How many songs are in your iTunes library? Now, how many of them were acquired legally? If you are one of the walking saints that buys every track, I commend you.

My senior year of high school, I was burdened with guilt of all the artists I had so cruelly cheated, yet devoted my loyalty to. So, for weeks, my ‘Recently Added’ playlist was bone dry.

Ever since my first iPod, I was a wiz kid on the internet’s “black market” (I had even forgotten about LimeWire until today when I was reading up on this topic!). While my friends were burning through iTunes gift cards, I was piling up tracks as free as a breeze–it was just too easy! I happily continued with these tactics for years, even dabbling in some movie torrents as well as countless albums and discographies.

Of course I knew it was bad, but my methodology was that these artists had more money than I did, so they could compensate the dollar that I was stealing from them. It wasn’t until I veered off mainstream and onto the simple dirt road that is indie music that I began to feel the evil of my ways.

These artists weren’t endorsed by ads or making thousands of dollars every time the commercial featuring their song was aired. These artists rely on fans of their music to support their music so they keep making more of it. So here I was, enjoying their music, but cheaply. I still downloaded, ripped and torrented this music. But with every album successfully dropped into my iTunes, I felt more and more guilt building up. So, for a few months, I just stopped. I went from 76 downloaded songs in March, to 8 songs in April.

Unsurprisingly, that streak didn’t last long. A few downloadable mix tapes, I bought one album, even one track that I murdered out on repeat, but that simply wasn’t sustainable. I still feel guilt, and I try to support as much live music as possible, but I hang my head low in admitting that I have relapsed back to the market.

Now, your turn.

Do you face a convoluted love affair with music and the tramp, BeeMP3, or thePirateBay? How do you cope? Feel any guilt?

If you’re like me and shutter at the sight of physical CD’s (like my roommate has) because they are a slap in the face at what a terrible “fan” you call yourself, what do we do?!

Please, explain your relationship with media and morals.

And lastly, there is hope for me. I am about to start a trial of Spotify, and if I find that it is easy enough to act as my portable library, to it I will devote a monthly subscription. Tell me how you like it!


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12 Responses to Pirates!

  1. JTEPP says:

    Simply put, I’m not going to change. Currently I use various mp3 websites to download music. It’s extremely easy and best of all, free. It also seems like a safer option as compared to something like Limewire. It’s an ideal option, really. I don’t really feel any guilt when I do it, either. I’ve always just done it, and not really cared. Sure, I take the Artists into consideration. This is their profession and the way they make money. They put tons of hard work into it and deserved to make money. But when it comes done to it, I just don’t care. I suppose I figure others will pay for the music, but evidently this decision is purely based on me. I want the music and I don’t want to pay, so I pirate it. It’s self centered and a bit unethical to pirate, but I really don’t care.

    No doubt, I’m always going to pirate music. I really could imagine me having some kind of change of heart, and being considerate for the artists. However, I will every once in a while buy a CD. Last year I bought my first CD in a very long time. It was The Roots newest album, and I wanted to get a physical copy. I had listened to it before I bought the CD, so I suppose I just enjoyed it so much that I wanted to get a physical copy. However, I think I mostly wanted it so I could easily listen to the album in the car while driving. Of course, technology has advanced so much that it’s a lot easier to listen to your Ipod while driving, so I’ll probably refrain from buying another CD anytime soon. Basically, there’s no hope for me.

  2. Leeroy says:

    I personally have no morals when it comes to pirating. I know that rationalizing it doesn’t make it any less illegal, but the idea that you’re not stealing money from the artist – in a sense you’re just creating a loss of intellectual money, money they could have possibly gotten.I honestly would never buy music if I couldn’t obtain it for free, and I know a lot of other people who would agree with this statement.

    I know that there is some trouble involved with torrenting movies and music and expensive programs, which means that you have to know how to do it safely. The ease with which anybody can obtain thousands of dollars of programs is just too great. One extra note is that the more security that surrounds a program doesn’t prevent it from being obtained illegally, it adds extra measures that must be taken before it can be used.

    I understand how an artist would be mad about the “loss” of his/her money, but they run that risk every time they produce an album and release it online.

  3. Jordhen says:

    I don’t think many of us have any morals when it comes to pirating music. I bet you could survey teenagers on how they get their music and almost every single one of them would say they download it illegally (If they were being honest of course). Nowadays we have to pay for everything. Napster requires a monthly subscription, iTunes charges per download, everything has a price.

    Why should we have to spend $1.29 for one song? That is ridiculous. If you think about it aren’t we being the ones ripped off? A couple years ago iTunes only charged 99 cents for a song download, today its $1.29. I am unaware of anyone that wants to pay that much for a song when they can get it somewhere else for free.

    Artists make money off of many many things. They have concerts, t shirts, their CD’s, sponsors, and a ton of other things that make them money. The few honest people that do actually buy their music fit in there too. There are even some artists that do give their music away for free. There are a lot of rappers that will put their mix tapes online so people can download them for free. If these artists are giving their music away for free and still doing fine what’s the problem with the rest of them?

  4. NeoKroenig says:

    I have a strict sense of morals as far as pirating goes. I don’t pirate music (but I’ll take albums friends have, with the same end result). I’ll pirate games, but if I like them, I’ll pay for them.

    In essence: if I feel that it’s something worth supporting, that it’s something I’d like to see more of, I’ll pay for it. Especially indie games, music, and the like.

    In high-school, a group of friends and I made movies, using (according to the friend that edited everything) over 50,000 dollars’ worth of pirated software. Adobe everything — Premiere, Aftereffects, Mocha, and god knows what else. The reason he justified that? That professional-quality films — ones in film festivals up — had to say that they used it, and in doing so pay for it. Apparently, Adobe’s plan included having about ten copies of the software paid for each year, and making as much as if every pirated copy had been acquired legally.

    That doesn’t make his actions right, of course, but how would he have paid for (I checked) Premiere, whose cost is in the four or five-digit range? The simple answer would be “He wouldn’t,” but it wasn’t that straightforward.

    In essence, I’d never like to pay for something I could have for free, but if paying for it means there might be more later, I’ll shell out the dollar or two. And if I can’t, I’ll keep myself from getting it, because I’ll forget to pay later.

  5. esf17 says:

    Pirating on the internet is an obvious problem in today’s world, and does it make us any better than the individuals who are in prison for theft charges? You make a valid point by bringing up the fact that famous artists and producers need monetary support from their fans in order to drive them to make more of their product. But as a teenager in the 21st century, I am just as guilty as the rest of my peers because we do like free things and tend to find any way possible to acquire them. Also, the fact that we are in college right now even places more demand on illegal downloading because we are dishing out tons of money to get a quality eduction. Meanwhile, famous artists are making millions of dollars off of endorsements, merchandise, and more.

    I do not have an addiction when it comes to pirating things (I only have done this a few times), but I am familiar enough with it to understand the concepts around it. While using Pitt’s wireless network on campus, it is not generally a good idea to download things through piracy websites as network officials can detect illegal action. But you still can use some illegal websites through Pitt’s server, such as shady European websites to watch out-of-market NFL games. My use of these websites has not brought me any guilty because it has provided me with free entertainment, which I surely enjoy, and I will more than likely use some of these websites in the near future.

  6. usa2014 says:

    I have never really thought to pirate music from anywhere myself, although I have had songs on my iPod which my friends have pirated from somewhere. I didn’t really like the sound quality of the pirated music compared to the music iTunes had so I never tried pirating music myself.

    Ever since I got my first iPod I have always downloaded and payed for music through iTunes. I currently have a joint account on iTunes with my dad and brother which I frequently sync with my iPod. We have basically the same music interests so I don’t really have much need to download music myself anymore. Before the joint account, I still didn’t download music much because I already had most of the music I listened to on CD’s.

    While I have never pirated music myself, I can see why people would. It saves money and is very convenient. To me though, I like having a joint account with family members where I can share my music and expand my musical background. It doesn’t really bother me to spend $1-$1.29 on a song or two every once in a while if I really want the song and have sufficient funding on my iTunes account.

  7. Ferron says:

    I’ve read a few articles on the topic and it seems a lot of pirating comes down to availability. For example, I’ve watched this BBC show called “Would I Lie to You” on YouTube for a while. I originally watched official clips and wanted to buy a DVD (or a digital copy) of the show. I searched on Amazon but I couldn’t come up with anything. Turns out they’ve only put the fourth season online for purchase only in the UK. Needless to say, I started watching the full episodes on YouTube, even though I’d much rather pay for them.

    Matthew Inman, author of the popular comic site, The Oatmeal, published a comic about his troubles buying Game of Thrones. He wanted to buy the season (which was already shown on HBO) but couldn’t because no site had it available for purchase. He ended up pirating it because the networks wanted the show to be exclusive to HBO and not open to purchase online.

    While I don’t advocate pirating, it seems like the RIAA and MPAA are trying to hold on to old ways of making money and aren’t looking at new techniques to move people away from piracy. While I can’t know if that’s true, that’s what it looks like to me on the outside.

    OKGo has reached YouTube fame with their music because of the fascinating ways in which they present it. I’m sure people have pirated their music but a lot of listeners, like me, feel a need to watch their videos because they’re entertaining. Maybe this could become a new way of making money (having awesome videos and making money off of YouTube ads) but I don’t think it’ll be the only way.

    Basically, I don’t think piracy will stop but I do think there are new ways of making money online, and artists might initially have to get creative.

  8. Miss Jackson says:

    When it comes to illegally downloading music I think we have to keep in mind that although it is convenient, it is first and foremost stealing. Yes, most musical artists have millions of dollars but whether you are stealing from the rich or the poor, stealing is still stealing. It is wrong, illegal and just plain immoral. I’ve never really been one to download illegal music. When I got my iPod, I received a ridiculous amount of iTunes gift cards with it so there was no need for illegal downloading. Now I do not really use my iPod that frequently. I have my smartphone where I can listen to internet radio stations, like Pandora, or just use the internet on my phone to quickly look up the song that I want to listen to so my need for an iPod has virtually become non-existent.

    As far as cds go, I still like to buy them. I feel like owning a Cd is more personal and I like having something that I can physically hold in my hand. Cds have pictures in their cases and they sometimes even come with posters. Also, in cd cases, artists tend to include a brief note to their fans in which they thank their fans for their support, give their reasoning behind writing or including the songs in their cd, and reveal something personal about themselves to their fans. To me, all of these things make owning a cd more personal than just simply downloading a song and it helps me to feel more connected to the artist that I am listening to. That being said, if you do decide to describe to Spotify, I would still encourage you to buy a cd every once in awhile.

  9. Lee says:

    I’ve been meaning to steal music for awhile now… I used to do it all the time in high school. Now have several saved playlists on youtube and grooveshark of music I like and want to have.
    I see pirating music no more illegal than back in the old days when people used to pop cassettes in their radio to record songs off onto them. Its the same thing, and it legal! It only starts to become illegal when you arent using it for your private use, you call it your own, or you try to sell it.

    Some of the indie bands I enjoy actually give away their music. Instead of selling it, they just ask for donations. I think this is a great way of going about it. If you truly enjoy their music, and want to encourage them to continue producing, you would donate a bit of money.

    In the end, I dont feel bad for “stealing” music. Nor should you.

  10. tchumphrey says:

    Personally, I have nothing against illegally downloading music. I understand it’s against the law and artists don’t get the money for the tracks/albums purchased, but that is a problem that can’t really be changed. I use an mp3 converter, rather than a specific illegal torrent site. In my opinion, I think youtube is extremely similar to the idea of illegally downloading music. I know this sounds absurd at first, but in reality, it isn’t.
    Think about it this way, like I do: Youtube provides a free way to listen to songs that you want, or even watch T.V. shows or movies. If you can listen to the same song thousands of times on this website for free, why shouldn’t I be able to just put it into my iTunes library for free? I know artists get paid for how many Youtube hits they get on videos, but the money isn’t coming from my own pocket, like it is if I buy the songs on iTunes.
    Also, artists and producers are getting paid enough. I think $1.29 for a 3 minute song is outrageous-that’s 43 cents per minute. Sure, you can listen to it an endless amount of times, but why not listen to it an endless amount for free? I don’t download music that often but when I do, I probably buy 1/3 of my songs. Even just buying that little amount of my songs, my mom always tells me I’m spending too much! There are still many individuals buying their music (shown in the above comments), so artists are still profitable.

  11. chocolate_drop says:

    As most of us stated, we are savages when it comes to pirating music. Only once have i thought maybe I was rippin an artist off. Then I realized they are living very comfortably already and that if I had paid for all the songs I own I’d be very very poor. I have probably 800 songs in my library, excluding all the deleted ones. I would have spent over $1000 on songs to listen to. That’s way too much.

    Its actually become second nature to me to download songs; as if it were normal. I received 3 $5 mp3 gift card from amazon for purchasing something. I have not used them since, but have downloaded mabye 10 songs.

    The main reason, though, is convenience. If I wanted a new album in my library, I’d have to go to the nearest store that sells the CD and pitch about $12. That’s time and money, and occasionally gas. The other option I have is to reach 3 feet for my laptop and search the song and press the download button. In this generation we’re not used to waiting for things to happen because we can make it happen in a snap due to technology.

    To me, buying a CD is like hiring 2 scrawny neighbors to help build your porch and downloading is like hiring 2 construction workers. Terrible comparison, I know.

  12. ceb102 says:

    The vast majority of us admit to having no morals or awakening conscience when it comes to pirating music. I myself used to use Limewire and Youtube conversion websites before they were shut down. Each download brought about that little voice in the back of my head telling me it was wrong. I constantly tried to put myself in other peoples shoes asking the question of how I would feel as a small-town artist trying to make it in the big leagues, only to have my hopes diminished by cheap consumers.

    I tend to gravitate more towards alternative/indie music, involving unheard of bands thriving on the support of their fans. It is because of this situation I tend to feel guilty over the pirating of their music. As a fan, I feel as though I have let these off-the-grid artists down and slightly diminished their success.

    It is because of this continuing guilt I buy more songs from Itunes now, even though it pains me to spend $1.29 every time. I try to support up-and-coming bands by purchasing their entire album rather than getting copies from friends.

    Mainstream artists, however, are a different story. As harsh as it sounds, I tend to feel less guilty pirating the latest Mumford and Sons album simply because they’ve already made it big in the industry. They’re entire album made it into the top 10 of Itunes for weeks on end and hit songs are repeatedly used all throughout the media. With publicity and notoriety such as this, I don’t think it makes much of a difference for me to be cheap and refuse to spend $12.99 for one album.

    I do think it’s important to support the careers of artists by purchasing rather than pirating. However, I think a different set of rules comes into play based on their status. For an artist like Katy Perry, who makes millions from her hits, pirating has little effect. But for more obscure artists, such as Basic Physics, the financial support of fans can make a world of difference.

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