that their profits are down as a result
of this cheap alternative to people buying records. They will bargain and haggle for
higher prices from the download handling companies until the price of downloading
music will eclipse that of actually buying the record. People will feel ripped off
and revert to going to their local record store to buy the real deal.
To combat this, I think that the record companies need to take a stranglehold o
the Internet music market and ban people profiting from sales this way. They should
promote MP3 "sampling" and lower prices of CDs in stores to promote
people to buy the product. I'm sure a reasonable price of around £7 or £8
for an album would appeal to people who are used to shelling out twice that at present.
If this was to happen, people could transfer tracks online as a sample of the music.
These files could be created so that in, say, three days time, the file becomes automatically
wiped from their hard drive. The person then has a choice of buying the record, or taking
no further interest. They should not be able to burn the downloaded tracks onto CDs
or put them on MP3 players.
The only problem with this plan is that technology is evolving so fast that the crooks
that exploit the MP3 sharing market will find ways of combating the system and
the music companies will raise prices of records to make up for the loss in sales.
A rise in bland, catchy-but-short-lived musicians will once again crop up everywhere
and the radio will be intolerable to listen to. We will be bombarded with one hit wonders
like the "Crazy Frog" and cheesy Hip-Hop stars like 50 Cent because
this sort of music appeals to people who use peer-to-peer downloading networks.
The legendary musician Stevie Wonder made this comment about illegal downloading
crippling the quality of music:
"Record companies, publishers, radio stations, retailers, artists and others
in our industry must take a very strong position against the stealing of our writing
and music or else those writings and music will become as cheap as the garbage
in the streets."
There is the argument for the illegal downloading of music that it can be of great benefit
to children who are from poor backgrounds and have little pocket money. They may be
embarrassed to ask their parents for more money and feel the need to download music
for free instead of spending precious resources on overpriced records. It is argued that
as these children get older, they will then start to buy records from a record shop,
as they will be great fans. If they were not given the opportunity to download music
for free in the first place, they might not have developed into music lovers and therefore
ignored the music industry. I disagree with this viewpoint because in reality these children
are stealing. Would it be right to allow these children to steal a CD player or a Playstation
because they might buy them as they get older? Downloading music illegally is hurting
the music industry at present because people abuse the system and these kids
are helping the destruction.
Mark Knopfler has this to say about downloading music:
"You might as well walk into a record store, put the CDs in your pocket and walk out
without paying for them."
People in circumstances like this will start downloading music at an early age and
never grow out of the habit. In the past, poor children couldn't download music.
What did Steve Harris do when he wanted a Led Zeppelin record? It must be said
the founding members of Iron Maiden were not from wealthy backgrounds yet
they still grew to love rock music. This is because they were dedicated and
from an early age they would have saved every bit of money they had to buy music
from their favourite artists. Why do kids today have to be any different?
To conclude my argument, I think it is wrong for Napster to charge people for inferior
quality downloads and the cheapness of this service is going to bring the music industry
down. Also people who have illegal free downloading services are destroying the industry
and making the quality of music decline as new musicians find it harder to break onto the scene.
Finally, those people who do the downloading and do not buy the record are damaging
the industry and are becoming brainwashed by bland, mainstream mediocrity.
5th August 2005
– Artist Quotes [Trent Reznor, Stevie Wonder, Mark Knopfler and others.]
[Back to Index]
It is true that mp3 filesharing can be an excellent form of advertising, hell, it was downloading
that got me into Maiden in the first place, along with many other bands, and being the nice guy I am,
I bought all the albums, and I know of many people who the same story as I.
My point? Is that not all downloaders are the evil people the labels claim they are, very few
download thousands of tracks, and many downloaders also buy CDs.
Yes, Napster and Itunes do sell legal downloads, and these are an alternative to real music.
Yes, you don't get the artwork and booklet, but do you buy a CD for these, sure they are a nice bonus,
but you can enjoy the music just as much without them? Many people don't care about the booklet
and case, as all they are planning to do is put the music into their mp3 player, and downloading
from Itunes is not only more convinient, but a few quid cheaper. Also, those more interested in
more mainstream forms of music (pop for example) may not want all of an album, they may only
want the tracks which were avaliable as singles, instead of physically buying the whole album,
they can just download what they like, which once again saves them money. By doing this
they are supporting the artists, yes, the royalties from these downloads may not be massive,
but they are better than nothing, which is what they would recieve if legal downloading did not exist
for the above customers, as they would be either forced to pay for over-priced CDs, or fileshare
I highly doubt that the record labels will try and stop legal downloading, they love it
(In a side-note, legal downloads now count as sales and are included in the UK Top 40).
Due the singles market collapsing (single sales are at an all time low), legal downloading
is now probably their best means of promotion. But the collapse in the singles market is
the label's fault, they raise the prices to make a high profit from the single (back in the day
they were £4 each, CD singles anyway) and the high price (in comparison to
what you got, two f'kin tracks) and thus put people off them, when a singles only nature
is to persuade people to buy the album, and therefore should be priced as low as possible
(especially in the case of metal bands like Maiden, who would gain little to no airplay).
So due to the decline (I guess people haven't got back into the habit of buying them again)
the labels need a new means of promotion. Legal downloading is the answer.
You claim' 'Why do kids today have to be any different?'. We (Yes, I am legally a child)
aren't. Back in the day you had tape trading, which I would argue evolved into filesharing.
Taping someone elses version of a record is pretty much identical to filesharing, you have
to pay for each (the cost of the cassette in the former and the cost of the internet access in
the latter) and the end product is the same, delicious music. Yes, filesharing is much easier
and there is much more choice, but in fundementals, it is identical to tape trading, so we aren't
much different, you just percieve us to be. I bet even Steve Harris did a little tape trading
when he couldn't afford a record.
To conclude, legal downloading is a good thing (as is filesharing, to an
Bonne journée Ó vous toute
21st August 2005
[Back to Index]