Free Music vs. Pay for Downloads

In their book, The Future of Music: Manifesto for the Digital Music, authors David Kusek and Gerd Leonhard foresee music purchasing to be comparable to how water runs through our homes. A small monthly flat-fee will provide a household with nearly unlimited access to music. This very well could be the future of the music industry. However, despite the belief that the music industry is dying out, in reality, most facets of the music industry are booming. Although more music is being consumed over the past five years than ever before, there has been a large decline in album sales. Album sales have been the only victim of every bands best friend and worst enemy, the Internet.

If it is their wish every artist should be paid for his or her album sales. One of the most notable measures of success within the industry is the sale of a musician’s album. Going “platinum” would hold no meaning if downloading music was made free. Every single artist who holds any form of recognition could reach platinum status overnight. The Billboard 100 would be decided by how many people clicked a button with no fear in paying for something that you don’t appreciate. It would be increasingly difficult to measure any form of success.

Recording studios have been damaged by the emergence of the Internet and the availability of recording technologies to the public. Recording Studios become unnecessary when the Internet makes distribution simpler than ever.  That, along with high-end recording equipment being cheap enough for if downloading music for free was the norm; there is a possibility that even more artists would enter the mainstream, further watering down the music industry.  With even more music available for free, more downloading would be taking place. With only total downloads and spoken word being the judge for good music vs. bad, hundreds of more artists are bound to be signed by each label. The fear that an unknown artists popularity could spontaneously soar over night would cause major paranoia amongst the major record labels in the industry. More artists mean more bad music. The only people that would benefit from free music are all the college kids who are being fined for illegally stealing enormous quantities of music.  There is nothing positive about allowing the free downloading of music.

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