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Info- tech Arts 1712QCM
Student number: 2743017
Word Count: 984 Due Date: 4th of May 2010 Queensland Conservatorium
Do new distribution platforms such as iTunes and Magnatune.com help ameliorate illegal music downloading?
This paper draws on the impact and causes of illegal music downloading, and whether legal online distributors are helping slow illegal downloading. Issues such as economics and culture-jamming are examined as common causes that influence society to support unlawful music downloading. Recent data reveals that the online retailers are steadily growing in purchase numbers, but is unfortunately outweighed by the growing number of illegal music downloads per year.
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Music Piracy is known as the illegal reproduction and distribution of sound recordings. In present society, illegal music downloading is regarded as a rising problem as it poses risks to record companies and artists alike. New online music distribution platforms have produced what they believe is a solution.
Existing literature states that “… new technologies has resulted in an increase in the amount of copying that individuals are able to do…” and that this is a serious concern for the music industry (Frith, Marshall, 2004, p. 193). Adams agrees and states that “Something has to change for the good of business and more importantly the future of music” (2009, online). But why is all this illegal downloading and copying a concern? Bangeman revealed that in 2007, a study showed results of how illegal music downloading can affect jobs in the United States, revealing that around 27,002 people lost their jobs in the recording industry in that year alone. Also, music piracy affected the state and local governments with over “$422 million in lost tax revenues” (2007, online).
When did piracy begin?
Before the invention of the audiocassette in 1977, illegal music copying was not a major problem in society. Copying records was simply impractical. By the 1980’s, early signs of illegal music copying began with people creating ‘mix tapes’. This didn’t cost the industry much money, how ever in 1982, the compact disc appeared, bringing with it a number of potential piracy risks (Millard, 2005, p. 2). People would simply copy CD’s and either pass them on to a friend, or sell them illegally. Then in 1999 the first Mp3 music tracks were distributed and Mp3 players were
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released onto the market (Bellis, 2010, online). Mp3 formatted music is usually more accessible and easier to download from the internet, and once this became available, it became easily to illegally copy music and distribute it online through peer-to peer networks, also known as P2P (Kayne, 2010, online). Once installed, this P2P software allows for internet users to connect to website servers. It then locates a file that the user requests from the server, and identifies different sources that have parts of or make up the requested file (Kayne, 2010, online).
Who or what causes piracy?
Economics A study conducted in the United States in 2004 centered on illegal music downloading found that “…most (music) downloading was done over peer-to-peer networks by teens and college kids…” (Fast Company staff , 2004, online). The problem is that students cannot afford to fund their music purchases, so they illegally download from online streaming and websites set up by other students. Harmon believes that students “…often justify their behavior by arguing that CD’s are too expensive and that artists do not get the money anyway…” (2003, online). Culture-jamming Music piracy can be viewed as a form of culture-jamming, a method used by an activist in attempt to challenge mainstream organizations or corporate advertising (Boden, Simon, 2002. p. 2). In this case, people are justifying their actions of illegally downloading, stating that the artists will not receive the sale money, and they don’t want to support the music industry.
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Have online retailers made a difference?
Who is iTunes and Magnatune.com? Apple iTunes is a free application for Mac or PC computers that allows you to download music, movies, television shows and audio books to your computer. iTunes offers over 11 million songs from as little as $0.69 to $2.19 each. An alternative for downloading music legally is the website, Magnatune.com which signs artists with pre-recorded albums and sell their music. They charge $15 membership a month, and in return grant members unlimited access to all recordings. They then split the purchases 50-50 with the artists. Magnatune holds fast to their belief that “…consumers want to support artists…” but not the recording industry and corporate music companies. Magnatune offers music directly from the artist, which they believe appeals to people because they know they are not supporting music companies (Maney, 2010, p. 1). What are the statistics with sales? In the U.S. in 2007, only 20 percent of digital music was paid for, which grew to 30 percent in 2008. Now, in 2009, 35 percent of music sales belonged to legal digital download platforms (Graham, 2009, online). Apple iTunes has been a leading online distribution program, dominating 25 percent of the 35 percent digital music sales. This has improved since 2007 when only 14 percent of music was sold by iTunes, and 2008 then sold 21 percent (Graham, 2009, online). On the other hand, in the month of April 2010, Magnatune has only so far sold a total of 10,079 songs (Buckman, 2010, online).
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In 2009 Apple iTunes reached a landmark 6 billion song downloads and this clearly shows growth in consumers supporting the legal online distribution program (Kosara, 2009, online). While we can’t know exactly how many people illegally download music, the music industry body, the IFPI published a report in 2008, claiming that over 40 billion songs had been illegally downloaded in that year alone (Adams, 2009, online). Adams also states that regardless of growing legal sales and strict government action, illegal downloads are consistently increasing (2009, online).
Through the invention of CDs and MP3s, music piracy has become more prevalent in the music world with the rise of illegal downloading and copying. Instead of supporting legal ways to buy music, students choose to not support the music industry, claiming that artists would not receive the money from sales. Statistics show that legal distribution platforms such as iTunes and Magnatune.com are providing a successful alternative for consumers and are gradually being supported by the public. Figures prove that iTunes is the preferred legal way for consumers to download music, and that it has somewhat helped ameliorate or slow illegal music downloading. However this is counteracted by a substantial amount of illegal downloads per year.
1712QCM Info‐tech Arts Reference List:
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Adams, S., (2009). 95% of music downloads in 2008 were illegal - DiS reacts and suggests two solutions. Date retrieved 17th April, 2010. http://drownedinsound.com/news/4136081-95-of-music-downloads-in-2008were-illegal-dis-reacts-and-suggests-two-solutionsn. Bangeman, E., (2007). A $13 billion fantasy: latest music piracy study overstates effect of P2P. Date retrieved 10th March 2010. http://arstechnica.com/old/content/2007/08/a13-billion-fantasy-latest-musicpiracy-study-overstates-effect-of-p2p.ars. Bellis, M. (2010). The history of mp3. Retrieved 18th March 2010 http://inventors.about.com/od/mstartinventions/a/MPThree.htm. Boden, S., Simon J., (2002). Consumption and emotion: the romantic ethic revisited. London: Sage publications. Boorstin, E. S, (April 7th). Music sales in the age of file sharing. Date retrieved 8th March 2010. http://www.cs.princeton.edu/~felten/boorstin-thesis.pdf. Buckman, J., (2010). Magnatune, Berkeley California. Date retrived 9th March 2010. http://magnatune.com/. Fast Company Staff, (2004). I download illegally- and harmlessly. Date retrieved 16th April, 2010. http://www.fastcompany.com/blog/fast-company-staff/fast-company-blog/idownload-illegally-and-harmlessly. Frith, S., Marshall, L. (2004). Music and copyright. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Graham, L., (2009). Digital music increases share of overall music sales volume in the U.S. -iTunes leads with 25 percent of all music sold. Date retrieved 17th April, 2010. http://www.npd.com/press/releases/press_090818.html. Harmon, A., (2003). Recording industry goes after students over music sharing, The New York Times. Date retrieved 5th March 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/2003/04/23/us/recording-industry-goes-after-studentsover-music-sharing.html?pagewanted=1?pagewanted=1. Kayne, R. (2010). What is p2p? Retrieved 28th of April, 2010. http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-p2p.htm.
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Kosara, R., (2009). iTunes (music) store billion downloads visualization. Date retrieved 17th April, 2010. http://eagereyes.org/vis/iTMS.html. Maney, K., (no date supplied). Apple iTunes might not be only answer to ending piracy, USA. Date retrieved 9th March 2010. today,http://magnatune.com/info/press/coverage/usa_today. Millard, A. J., (2005). America on record: A history of recorded sound. New York: Cambridge University Press. Zentner, A., (2003). Measuring the effect of music downloads on music purchases, University of Chicago. Date retrieved 9th of March 2010. http://www.econ.upf.edu/docs/seminars/recruiting/zentner.pdf.