Scenario one:  You’ve been hearing a song on the radio that you really like and you want to put it on your ipod so you can listen to it non-stop. So you go to the mall and make a stop at HMV. You find the album that song is on, put it in your bag and walk out the store without paying. When you get home you put the music on your computer and voila, instant access to this album forever.

Scenario two:  You’ve been hearing a song on the radio that you really like and you want to put it on your ipod so you can listen to it non-stop. So you go to your computer and make a stop at a site that allows free downloads. You find the song and the album you are looking for and click download. Voila, instant access to this song and album forever.

Which scenario is more okay to do? Which one is acceptable? I think most if not all of us would never walk into a store to grab something and leave without paying. Yet so many of us feel that it is perfectly legitimate to go online and virtually do the exact same thing. Guiltlessly we’ll download hours of music without spending a penny.

Often it’s laughed off and treated as “no big deal.” There are young people who don’t even know that it is illegal. That to me is the first reason not to do it. It’s illegal. By LAW we’re not supposed to steal or infringe on copyright. When we download illegally we do both of these things. It is almost as if we’ve come to an attitude of “it’s not wrong if I don’t get caught.”

There’s the excuse that says the major corporations get most of the money anyway. So let’s get this straight. I don’t want major corporations to get money, so I’m just going to starve the artist too? Maybe they aren’t getting as much from their albums as they should be, but if we all boycott buying music they won’t have any money to make more of the music you so desperately want for free. Downloading their music for free doesn’t support them at all. It’s like saying to my auto technician husband “that’s great you did all the work on my car but I don’t want your boss to get any money out of it so I just won’t pay.” If the shop isn’t making any money, neither is Dwayne. If the corporation isn’t making money, neither is your artist. I’m not saying I’m a huge lover of the way the industry works but I don’t think you’re a fan of how much cars cost either. You still pay for your car repairs…I hope.

Yes it can get expensive to pay for every song and album. That is no justification to steal it. You may see a great shirt at a store but if you can’t afford it you generally put it back with a sigh and wait until you have money for it. Someone created the design and put effort into the shirt so we should pay for it. Why do we feel entitled to take music we can’t afford? Why do we see it as something different than other merchandise and why do we think musicians don’t need to be paid for their work?

Musicians work extremely hard. They practice long hours, record for hours and produce for hours until everything they let out to the world is exactly what they want it to be. It’s a labour of love but that doesn’t make it free.

I’m saying all this as someone who has downloaded music in the past. I was a young teen who didn’t understand or know that it was illegal. I can’t honestly say I stopped immediately when I learned that it was illegal. However over the years it has come to bother me more and more. There’s nothing right about it. I only download music legally now. I also love my hard copies so HMV makes money off of me regularly as well.

There’s an infinite amount of things for me to say on this topic and I know there will be more blog posts coming that will continue this discussion. For now though I’d honestly love to hear your thoughts on this subject.