Why Shouldn't People Pirate Music?

Pirating music is illegal and has a definite impact on artists.

The debate about downloading music illegally is fierce and highly vocal. Supporters of illegal downloads say that the music industry has enough money, and a digital download doesn't cost anything to reproduce. Others believe that it is stealing from the artists, who should be paid for their creations. In either case, the economic, ethical and artistic ramifications of downloading music illegally are widely documented.

Commercial Loss

Pirating music creates a commercial loss that makes it more difficult for music producers to fund projects that benefit fans. If profits are lost through illegal downloading of music, that is money that cannot be spent on concerts, tours, promotions and even the creation of music videos. Many people mistakenly think that they are just taking money from an already rich organization. According to Worldwide, "Ninety-five percent of the music downloaded via the Internet is pirated." This is a significant loss of income for the music industry, and it directly affects the production of new music.

Artist Impact

Artists are directly affected by music pirating. Artists spend their entire lives developing their musicianship and learning to perform for their fans. When music is pirated, they do not receive pay from the downloaded songs. This makes it more difficult to record, tour and finance new artists. According to the Institute for Policy Information, "The U.S. economy loses $12.5 billion in total output annually." This is money that can be used to promote new music and create opportunities for up-and-coming artists.

New Music Impact

In an interview for "The New York Times," Mr, Kennedy, chief executive of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, stated that "In France, for example, the number of albums released by domestic artists has fallen by 60 percent." This dramatic drop is the result of unrestrained piracy. When consumers are able to get the music for free, they are less likely to spend money on an album. With physical sales of CDs also falling about 16 percent worldwide by 2010, the market is unable to make up the loss in CD sales with downloads of digital goods.

Long-Term Consequences

Downloading music without the consent of the artist is, pure and simple, unethical. It is stealing in every sense of the word. Great ideas have never been free. If an idea for a great invention is conceived, the innovator is paid for his ideas. Music is a creative endeavor that involves hard work and perseverance. David L. Lange of Duke University states that "Students love music. They love it to death. The problem is that they may be loving it to death in a literal sense -- as younger children sometimes love their Easter bunnies to death." While he doesn't offer solutions to the problem, he addresses the concern that the illegal downloading of music is having an impact on music sales. This, in turn, could create serious ramifications for the production of new music.


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