How has illegal downloading affected the music industry?

The concept of illegally downloading music is something that has been an issue since the late 1990’s: when Napster, the first free music file sharing site, was introduced. Napster opened the world to illegal downloads. It set precedence for many more fire sharing sites that were to come, such as Mediafire, Hulkshare, etc.

Perhaps the reason why so many of us illegally download music is not because of house easy it is to do so, but maybe the price of music is too high. In his article “The Long Tail”, Chris Anderson explores the topic of current prices for purchasing music online through platforms such as iTunes, and compares it to the prices that each actual song should in fact be, based on the cost it takes to make, create, and distribute music through the internet.

On iTunes, songs can range from 99 cents to the recently upped price of $1.29. Is this price too high? I believe that the reason why so many people illegally download music is because of one of the following reasons:

  • It is easy to do – at the click of a button, any song can be downloaded
  • It is free – why pay for something when you could have it for free?

This brings us to the idea of technological change. Nearly everyone has access to a computer and therefore everyone has the ability to illegally download music. Despite various laws that are in place to combat the issue of illegal downloading and filesharing, the music industry continues to feel the impact of illegal downloading: millions of dollars are lost each year.

Illegal music downloads are a prevalent issue, but the impact of illegal downloads in general are also felt by filmmakers, publishing companies, etc. Nearly anything can be downloaded without purchase – this includes books, music, and even movies or television shows.

E-Books are an example of a technological change within the household, as many families now use E-Books as opposed to buying hardcopies of books. This, as well, has had an impact on book stores’ profit margins. A simliar affect has been felt by record stores, whose business is in high decline. This is because of how easy and convenient it is to purchase things online or electronically, as opposed to going to the store to purchase products.

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