There was a blog on the NPR website called "All Songs Considered". An intern named Emily White wrote that her life was "music-centric". But she'd only bought about ten CDs in her life. She had thousands of illegal downloads. Thousands!
Yes, she said. She knew it was wrong, at least on some level, but paying for music was terribly inconvenient!
Read what she wrote HERE.
A fellow named David Lowery, a musician and a professor, wrote an excellent response.
Read his response HERE.
He makes a number of points, one of which is that young people illegally downloading songs are siding with corporations and ripping off artists, and they think this makes them rebels.
But okay. I have a suggestion. For all the young people like Emily White who feel somewhat guilty for their illegal downloading, but not guilty enough to stop doing it.
If you can't control yourself, if you can't make yourself stop doing it, you can at least do this:
Every Christmas, every birthday, every gift-giving occasion, give CDs and DVDs.
You're spending the money anyway. You may as well support the artists you're ripping off the rest of the year.
Since you're illegally downloading all that music, you ought to be able to find something appropriate for everyone on your list.
If you comfort yourself with the thought that you're only stealing the music of wealthy musicians, then you should buy the work of lesser known artists. Buy DVDs of low budget independent films. You'll also help your loved ones develop a taste for low budget, non-commercial movies.
Every gift-giving occasion, it should be CDs and DVDs for everyone!
I actually quit giving DVD as presents. With Netflix and streaming video, it seemed stupid. But now I realize that I should spend the money and support the artists whether people can get them on Netflix or not!
My other idea
There are a lot of snotty comments on these articles about illegal downloading. These idiots lecture musicians that they have to find alternative sources of revenue. Selling CDs is "so 1990", one of them said. One suggestion was that you could charge fans to have lunch with you.
Here's a better one:
Find out who's downloading your music and sue them!
Didn't I read that the minimum civil penalty for copyright infringement was something like $750? For a band producing their own CD, two lawsuits would cover the cost of production. CDs would start paying for themselves again!
You'd alienate a handful of fans, but fans are of no value if all they do is steal from you. And I'm not suggesting that you sue in order to intimidate people into stopping illegal downloading. I'm suggesting you do it to make money.