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CD’s vs. Illegal Downloading

Photo: Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

The other day I was reading my favorite music magazine (what I want to write for someday) AP- Alternative Press, and was reading an article on the debate of buying CD’s vs. downloading, and whether or not CD release dates even matter anymore. This made me furious.

As a passionate music lover, of course I will always vote for buying CD’s, but even if music is just background noise while you work, CD’s should still be the way to go.

One credible analysis by the Institute for Policy Innovation concludes that global music piracy causes $12.5 billion of economic losses every year, 71,060 U.S. jobs lost, a loss of $2.7 billion in workers’ earnings, and a loss of $422 million in tax revenues, $291 million in personal income tax and $131 million in lost corporate income and production taxes. -riaa.com

Those statistics alone should be enough proof that every single song that is illegally downloaded is harmful to the music industry. If they aren’t, then read on:

Imagine you have your own band. You’re transitioning from the garage phase to the-playing-at-venues phase, and you soon sign with a record label. You’re touring the country and becoming more popular and the number of your fans is greatly increasing. However, back at the homefront, your sales aren’t nearly anywhere close to where they should be. Why? Illegal downloading. Your fans aren’t going to the record store and buying your CD, they’re just walking over to their computer and downloading it all for free! That’s absurd!

If you truly love and care about your favorite bands, then you would support them by buying their CD’s, DVD’s and other merchandise. Sure you might buy a shirt at the show, but every little bit helps. Bands can barely get off of the ground these days because as soon as their music is released, it’s stolen. There’s really no excuse. A CD is twenty dollars at the most, and if you can’t get to a record store then take a bus or order it online. If you want to preview the CD before buying then visit the band’s MySpace. We all know how much support that site needs, so support it by promoting your favorite bands. If you want them to succeed and be able to visit towns near you, then go out there and buy their material.

I’ve never downloaded a song, legally or illegally, and I never will. I always physically buy the CD. There is nothing better than having it in your hands and adding it to your collection. With it you get the CD, the lyrics and booklet with pictures and other notes from the band. Most importantly, you get the satisfaction of knowing that you’re helping support these bands who need all help they can get, especially when just starting out.  If you buy it and then put it on your music device, that’s fine; just buy the damn CD first, please.

One of the many stores across the U.S. forced to close its doors due to illegal downloading. Photo: Tim Boyle, Getty Images

As for CD release dates, I always look forward to them. I love getting up on a Tuesday knowing I can go to the store and pick up one of my favorite band’s new albums. I love putting them in the player for the first time and not knowing what to expect at all. Listening to an album as soon as it’s leaked takes out every ounce of anticipation and excitement. Why kill that just for an early listen? I say if you love the band and they’re worth it, you will wait. If this was twenty years ago you wouldn’t even have this option, so don’t abuse it. Be a good fan and wait to buy the CD. I always do and I’ve never regretted it and would never do it differently. I want to make music my life, so why rush it? Time goes by fast enough as it is.

All the same, it’s important to note that across the board, piracy is a very real threat to the livelihoods of not only artists and record label employees but also thousands of less celebrated people in the music industry – from sound engineers and technicians to warehouse workers and record store clerks. Piracy undermines the future of music by depriving the industry of the resources it needs to find and develop new talent and drains millions of dollars in tax revenue from local communities and their residents.

For more information on music piracy and the damage it does on the music industry, visit www.riaa.com

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