To be honest, I’m not that big a fan of music. I don’t dislike music; it is just that it has never been a big deal to me. If tomorrow people stopped creating music, it wouldn’t bother me, there is already more than enough in the world as it is, why do we even need any more?
It is perhaps this bias that has had me wondering why music piracy should be such a big deal. Music labels argue that they have lost so much money because of how easy it is to illegally distribute music via the internet. I don’t question for a second the ease internet makes music distribution, what I do question is why music companies are relying on revenue through the sale of music in the first place.
Music should be free. The notion of a user paying for an individual song that they can own and play just seems ridiculous to me. Music singles should be considered advertising. They are promoting the band, increasing interest in the product. The product however is NOT the individual song.
I’m not going to pretend to understand the intricacies of the music industry from a business point of view, but it seems clear to me that you can’t sustain a business if you’re relying on selling something that is easy to obtain for nothing.
Surely bands make more money when they tour; assuming of course they have a decent fan base. Artists can make money through licensing revenue such as when their music is featured on television, video games or other media that is more easily sold and can generate its own revenue. An argument to this is; what about the small bands starting out? My answer to that is simple; we don’t need that many of them in first place. It’s perhaps time that less people even try to eke a living as musicians.
The market should only exist for the truly good acts, ones that are able to sustain profitability through the above sources. If, at the end of the day we lost 70% of the commercial musical artists tomorrow, I would say good riddance. The fringe acts can’t make much of a living anyway, and those that do probably make their money from performing, and you know what? They can still do that.
It seems to me the problem is more that the music industry is used to having a fat cash cow with music sales, but the simple fact is, the cow is dead, it’s time to change. It’s not a question of whether or not they should change, because that ship has sailed – the music business landscape has changed and will never be the same again. I can get music for free (if I cared to), so stop charging me for it.