Still Paying for the Naughties

The piracy debate took an interesting twist today when the Independent on Sunday revealed that those that spend the most money buying music are, in fact, the same individuals who are most likely to download music illegally.

It's not really rocket science to think that people that are very passionate about music would use the convenience of the internet to gain access to what they wanted to hear. Analysis of the survey finds that those that file share do so as a "discovery mechanism"; something that most artists and labels have come to rely on in order to spread the word about their work.

After my blog on the proposed new anti-piracy legislation earlier this week, I thought I would research any current studies on the psychology behind file sharing. For me part of the answer to this issue lies in the reasons behind why people genuinely do not seem to have a problem with downloading and sharing music. I didn't get far before discovering this article from Esquire from last year.

Author Chuck Klosterman raises one of the most intriguing perspectives I have heard in the debate. By raising the question of where the billions not being spent on the music industry have gone from the economy since file sharing became a norm, he has come to a simple conclusion.

We're still paying for the music we bought over the past decade.

It's true. Think of all that cash you slammed onto your credit cards during the boom at the turn of the millenium. I used to spend £100 a week on vinyl alone, some of it which still sits unplayed in my record boxes. The reality for many is a big fat balance on credit cards - only now they choose to pay off their debt rather than rack up more CDs.

We were addicted to music consumption. Getting the last single by a new or favourite band was a symbol of status and part of a shared cultural experience. We needed to acquire music as much as we wanted to actually listen to it.

That passion hasn't died - music is just as popular as ever - but with the digital era crossing over to a new generation, the need to consume has begun to vanish. The physical relic of the plastic medium no longer required for a new audience that has access to digital content. Downloading is fast, convenient and readily available - even accessible on-the-go through mobile devices. So why wouldn't a music fan take advantage of the best resource that gives them access to what they love?

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