The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Viewpoint -Artists, industry suffer from free music downloads

By Connor Hamilton/ nw news editor

Music piracy has been an issue long before now. However, it has become significantly easier in the last five years.

The growth and popularity of digital downloads means physical media such as CDs are becoming more obsolete each day, especially in music.

Increased percentages of preferences toward digital downloads means increased ways of obtaining content — some legal, some not.

The main problem with downloading music for free is its effect on the artist. While it is true that bigger names in the music industry can make the money back in other ways like live shows, smaller artists just starting out can take a serious hit.

“It’s funny — people always say it’s the big content owners,” said Dan Rosen, CEO of the Australian Recording Industry Association. “But it’s actually the small record labels, the indies, that are the most vehement about it. Because for them, you take a little bit off — and their margins are so small anyway — it’s really, really hard for them.”

Another problem with free downloads is that most people are not aware of just how many people they affect. Songwriters, audio engineers, publishers, producers and recording artists all receive a cut of a musician’s published work. If the artists don’t receive pay for their work, neither do the rest of those involved.

The Recording Industry Association of America reports an annual loss of at least $12.5 billion to the U.S. economy as well as more than 70,000 lost jobs due to stolen music.

Many believe the introduction of music streaming websites such as SoundCloud, Spotify and Pandora have effectively killed music piracy.

However, according to data by Russ Crupnick, chief researcher for MusicWatch, approximately 57 million Americans acquired music illegally last year — a number that represents about 20 percent of Americans currently online.

“‘Piracy is dying’ is an entirely incorrect proclamation,” Crupnick said.

While it might be much easier to find and obtain free music online than to sneak a CD off the shelf of the nearest Target, it’s probably better for people to just pay the 99 cents.

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