A study done by The Institute for Policy Innovation showed that pirated music contributed to the loss of over 700,000 jobs, over $12.5 billion dollars to the economy and over $2 billion in wages to the everyone who helped produce and distribute the record.
Illegally downloading music is different from pirating music. Pirating is profiting from stolen work, which results in exponentially more losses. Illegally downloading music is stealing about a dollar worth of merchandise.
Pirated music is where the real loss comes from. Pirated music generally starts out as music that had been downloaded illegally, and is then sold for profit. So if a whole albums is illegally downloaded, that’s a loss of about ten dollars, but if that ripped off album is then copied and sold, that is now a loss of twenty dollars.
Downloading music is stealing, yet most people don’t feel the same conviction as they would stealing an actual copy; plenty of people will rip off music online but would never go in a store and shoplift a CD. The reason for that is people aren’t physically stealing something; by not stealing directly from an entity — like Walmart or Target — they don’t feel capable. People don’t feel the same guilt they would having to walk out of a store with something they didn’t pay for.
After interviewing several anonymous students, they all said that downloading music came down to respect for the artist. If it was an artist they liked and respected — even though majority of record sales goes to the corporations that produce the albums — they would pay for their album, but if they didn’t really like the artist and only wanted a few songs ,they have no problem illegally downloading the music.
One student said, “I am a musician myself, so I like to support artists… if I was a professional musician, I would want people to buy my stuff.”
“Morally it’s wrong, but how can you say no [to free music]?” said another student.
For almost everyone, it comes down to two things, respect and money. It’s not that they don’t want to buy music — they just don’t have the money to.
One person tried to justify their illegal actions by saying she supports artist by buying concert tickets. However, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s still stealing. Illegally downloading music is messing with peoples’ livelihood. People aren’t just stealing from Kanye West, a rapper with hundreds of millions of dollars. They’re stealing from everyone who helped produce the record, and you’re taking away money from the middle man whether it be iTunes or Target, it’s more people losing money.
Technology has been developed that would help stop the production of pirated music. With this technology, copies of CDs would have a popping noises throughout the CD that make it very hard to listen to. However this doesn’t solve the problem of MP3 being shared or sold. It’s an ongoing problem that may never be solved.