(rants and observations on outsider culture, music & cinema in The Big Wet)
Freeloaded music files when I got my first computer. (My mother would hate this next bit.) Everybody was doing it! Only really essential thing I got to hear that I would have not wanted to die before listening to it and which I do not own a copy of now was Dee Dee Ramone's "Bad Little Go-Go Girl."Lowery does not mention the happiness factor you get when you buy an artist's product, especially if you have chosen well. Never got that from the free shit.
I agree that there is now a sense of doing something morally commendable when I buy a CD or LP that was lacking before music was so easy to steal. I'm consciously aware now that I'm supporting artists when I shell out money - file sharing suddenly makes shopping seem cause for self-congratulation, like it's a way of "supporting the arts." As if I needed a new rationalization to spend money! But you know, much as I hate the fact that physical media of all forms seems to be endangered these days, and have been publicly mourning the decline of all sorts of book/ music/ video stores on this blog, file sharing isn't all bad; it's just a tool, and the morality lies in HOW IT IS USED. I've found all sorts of free stuff online that can't be had any other way (live cuts and rarities, not available for purchase in any form). 99% of the music I've downloaded I've eventually gotten around to buying legit copies of, to legitimize my ownership - assuming I actually liked it enough to want to buy it; occasionally, I've downloaded an album, thought, "naaah," and deleted it, which I can't bring myself to feel that guilty about. Mostly I use file sharing now when I'm about to interview an artist and want to catch up on their back catalogue without putting myself out - as a sort of research tool; if I end up liking what I hear, I always follow up by going out and buying the albums, so in that case, the fact that I "stole" the music first actually ends up working in the artists' favour (there are about ten Motorhead albums that I never would have bought if I hadn't downloaded them first and discovered that I loved'em). I also sometimes use it when I'm about to see someone live, already own the LP, but want to have a portable version of it to listen to on the bus for a week or two before the concert (some albums just don't come with download cards); I don't really think you should have to pay for an album twice, to have it in both vinyl and CD format, though in some cases, I have done that, with records I really like. There are definitely problems on the whole with the way that file sharing has impacted the industry, but there are still legitimate uses for the technology... It's a question not of the tools but the people using them...
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