Sadly I was not always one of those people who thought that it was your duty to ensure the artists you enjoy get compensated for their work. Just before ZunePass debuted in 2006, I learned how to torrent music online and for a time I freely enjoyed the fruits of artist’s labor, and didn’t give the thought that it might be stealing the time of day.
As I enjoyed my favorite artists more and more I began to realize just how wrong my thinking had been. The one thing that brought it home for me was an episode of NPR’s “On The Media”. As fate would have it the same day Zune debuted with ZunePass they did a piece on the real victims of pirating sites. As I listened I began to think about the people who may have lost their jobs, the individuals who wouldn’t make their bonus, all because I lacked moral fiber. I wouldn’t walk into a store and commit a robbery, so why was stealing from these people ok? That day I vowed to pay for the music I enjoyed, and I’ve done so ever since without regret. That is until today.
While browsing my favorite sites today, I came across an article that confirms the Recording Industry Association of America admitted they spent millions of dollars, damaging the ideals of Net Neutrality, hunting down college students, and prosecuting Jamie Thomas, all for 300,000 dollars in compensation. Let me get this straight. In a time when your audience, that is 18-24 year olds, doesn’t give a carton of beans about stealing your content, your idea of a marketing strategy for paying for it was to.. sue them… for a minor fraction of what you were paying your lawyers?
Let me make this clear, I love music, therefore I love music artists. I have no reservations about paying for any form of entertainment at all. What I do have reservations about is helping this group of thugs beat unsuspecting tech-illiterate people over the head, while at the same time knowing full well that you are fighting a war that costs millions, and has no prospect of making returns. If the RIAA really wants to save their own butts, I’ve got a radical idea… support subscription music services. Stop burning good money.