An issue I feel is very current in the music industry, as well as very relevant, is music piracy.The following is an excerpt from a paper I wrote a paper on the subject.This is indeed a controversial topic, so I’d love to see what comments you all have.
Hard rock/metal quintet Oh, Sleeper is a band very vocal about the broad dangers and problems with music piracy. To illustrate their point, guitarist Shane Blay detailed out the expenses and payrolls for which the band is responsible [via a Facebook note]. Blay explains there are two main ways by which the band can earn profit: guaranties and merchandise sales. For any given show, the band makes their money through $300 they have in each area. To start with guaranties, which are the amounts every band in a show is promised by the venue as payment for performing, the band manager and booking agent each receive 15% and 10% respectively. With the gas bill averaging $150 for each show as well as food costs averaging $10 for each member of the band and their merchandise manager, these are subtracted from the total. To sum up guaranties, the band earns around $15 as the net total. For merchandise, Oh, Sleeper sells their t-shirts for $15 per show, and it costs the band $7.50 to print each shirt. With half profit made for each shirt, half of the average $300 in merchandise sales goes back to the t-shirt manufacturer. Many venues, however, charge what are called “merch rates,” where around 25% of the profits of the sold merchandise are paid to the venue. When both the guaranties and merchandise sales are added together, the band makes around $13.12 per band member, and this total does not include miscellaneous expenses such as hotels, auto repair bills, broken musical equipment and replacements, etc. Blay concludes his article with the words, “STOP STEALING OUR CDs PLEASE [sic].”
It is a myth that all musicians today make the “big bucks.” For a band such as Oh, Sleeper to make the amount of money they do as a signed band, it is surprising how little the band really receives for their wages. In this age of digital music, where outlets such as iTunes and AmazonMP3 are quickly becoming the major sources of music for consumers, the sale of physical CDs is becoming more and more slim. Digital sales are quite easy for the sellers, because they can make the money they would like very quickly, and consumers are satisfied because they receive the music they buy almost instantly. But with this newfound convenience of MP3s, music piracy has become much more of a problem. The infamous Napster closed down years ago because of copyright infringement issues, but this has not stopped some crafty consumers from continuing to steal music and/or give it away to friends, mostly because of the incredible ease. One can easily burn songs to a CD and give the CD away, or even worse, sell the CD for a profit. Some computer applications such as (the now defunct) LimeWire or Kazaa, while legitimate and legal peer-to-peer sharing networks for non-copywritten material, have also an easy avenue to find virtually any song they would like and freely download it to their computer’s hard drive. Some also rationalize music piracy through borrowing albums from a local library, importing the CDs’ contents to their hard drive and returning the albums. Others claim that since nobody they know has ever been arrested for the crime, they will not be subject to indictment either. And what is possibly one of the worst aspects about music piracy is that many people partake in the activity without much thought of the consequences, including Christians.
Christians, like everyone else, are subject to the temptations to sin every day, and music piracy is no exception. And because it is extremely easy to pirate music, many Christians participate, despite both its illegal and sinful nature; if they purposefully look for ways to obtain illegally-exchanged music, they will indeed find them. I once was talking to a friend at my college about this issue, and he retorted with: “I’m okay with opening my mind to different types of music, but not with opening my wallet.” But music consumers, Christians or not, cannot have it both ways. Pirating music, any way it is performed, is a form of stealing, and with Scripture making a clear statement on the topic of theft and possessions, Christians have no place in the illegal activity. Exodus 20:15 phrases it quite clearly with its four simple words, “You shall not steal.” Like any other sin, piracy can be tempting, but resisting the urges is important to keep one’s heart blameless and keep our habits with money honest and pure. For some, purchasing music from a retail store may be a better option to avoid the lure of the internet’s black market. This should not stop consumers from using their stewardship skills, however; as long as the outlets chosen are legal, one should go and find the best deal they can on music in which they are interested. Many digital music outlets periodically offer sales and bargains of which any consumer would be wise to take notice.
Knowing the facts about the reality of music piracy and its implications, consumers would do well to avoid the activity. Besides its illegality, it hurts the artists and other music professionals and desensitizes the human heart towards stealing. To keep artists such as The Lighthouse And The Whaler and Oh, Sleeper in the circle, making records and playing shows for their fans, music piracy has to end. Truly valuing the art of music has two parts: listening to and appreciating the music, as well as giving these bands their due financial support as well. The Lord calls Christians to be different, and the sooner Christians accept this call in this area of the arts, bands like Oh, Sleeper can survive and continue to bring innovative music to the table.
I actually researched this a while back and came to the conclusion that a way to slow piracy is for all of the big online music stores like iTunes and AmazonMP3 to offer cheap subscription music services. Zune, for example, has a $15 all-you-can-eat-package that lets you download millions of songs to your computer and Zune. The catch is, once you stop the subscription, they won't let you listen to the songs. They also in that $15 let you keep any 10 songs from their catalog, regardless of if you cancel the service or not. So if you think about it, you really pay for 10 songs (which could make up a whole album), and you get unlimited subscribed music for $5 a month. I use the service and it helps me find and listen to new artists legally, so I can pick and choose which CDs I would like to actually purchase in the future (I'm a physical copy freak). I think if iTunes implemented a form of subscription music that was as cheap as an album, it could help the rate of piracy decrease. Also, going to used CD stores can be a good alternative (although, I don't know if any of the money goes to the artists).
Not that I don't agree, it's just that there are so many rules and regulations regarding the whole music piracy thing that quite frankly either way, I'm gona be guilty. For one, if I can't share music with my friend, does that mean I can share music with my "family"? My cousin? What about my sister who lives a couple of blocks away? Can I even share music with people who live in my house? Here's how I see it. If we have one pc, and I have a crap load of music on my account, why should I have call the police if I catch them downloading the songs unto their iPods (okay, so that was over exaggerating a little bit, but still).
I have a rhapsody account on my iPhone. It gives me unlimited music for 14 bucks a month. That's where I get all of my music from. Come to think of it, the most recent physical CD I bought with my own money was RED's "Until we have faces", only because I'm a huge fan. After glancing through the booklet, it was clear that the industry has pretty much given up on CD packaging. Heck, most packaging is done with cardboard. But that's beyond the point. I don't support illegal music downloading, because it's stealing, but we're not living in the 1980s either. We have technology, and technology is destroying jobs. Even in the music industry.
Great article. As a huge music buff, I've run into situations with people wanting to borrow cd's plenty of times, and I admit it's been hard to say no.
To be honest though, I'm such a hard-copy freak that the internet download isn't that appealing to me...especially pirated sources (they're so dangerous for viruses and crap anyway, why risk it?). My favorite albums I keep in .WAV form on my iPod because I don't want any compression.
I also feel strongly about supporting the bands I love and want to help them financially whenever possible. It's always been a dream of mine to be in a big Christian band, and since I'm not, might as well support the dreams of those who are :)
I am pretty familiar with the music industry (touring, booking, merch, etc.) and Oh Sleepers account is either pathetic from their part or an outright lie. I hate music piracy, but I also hate lies too and that account is not honest.
Stealing is wrong yes but here are my questions. If I go online to find the songs and just listen to them through the internet wouldn't it be the same as just downloading the songs? I mean practically any song a band writes can be found somewhere to listen to. Whats the difference in downloading it so its easily accessible instead of digging through search engines or waiting for it to play on Pandora? Secondly, if you can't afford the CD and have no intention of ever buying it, what does it hurt the band if you download it? If you wait long enough you can get an album off of Amazon for $2.99 or find it in a discount bargain for 3 or 4 dollars. You are just depriving yourself of the music. I like over 100 bands and to purchase CDs on a constant basis would wipe my bank account. So I should just not listen to good music that encourages me and uplifts me spiritually? I'm not justifying stealing but I read an article that says record company's take anywhere from 60 to 80 percent of the CD Sales. So in essence the most an artist makes is 6 dollars off a CD. Where a band makes their money is shows and t-shirts that a greedy record company can't touch. If you hurt anyone through piracy, its the record company and frankly greedy corporations can afford to lose a little since they won't give it willingly. These are just my thoughts. I understand stealing is wrong but whats the difference in listening to it on the internet vs downloading it? Same goes with movies...its not illegal to watch it online, its illegal to upload or download it. If you want music to be sacred and to stop piracy, stop digital downloads, posting of songs, and sites that upload them. Its the technology age, that stuff isn't happening anytime soon or at all for that matter.
I find it a bit disturbing how many people here want to justify stealing music by saying either that it's not really wrong or it's not actually "stealing." Anyone who says that really just sounds like they don't want to admit they're actually stealing music.
For example -- you don't just waltz into a store and swipe a CD off the shelf or a DVD or a book or a shirt off the rack -- those are products someone has designed and produced for selling. Music is created by the artist and sold for the enjoyment of others. These artists need to make money to continue to make a living as a job. If anyone has ever created something to share with others for a living, you wouldn't want someone just taking it for free. What RIGHT do music listeners have to download the artist's music for free? You don't walk into a restaurant and steal a plate of food that the chef made because you feel entitled to it.
I really think people have just gotten so used to obtaining music illegally that they've either convinced themselves erroneously that it's OK or they just do not want to believe it's wrong because they want to keep doing it. Plus, sadly, the internet makes it so dang easy to get music for free that it might not SEEM like stealing to some people, but it really is. The fact people want to believe it's not wrong truly baffles me.... and I'm not even a musician.
Again, the internet has grayed the "term" of stealing. We have to stop comparing data to physical items. Even though pirating is wrong, comparing it to incomparable things does NOT strengthen the argument against piracy. In fact, it cheapens the arguments and makes piracy seem MORE acceptable. You have to abandon the "You wouldn't walk into a CD store" comparison. It doesn't work.
And somebody makes a good point. What IS the difference between downloading and listening online? Accessibility? Quality? Is any online listening stealing now?
I honestly don't see people trying to justify "stealing." I see the evidence of new technology opening up new doors that people don't understand.
Especially for a Christian Musician, the intellectual property argument is becoming increasingly shaky.
If you want people to stop justifying "piracy," perhaps the argument against it needs to shift from the tired "You wouldn't steal a CD" or "You are hurting the artist" comparisons. I think piracy's popularity comes partially from games of record labels, and also from poor arguments levied against it. If we're to say piracy is wrong, we need a better gameplan.
We ALSO need the record labels to get integrity back. It does kind of bug me that nobody seems to care if the consumer is ripped off for their honesty. We'll slam somebody who downloads a song but a label who takes advantage of a fans' loyalty to their band gets a free pass? No. Pass the blame around equally. Dishonesty is wrong, and that goes BOTH ways.
Music piracy is destined to continue until the tactics used against it change. So far, the tactics used have obviously been ineffective. So what is the solution? CHANGE TACTICS! This goes both for everyday people against it and the music industry itself. Sites like Guvera are the first step. Maybe the industry will soon wake up. It has to if it wants to survive. Like it or not, we live in the digital age. The music industry has to adapt in order to survive. This isn't to justify stealing as much as it is reminding people that you can't just play the victim card forever. If somebody pushes you into the mud on Monday, it's their fault you're there. If you're still in that mud on Friday, it's your fault for not getting out. The music industry has to stop vilifying music pirates and start adapting to combat them. If and when that effectively happens, music piracy will all but disappear.
JJ -- Sorry man, but you really don't have a case here. Stealing is stealing and just because the music FORMAT has changed, it shouldn't devalue the art. Seriously dude, whether you want to accept it or not, it's the same thing as ripping off an artist's painting. You just don't do it. And it IS the same as stealing a physical CD. It's just that the manner of obtaining music has changed which has allowed piracy to be much, much easier.
And I agree some labels indeed do take advantage of the fans (just look at re-releases and re-re-releases, etc), but let's face it, the prices have dropped tremendously since music first came out on CD. I believe DC Talk's "Jesus Freak," on CD, was about $17 or $18 dollars the day it dropped back in 1995 (I remember shelling out my limited teen cash on that one). I remember the WALL (now known as FYE) music store was selling regular CDs for over $20. Now, you can get some brand new albums on AmazonMP3 for $5 -- sometimes even less!! And some stores are selling physical CDs for $6 or $7. The music industry IS changing their tactics. They have to to survive. Smaller labels have gone out of business, some bigger labels had to be bought out by the giants, people have been laid off as companies try to rethink how they do things and spend their money, bands have to beg fans for financing. Some things needed to change, yes, but I think when people start whining that pirating digital music isn't stealing and make weak excuses for doing it, they're just devaluing the product/art and trying to make themselves feel better about ripping off someone else's work.
The industry IS changing their tactics to get people to stop stealing music. Not only have iTunes and AmazonmP3 and all that come out (like some of these comments said), but have you ever heard of NoiseTrade? It's a new thing where new artists can give their music away to people as a free download, and listeners can choose to "leave them a tip". So a person can legally download new music for free to open themselves up to new stuff, and also choose to support the artists!
I don't think Oh, Sleeper's case was uncommon, and I don't think they were lying. Life on the road is VERY tough for these artists, whether signed or not. Falling Up had started a campaign back in the day to bring awareness to the fact that a lot of these artists signed to big labels made no money. The Myriad is a Christian band that gets airplay on RadioU, the largest Christian rock station in the nation, as well as mainstream play, MTV play, ect., yet when one of their members was diagnosed with cancer the family had to do a bunch of benefits to raise money for medical expenses. Why? Because they didn't have health insurance. It's a basic necessity that only 1 in 5 adult Americans do not have, yet this big famous band signed to a big famous label didn't have any. Kind of makes you think!
I get the argument about "What's the difference between streaming it online vs. downloading it". I see the point. Yet the difference is, I stream it at my computer or on my cell phone, but when I download it I can listen to it on my computer, on my cell phone, in my car, in my kitchen, at a party with all my friends, ect. When you BUY it, it's yours to use for yourself wherever you want. When you STREAM it, you can only listen to it as long as the band has it posted and allows you to for free. It's up to them, they have the control. It's like they're letting you rent it. No even better, since it's free you're not renting it, you're borrowing it.
Back to the artist-and-painting analogy. When you buy a painting, it's yours to keep and put it wherever you want. If you go to the museum and take a picture of that painting, blow the picture up and get it developed and frame it and hang it in your house, is that fair to the seller? Of course not, you have just stolen from the artist though you did not physically steal a product. If you didn't pay for it, you don't have a right to hang that picture in your house. If they give the picture away for free to you as a gift, you have that right! Just like if an artist gives you a song for free, it's yours. But if that painter says, "Here, you can look at this painting for free here at my website," and then chooses to take it off their site, it's their choice, because it is theirs and not yours. That is the difference. I hope that makes sense.
I have discovered artists like Dave Barnes and Warren Barfield and Deas Vail by listening to music they had streamed at their website. I thought to myself, "I would love to support these artists, because they are all probably pretty broke." So I went out and bought their CDs. Yes, I got them for $5 each, and the artists only get a small portion of that money, but if EVERY person who listened to their music illegally would pay just $5, that little bit would add up!
Also, the argument of "You're not hurting anyone, you're only depriving yourself of good music," that doesn't really stand against the "stealing" argument. If a farmer has a field and he's growing corn, and you're thinking, "Man, I could really go for some corn right now," do you have a right to go take his corn? I mean, it's not like you're gonna knock on his door to buy corn from him anyways, and it's not like he's gonna notice one stalk of corn missing from that giant field, it's insignificant, doesn't really matter! Well it DOES matter, you are taking money from him.
If you don't think it's the same because there is an unlimited number of digital downloads available but only a certain number of corn stalks, then think of it this way. As Christians we are told to deny ourselves to follow Christ. For one person that might mean not eating Little Debbies because they struggle with gluttony and overindulgence. They no longer get that satisfaction of the delicious taste and that feeling of their belly being full of something so sweet, but it's a sacrifice they make to honor God. For another person that might mean not downloading music illegally. They might miss out on memorizing every song on the album or drawing closer to God through that artist's music, but it's the sacrifice they make to honor God. Can we draw closer to God through sin, or through obedience? Can we draw closer to God through downloading music illegally, or through using the time we would have spent listening to that illegal album in prayer instead?
Whether people believe it's stealing or not, it's illegal, and the Bible tells us that to break the law is sin. So whatever your "conviction", it's illegal which makes it sinful. So let's stop sinning and spend a couple of bucks to support the artists! Maybe that means skipping out on your Starbucks run this Saturday (people drop $5 in one sitting there all the time!). Maybe it means eating a TV dinner instead of hitting fast food for dinner. Either way, there are ways for us to come up with the few bucks it takes. Not only does it give them money, it helps them move up on the charts, which in turn helps them make more money. Not because money is the goal, but because money is necessary to live in today's culture.
I heard of NoiseTrade. It's a step in the right direction. As for iTunes, some of their moves seem to encourage piracy more than discourage it.
In terms of damage, there is no difference. My point is that it sort of debunks the "it hurts the artist" idea. I agree it gives them the control, but that's about it.
I say if you take a picture of a painting, it's not that bad. You're accepting a mediocre copy; you clearly aren't robbing the artist of their sales. They painted one painting and will still be paid for that painting. Why should they care if somebody wants a distorted copy?
If you think we'd be better served in prayer than listening to illegal music, the same is true of ANY music. (Heck, the same could be said of these Christian artists) This is what I mean about being careful where you take your argument.
I am all for supporting the artists. But I feel the respect needs to go BOTH ways and I don't feel like it is. I feel like people want to cast stones at those who download illegally, act superior, and then make excuses for the times the industry shafts the consumer. (Effectively stealing from THEM with deception)
As I said before, if we really wanted to stop piracy, we'd change our tactics. Right now, when we use ineffective comparisons and emotional blackmail to it, I can't believe we really want to stop it as much as feel good about being against it. If ending piracy was the real goal, we'd change tactics when they're proven to not work.
A lot of good points here and good discussion. I just want to add a few questions about piracy for you to think about or that relates to piracy in a way.
1)Any song or just about any song is available to listen to either through Pandora, Youtube, or some other site. What is the difference in listening to that vs downloading it? True its not on your computer but you can have a party using songs on Youtube and make a playlist. You can have a playlist though Pandora. You don't need to download or buy CDs anymore. Just log onto the internet and listen to as much music as you want for free. So is downloading really that bad? If downloading is stealing isn't listening to everything on line also stealing? You can name any five songs and I bet you I could find them for your listening leisure without downloading them. Just saying.
2) If I go into a friend's house and listen to say Red's new album and leave, come back the next day do it again and keep doing that is it stealing? If I use his internet am I stealing from Verizon or Comcast? If I use his fan to cool off on a hot day am I stealing from the manufacturer of the fan? I know this sounds stupid and absurd but this is the comparison of listening to music online vs downloading it. We can use all we want online or from a friend and thats ok but downloading isn't? Again not okaying stealing or piracy but whats the difference? Can someone honestly tell me?
Until music is completely banned from the internet other than the artist them self uploading it temporarily, how can piracy be called piracy when you can listen online for free as much as you like?
Great analogy, Darius comparing this debate with some who believe rock music is sinful. I also agree that points can be made on either side, but ultimately it all comes down to one's own personal conviction. Instead of casting stones and petty arguements, we can each share our own minds without wanting to change other's.
Actually, let's look at bigger picture. Instead of arguing in such a way as these comments have, why not love each other? When these comments become fueled with simply wanting to be righ, that becomes arrogance and boastful. Whether you are right or not, to argue in such a way as some are now doing, that strikes me much more as being blatantly wrong. Who cares if you steal something, but are harboring bitterness in your heart in wanting to prove a point? Just some thoughts...
Good blog, Roger. I understand why someone would want music for free. Downloading music from the Internet for free allows more money to be in people’s pockets. There really isn't much of a temptation for me personally because I'm patient enough to wait for the $5 deals on Amazon MP3, and working for JFH has enabled me to offshoot my costs by giving up my time for more "free" music. However none of that justifies stealing someone else’s stuff. That happens to be a way artists and labels make money, and there aren't too many people who enter a profession whose desire is to work for nothing.
I have given much thought about the issue recently. Back in the day before me or my friends had MP3 players we would freely loan out CD's for the other's enjoyment. Many times I have bought that same album which I had at one time borrowed (even after I got an MP3 player). But now I certainly see the problem in giving out CDs to your friends so they can give it to their friends so they can give it to their friends so everyone can have the same CD for nothing (which I have unfortunately seen). However I think there is a small aspect over protecting by some distributors. I recently saw a video game disc with a tag which read "do not make illegal copies." That's all cool, but it also had "Do not load out" on that same tag. Are distributors so afraid of people that we have to say "don't loan out" stickers to protect their copying rights? I suppose so and for good reason, though I think this is starting to get ridiculous. I mean is it wrong to loan out movies and CDs to people because there is a possibility of them making copies?
Just my ramblings though… as a side note, does it pass ethical muster to download an album legally from Amazon or Itunes, and burn one copy of a CD for yourself?
I don't think I agree that listening to streaming music is downloading it. Accessing and downloading are different. When you stream you're accessing a file that's located elsewhere. When you download you actually transfer that data to your own pc.
My name is Chris Sligh. I am what I would call a "mainstream" Christian artist. I'm not under the radar like Oh! Sleeper or other metal bands. And I will say that their account is not an exaggeration. I'm surprised they clear any money at all honestly. If you would like I can recount to you how it works even for me as a more mainstream-type Christian artist as to how near impossible it is to make money!
But really this isn't about touring or how much money someone makes on the road. Who wants to hear a rock star belly ache and moan? No one. So I'll go at it like this.
What kids who download don't realize (and I didn't realize, really until the last 4-5 years) is that when you download U2 or Black Eyed Peas or Metallica, you aren't hurting those bands. Those bands make gajillions of dollars as is and will continue to make tons of money off of touring, licensing, merchandise, etc. They may lose a little but let's be honest...Bono can deal with making "only" $95 million this year - as opposed to the $120 million he made 5 years ago. Awww... poor baby, right?
I have had people come up to me before and say, "Dude, I want to support your stuff, so I'll buy your CD. Most everybody else I download, cuz they've made their money - but you, I wanna help"
And I almost cry.
Because without even knowing it, this person is actually hurting me more than he/she could possibly know.
When you download U2 illegally, U2 is fine. they have built a career and it will continue no matter how many records they sell. but what it does do is kill the record label's bottom line, which in turn causes the record labels to not be able to stick by young talent as long as it could 10, 20 even 30 years ago, which means more artists are getting dropped faster because they didn't sell record immediately. Aerosmith would've been dropped after record 1. We would've never heard "Toys In the Attic". Goo Goo Dolls would've never made it far enough to make "Name" in this modern age. The stories of gloried bands who didn't break on their first record is almost endless. Yet think to yourself of an artist in the last 7-10 years who didn't connect on their first record and were given a 2nd or even 3rd record to work it out, then busted out in a big way.
Not very many.
Why? Because people think that it's okay to download music illegally because those band have enough money. It is a cause and effect. 100% provable. 100% true. you can not on one hand support your favorite young artists while downloading your favorite HUGE artists.
Add in the Biblical moral demand to not steal, and no Christian should ever one time download a song illegally. Read the FBI piracy warnings. You can share music within a household. Shoot, even iTunes allows you to download your music to 5 devices. So, follow the rules, sure. But don't use ignorance of rules to talk yourself into doing wrong.
I'd love to talk more about this...any questions, rebuttals, etc.?
Again! I'm tired of bringing this up, but I don't think I'm being understood (or acknowledged for that matter haha). My sister has a subscription for rhapsody. She pays like around 14 bucks a month for it. She's using rhapsody at home, I'm using her rhapsody at my home. She's got rhapsody hooked up at work. I got rhapsody hooked up at school. Heck, I even have it on my iPhone, which basically screams out, why the heck would I even need to buy another song by Chris Sligh (which unfortunately probably went from 99 cents to $1.29) if I'm "allowed" to do this. This CANNOT be helping the him, but heck it's legal. I can even download the actual files and use soundtaxi to put them on my iphone. But I don't need to do that because I'm mooching off my sister's unlimited music. Can you label me as a theft? No. Remember the days when we use to record songs off the radio? Well the same thing can be done if the music is being streamed online. Is it more illegal now than it was back then?
This is a simple case with one answer...everybody stop downloading and just listen to your favorite artists online. Since streaming is not illegal or considered stealing, listen to your hearts content on whatever site you want be it Pandora, Youtube or some other site. In the end you STILL DON'T BUY CDS and the artists are STILL HURTING for money. You walk away with the same great music at NO COST WITHOUT STEALING just more hassle. It clears a guilty conscience though and proves that artists will continue to fall like flies like Chris Sligh basically said. Just goes to show it's more then downloading music that is hurting artists, time to wake up and realize that.
Just a thought, how is downloading music online different than buying a CD at a garage sale/thrift store/etc. After all, the artist/label isn't receiving any money for it.
And when it comes to Youtube videos of songs, in my experience, people will sometimes listen to the song on Youtube and then go download the album on iTunes. Just sayin'
No, I'm not supporting Piracy.
Look,a lot of you are saying that it isn't stealing from the band if you wouldn't have payed the money to legally buy the CD anyway.And that you wouldn't buy the CD because it's not good enough to justify spending your hard-earned money.It's not the point whether the band would get it anyway,the point is that you're stealing even if the band wouldn't have made money anyway.Because not buying is better than stealing it.Whether the band gets money or not,God doesn't want you to steal.
@Jeff I agree that the line of what is legal and illegal is often hazy. If you and a friend go halfsies on buying a physcial cd who gets the music? or do you both just get a portion? or what if I buy a physical cd and upload it to my iPod, is it wrong to let people borrow my purchased cd because then both of us would be capable of listening to it? would it be hypocritical to listen to music in your friends car if you know it's stolen? there's a lot of ethical questions that this issue brings up that I don't necessarily have answers for. I try not to put myself in too many of those situations to avoid those very problems.
Josh, I think that's a GREAT idea (record companies, itunes, amazon mp3 should just "lock" their content).
And VivaCincoDeMayo, you said "I'm tired of hearing amazing singles on the radio, getting excited for an album, paying my hard earned money for that album, and being disappointed with every song but that one single. I'm also tired of buying albums just for them to be re-released later in the year with a bunch of extra new songs. Should I really have to buy the album all over again to enjoy the new music?" My answer to that is that you can go to youtube and listen to the songs, decide which ones you want to buy, then go on Itunes and pay a buck for each song that you want, and don't buy the songs you don't want. You don't get the songs you didn't like, you don't spend as much, and the artists get paid.
Nathaniel S, of course you can download a CD from Amazon or Itunes legally then burn a copy for yourself. The problem is when someone burns a copy for someone else, because that person gets the music, but the artist doesn't get paid for it.
The only time i think it's EVER okay to burn someone else a CD is if it's just ONE song, and you've either bought more than one version of it, or bought a bunch of songs that you never listen to from the same artist. All else is stealing.
Thanks for reading!