March 7, 2011

Pirates of the Internet: The Curse of the MP3

Filed under: Uncategorized — publicandprivatespace @ 1:12 am

By: Danny Meyer

It’s obvious that pirating music is wrong. I think that it is safe to say that most people know that. There are laws against it and the government can fine illegal downloaders up to $250,000 and sentence up to five years in prison. I’d say that would not be worth it. However, others would easily say it is. So then why is it done? One of the main reasons is because it is so much easier than any other way of adding to our music library.

Just look at the financial convenience of it. Most songs cost $0.99 on iTunes and many new songs are even being sold at $1.29. Now multiple that by the amount of songs people try to download and that’s one hefty sum of money. Money is obviously a problem in our country with the economy in shambles. Why spend all that money just to get a decent amount of songs when more songs can be downloaded for free.  It just makes more financial sense to download considering the law is hardly enforced.

On top of the financial convenience, the Internet’s accessibility makes it even easier.  A test was done in 2009 that showed that 68.7% of households have Internet access.  Which then means 68.7% of households could access illegally downloaded music. Songs can be downloaded instantly by just a click of a mouse. It just takes a simple search on Google and any song could be easily found. Going to a record store or a Best Buy to buy a CD just isn’t an option anymore. ITunes is an option now, which does help make money in this digital age. Yet, it still is difficult to use and needs some getting used to. The Internet just makes acquiring music as simple as possible.

The Internet also has grown insanely since its creation. As I mentioned before, 68.7% of households had Internet access in 2009. In 1984, the same survey exclaimed that only 8.2% of households even had a computer. Our government is slow enough with most things. They never stood a chance trying to keep up with the Internet. That’s why all of those file sharing websites exist because the government has no way of doing anything about it. Therefore, it is extremely easy to get away with illegal downloading. The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) recorded that in 2005 over five million CD’s and other forms of music file holders were pirated. A little over 3000 actions were taken from to deal with this. The odds of getting caught are very small. So people are willing to the chance with it.

Illegally downloading also makes it easier to use iPod’s and other MP3 players. Anytime a new CD is bought, it has to be synced to the library and that can take up to 15 minutes. Now that may not seem like a long time, but here in America, we have no time to lose. Instant gratification plays a role in everything we do so those minutes are crucial. Downloaded music saves directly to a library and automatically opens with iTunes as long as that is the preferred media player. In a matter of seconds, the songs are ready to go, a large difference in time from uploading a CD.

Now as a musician myself, I do not support illegally downloading at all. The artist deserves the money from THEIR music. If piracy keeps growing, we may end up losing these artists because they can’t afford to keep doing it. Yet, it is just so easy and convenient. If there’s a need for a playlist at a party, don’t worry. One can be downloaded in a matter of minutes. Some pump up music for a workout is just a few clicks away. Yes, it is wrong. However, it’s almost impossible to pass up.


  1. I think the fines and jail time associated with illegal file sharing is just outrageous and serves only as a scare tactic to deter others from downloading illegally. I personally feel that since the musicians get so little money from record sales (Most are well under 50%, and Amazon and ITunes each have a minimum of 12% per song) it would be better for the artist to offer them online and have people pay what they think the music is worth. I ‘illegally’ downloaded the entire discography (141 songs) of a certain band and liked it so much I made a $75 ‘donation’ directly to the band. They get all of that $75 (minus taxes of course) and not a measly 25% of that. Sure its possible to just download any song whenever, and most likely you’re going to get away with it, but if you’re responsible about it, then I don’t see the problem. If you were selling your music on ITunes, wouldn’t you rather get 50 cents a song instead of 12?

    Also, it may just be because I’m a huge nerd, but I can definitely get an hour and a half of music+ of music off a disc onto a loss-less audio file onto a mobile device in under 10 minutes, and most people put them onto mp3s which are, in some cases, as little as a third of the size of their loss-less counterparts. In my opinion it shouldn’t be that hard to get under 15 minutes.

    Comment by Nicholas Burmeister — March 7, 2011 @ 3:07 am | Reply

  2. Jon Ahrens
    Danny I think you did a great job supporting your topic and appealing to your audience. I would bet everyone in here has pirated at least one song in there lifetime and can relate to your article. One thing I have to say about you topic is that I often will download music and then buy a cd if I like what is on it. This is because I feel we should have the right to know what is on a cd before the cd should be bought. Who would buy a cd that they have never heard before? Well many people used to unless they heard it on the radio but to me this just seems foolish. Would you spend $15 on something you have no idea is good or not? I think you addressed you topic well in the sense that you didnt exclude yourself from doing yet stated your opinion. I liked that while argueing that we shouldnt do it because it is illegal, that there is just no way around it. I feel you did a great job addressing you topic and appealing to your audience in a way that flows and does not rant.

    Comment by publicandprivatespace — March 9, 2011 @ 10:43 am | Reply

  3. Jill Germana
    One positive side of pirating music is to give the consumer a taste of what they are buying. It is almost like a “free sample” at a grocery store. Why would a consumer want to pay over $10 for a CD if they don’t know what they are getting themselves into? It is understandable that musicians should want to get retribution for their music. Musicians work tirelessly to push out a good song or two. As a consumer, I understand that musicians deserve compensation for their hard work.

    Comment by publicandprivatespace — March 10, 2011 @ 11:47 pm | Reply

  4. Cara Meder

    I think that the punishments one would face as a result from pirating music is very extreme. The fact of the matter is almost everyone does it and obviously everyone cannot be punished for it so how they pick the person they want to make an example out of is something I would like to know. The musicians do not even make that much money off of record sales and although pirating music is considered ‘stealing’ I don’t see it stopping any time soon. I agree with Jon that you established good audience appeal and you also did a great job of not excluding yourself from those of us who pirate music. The price of a single song on iTunes has gone up from $.99 up to $1.39 and although it doesn’t seem like a big deal, it adds up quickly as I have found. I understand that musicians work hard to make songs that consumers would want to buy but at the same time they are making millions of dollars every time their song is played on the radio and for every concert that they have.

    Comment by publicandprivatespace — March 11, 2011 @ 12:20 am | Reply

  5. I get a lot of new music, legally and otherwise, on a regular basis, and I must say that I prefer buying an album to downloading it, even if it’s free. There’s just something about holding it in your hands and studying the artwork that a download doesn’t offer. Admittedly, I have boughten CDs that turned out to be a complete waste of money, but I could have listened to more of the songs beforehand on YouTube or a similar site. It isn’t necessary to steal them to know what you are buying. I agree with Nick that the penalties for illegal downloads are totally ridiculous. At the most, it should be a misdemeanor with a small fine. I think part of the problem is that music is not art anymore. Most mainstream music is simply a commodity, made to be sold. If you are a musician yourself, you should know that that is not what music is about. Anyone who is in it purely for the money should get out of the business. Most musicians never make it big, and even if by some stroke of luck they become successful, music that is written just to be sold is hollow and worthless.

    Ethan Hollingsworth

    Comment by publicandprivatespace — March 11, 2011 @ 3:42 pm | Reply

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