I love readers' letters. What inspires someone to take precious time out of their day to write to the editor of a newspaper to comment? (probably the same part of our brains that motivates us to blog. Touché.)
Somewhere between following the exploits of Lilly Allen's tits and Amy Winebar's ever increasing slide into zero self respect, The London Lite carried a story last week about illegal downloads. A few days later they had a selection of reader's comments. Jane from London had some strong views about how great things were in communist Russia when bands were only paid when they performed live. Chris from Perivale brags that from borrowing from friends and illegally downloading he has amassed over 10,000 songs.
My favourite was Jerry from West Ham:
It is time for music companies to reap what they sow. The industry ripped consumers off for something that should be free or at least cheaper. Finally the consumer controls the market.
How Jerry has come to the conclusion that music should be free is not clear. However, I'm quite certain he hasn't walked into Selfridge's and taken a few shirts and a pair of jeans just because he feels that clothing is too expensive these days.
The consumer does not control the market. Artists do. There will be no music for Jerry and Chris to enjoy if their favourite artists quit and go get a day job because they can't afford to pay their rent.
Illegally downloading is theft. Sharing is great though. It is based on mutual respect - a great trait that the world needs more of. Last FM is getting better and better at this. When they first kicked off I found the site kinda clunky and wasn't quite sure how it was going to materialise into something user friendly. With some investment, they have built a brilliant networking site and radio station. And they pay artists for the songs that are streamed - just like radio does.