2004-02-22 19:39:25 ET
Well, recording companies and many artists feel that they're losing money by people downloading music they haven't paid for. And they're right. Every time you download a few songs off of a new album, the artist loses money they would have made off the sale of that album.
Now the argument is that when you spend $15-$20 on an album, the artist (like U2, or NIN or Barenaked Ladies or whoever) only gets approx $1 as their cut. Doesn't seem fair, does it? But then consider the fact that if your album has mediocre sales (like 100,000 units worldwide) in a year, well then the artist just made $100,000.
Still seems unfair?
Well, consider everybody else who brought that music to you. Sound engineers, producers (good ones like Steve Lillywhite, Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois and Flood), graphic designers and photographers who brought visual elements to the album art. All those people have to get paid too. And they get maybe $0.25 from each album.
So to combat the rampant downloading of MP3s, some companies, like EMI (who own Virgin and Parlophone) employ the use of Copy Control technology, making it nearly impossible to copy the AIFF files (each song is an AIFF file) to a hard drive. Generally they'll make the CD work like a CD-ROM. The regular CD part is still playable in any CD player, but when you put the disc into a computer it runs a seperate program that has an encrypted version of the songs that are only playable throught the discs own media.
As a result, people (like me) who buy all their CDs and then upload them to their computers, get fucked over. I don't own a discman. I have my iPod and that's it. So groups like Blur, Massive Attack and A Perfect Circle alienate me when they have their discs Copy Controlled. I won't buy them cause I won't be able to listen to them.
This is the war of MP3 technology that bothers me. Why should people who lawfully buy their CDs not be allowed to listen to them by whatever format they choose? I chose MP3s because I can carry about 2000 songs in my iPod which fits in my pocket. I never download music unless the artist themselves is offering it from their own website. So why am I being penalized?