Wednesday, June 24, 2009


The thing about being broke and an addict is that you have to be creative with the ways you get your vice. For my particular substance of choice, music, that means walking a very thin and controversial line between rabid fan-dom and outright crime.

If you think in dial-up, I'm referring to file sharing.

Now to me, file sharing falls into a legal gray area I like to refer to as "semi-legal" activities. (Weed's the only other real member of this group in my opinion.) This means that while under the letter of the law these actions are illegal, the reasons behind their legal status have as much to do with business as they do with public safety.
Family Guy aired an episode recently dealing with the issue of marijuana legalization. Sure, it dealt with the subject like Family Guy, but still...
Basically what Seth McFarlane was saying was that while weed ain't exactly the best substance to be on when, say, reporting the news, the reasons for it being illegal might have as much to do with the business as much as the social issues of the drug.

The same thing can be said for file sharing. In the late 90's, recording artists attacked Napster for allowing people to share songs freely without any consideration towards the artists. They claimed that this would cause the downfall of CD sales and bankrupt the music industry. Well of course, we now know that the industry didn't die; the times just changed. Some had a hard time reconciling with the way things were and how things are. So the industry is still attacking the can when the worms are already loose.

Just as recently as last week the RIAA was still in court trying to crack down on file sharing. Meanwhile SoundScan first week numbers for albums are in the six figures, and Weezy was the last dude to do a mil in the first week. ITunes is the new king of music distribution, and artist can get rich off one song rather than a whole record. So was the advent of file sharing really that bad?

Money aside, file sharing opened up the doors for Zune and iPod to be invented. Soulja Boy owes the dude who came up with Napster some residuals. Still, one could see how a dude with a record contract would be pissed off at the fact that they could be making money off of 1,000 downloads that no ones paying for.

Free Music.