I remember the early days of file sharing. Back then, my friends and I were big on experimenting with the new technology. We first started file sharing using the now seemingly primitive method offered by ICQ. It was really slow. A single document file would take about an hour to download. A sound clip about 2 hours. Then later on, Napster came along and my friends and I went crazy when we discovered that through Napster, we then had access to a world wide collection of music files. I remember that one of the earliest forms of CD ripping was done using a program called Music Match . My friends and I would spend many hours after school swapping CD’s physically and ripping it to each others computers. Then, we would individually go online and trade or share our music files with others on the net for music that we wanted but did not have access to.
Then later on, the government stepped in because the recording companies started complaining about lost income due to the rampant file swapping of music files over the internet. I must admit that at the time, I really saw nothing wrong with what I was doing. After all, I would buy the CD’s first, rip it to my PC and then file share with others. It was only later on that I began to realize that I was building quite a hefty music collection on my hard drive and I had not spent a single cent on it.
It was at this time that I began to realize that file sharing does have its ill effects on the music industry. What was happening within my circle of friends was that only one person would but a certain CD and then we would pass it around and rip the CD for personal and file sharing use. I realized that I had to stop this practice of file sharing otherwise my favorite singers would soon be out of a job and I would no longer have any music to enjoy.
Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with file sharing provided it is strictly for personal use. What I decided to do eventually what buy the CD and then rip and burn the CD to a black CD which I then used on my car sound system. File sharing? Yes. But for personal use. Nothing wrong with that. I already bought the CD anyway. But to buy the CD and then give it my cousin so that he can copy it to his computer and share the file with others on the net, no way.
I do not file share so much these days. Maybe because I recently purchased an Ipod and have discovered the joy of online music purchasing at Itunes. Finally, I am able to own just the songs that I want from my favorite singer instead of having to buy a whole CD for just a few of my favorite songs. This kind of file sharing does not bother my conscience because I know that for every single I buy, I honestly help keep the music industry alive by sending revenue to both the artist and the recording company. What does make me sad though is the recent reports by music industry insiders about how the popularity of legal and illegal file sharing methods has led to a marked drop in the album sales of certain artists. I fear that if not security measures and regulations are set into place, all the new and emerging file sharing methods will spell the demise of the music industry.
File sharing is the wave of the future. It has redefined the music industry as it has come to be known for generations. Therefore, I predict that the recording industry will fully adapt to the reality that people prefer file sharing rather than full purchases and reform the industry to reflect the taste of the new generation of music lovers in order to keep the recording industry alive and kicking.