Who Killed The Radio Star?
It seems like nearly everyone I know - or at least their kids - downloads most or all of their music off the net, or just copies their friends' CD's. I dunno. While I know it's considered a bit old-fashioned, I still like owning real (official) recordings by the artists I like. Even so, I'm loathe to criticize anyone for purloining their music.
When I was a college whelp, we used to make cassette copies of all our friend's albums. And several local FM stations would play whole sides of albums of a Friday or Saturday night, sometimes five or six albums' worth.
The DJ would run a few commercials and tell everyone to cue up their tape decks for the latest albums by the Eagles, Supertramp, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Heart, etc. It was a great way to build a tape collection of music I couldn't possibly have otherwise afforded.
Yet even back then, we heard the 'blah-blah-blah' about how the blank tapes were killing the recording industry. And when CD's first came out, the industry tried to stop record stores from selling used CD's, ostensibly because people would tape those CD's before they sold them to the store. Nowdays kids just take their iPods and laptops to their friends' houses and just copy the CD's. And nowdays the RIAA will tell you that it's blank CD's and DVD's that are killing music industry. How little things change.
Of course these days, the Internet really does make music sharing so much easier. In recent past it was the (old) Napster, and now it's Kazaa and Morpheus and Gnutella and Limewire and IRC and iMesh and eDonkey and Grokster - as I've heard. So, it's really the Internet that is killing the recording industry.
It was the same 25 years ago as it is today. Corporate malfeasance and artistic shabbiness is the source of the industry's troubles, not the crooked customer. And yet, even so, the music business hasn't been destroyed any more than I've been able to destroy the mice that live in the walls of my house. Napster did far less damage to the music industry than the corporations themselves have done, by their bungling and greed. The odd thing is, that despite all the file-sharing options out there, when someone comes out with a good recording, full of good songs, the masses will still buy commercially-packaged music by the millions.
There's a lesson in there somewhere.