Everyday, artists and bands are working on getting their music out to their fans by utilizing one important source, the Internet. Yet, the Internet just might be the enemy for these aspiring artists due to significant use of illegal peer-to-peer file sharing. Companies like Napster, LimeWire, Grokster, and StreamCast were all charged and shut down for allegedly encouraging and using illegal P2P file sharing. Since Napster was created in 1999, music sales have dropped 47% from $14.6 billion to $7.7 billion according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Russell Frost, an aspiring Jazz singer songwriter, found these numbers alarming.
“This is the kind of stuff that freaks me out when getting into the music industry. I put so much passion and so much time into my work hoping to earn some kind of profit. To think that illegal music trade may be one thing from holding me back from my dream…it just rubs me the wrong way,” says Frost.
And Frost might be right. In 2009 it was recorded that only 37% of music retrieved by U.S. consumers was paid for. But is this fair revenge on the music industry for overpricing CDs, concert tickets, or individual songs? According to Jim D’Entremont, author of Napster and The Dogs of War, he states that fans and music consumers feel that the music industry is robbing them of their money. Frequent LimeWire user (before it was shut down), Michelle Kane tells TuneItUpNewHaven!
“Why should I have to pay for individual songs if today’s technology is allowing me to have it for free? I understand that it’s wrong and illegal, but most people don’t even realize they’re doing it. If the music companies and whatnot don’t want people stealing their music, then they should make it less accessible.”
Companies like the RIAA have been doing exactly that by working with several colleges and universities across the nation to help prevent any sort of copyright infringement by blocking these illegal P2P file-sharing sites. Prior to any lawsuits like MGM vs. Grokster and the recent LimeWire cases, only 35% of people knew that file-sharing was illegal, but after, the percentage took off to more than 70% of music consumers understanding the consequences of illegal P2P file-sharing.
“I just hope this is taken care of in the future. There are so many artists out there who may not be affected by this, but for artists like me, who are just trying to get started, it could have a big impact on where our futures are headed” adds Frost.
There’s always the fear that companies like this will never stop being created, but everyone can do their part in preventing illegal peer-to-peer file sharing and only time will tell if it helps.