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Against Illegal Music Downloading Essay

1731 words - 7 pages

Flash back to October, 1997. The punk rockers who call themselves Green Day prepare to release the much anticipated follow-up album to Dookie, Nimrod. Every kid between the ages of 10 and 20 is ready to pounce on the album when it hits stores. Every one of my friends begs their parents to take them to the store on that cold Tuesday morning. The older kids ditch class to get in line at the local Best Buy. The album sells 80,000 copies in the first week and over 2 million before the new Millennium .
Now, let's fast forward to 2004. Green Day is preparing for the release their eighth album, American Idiot. This time, none of my friends rush to Best Buy, where the CD is only $12.99. None of the little soon-to-be punk rock middle school kids are begging their parents for a ride. Instead, nearly every kid I know between the ages of 10 and 20 is on the Internet downloading the album illegally. Whether it's Bit Torrent or Kazaa or Limewire, as long as the quality is decent, my friends couldn't care less where they get it. This is no new concept for these kids, who have grown up in what is known as the information age. All they know are laptops, I-Pods, cell phones, and CD/DVD burners. Lucky for Green Day, not every kid in America has a broadband connection and even some who do, ultimately bought the CD to support the legendary rockers. Still, Green Day has to wonder just how many kids have their record via the Internet. They also have to wonder how bad things will get as more and more people are getting high-speed Internet access and sharing files illegally. At this very moment, there are 2,239,976 users on the Kazaa network. If every user downloads just one album a night for a week, there will have been 188,157,984 illegal downloads in just that week! While the Internet has made our life a little easier thanks to up-to-the-second news and weather coverage and instant file sharing between companies, the growing sport of illegal MP3 downloading casts a dark shadow over the general public's perception of right and wrong, while testing the tempers of hard working musicians at the same time.
In the fall of 2001, I started a band with three of my friends called Off and On. Through the Internet, we accumulated fans in nearly every state before we even played a real show. When we did finally release a four song demo, we made even more fans thanks to MP3.com, a website that streams your songs free of charge. Up to that point, the Internet was our best friend. Without any paid advertising or promotion, we went from no fans to many. Purevolume.com has replaced MP3.com as the main provider for unsigned bands, and even some signed bands, who want new listeners. The problem with illegal downloading starts at this exact moment in a band's existence. When the band decides that they want to make a profit off of their material, many kids who have grown up in the information age still feel that they are entitled to anything the band releases. ...

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