Illegal Downloading: A Plea
Harry Rawson | 27 February 2017

Illegal downloading. We all do it. I am fairly convinced that most of you reading this will at some point have downloaded a song from a website such as Limewire or MegaUpload. It isn't uncommon, and I can't say I blame you for doing it. But recently, times have changed. Public opinion has swayed against the free downloading of music and, I believe, rightly so. However, the young people of our generation don't seem to have caught on and we are the ones who need to be informed of the evils of illegal downloading, and why it is exactly the same as stealing.

Illegally downloading music is no different from me walking into my nearest HMV, picking up the latest Foo Fighters album, putting it in my back pocket, and leaving. It is stealing: plain and simple. But the problem is that people don't see it as stealing. The general mind-set is one that thinks obtaining anartist's music without paying for it is an acceptable thing. We seem to believe that, because it's so easy, and because everyone else does it, that makes it all right. Does it? No.

Artists, whether solo or in a band, thrive on CD sales to allow them to continue to make music. The music industry is a shaky and temperamental business; bands can be dropped from record labels simply because the labels can't afford to keep a band that isn't making money. It's fair enough, isn't it? What withthe current economic situation, everyone must do what they can to keep stable. Illegal downloading directly undermines the bands and artists, even if it is ultimately just trying to provide you with a source of enjoyment and good musicto listen to.

The sad thing is that musicians exhaust their creativity, pumping hours oftheir time and investing copious amounts of money into their art. They are some of the hardest-working people and I think it's only fair that they are rewarded justly. All they ask for is £7.99 for their latest album, so that they can live well and further forge their career. When someone illegally obtains their music from an alternate source, the artists receive nothing. Illegal downloading destroys musicians' careers, and action must be taken. 

I am a musician, currently in two bands, seeking a career in music and this instability is worrying. I fear that I won't be accredited for my work, and the prospects of me building a life in music seem slim, slim enough already without people stealing my music (assuming anyone wants it, that is).

What I ask is simple. We, as a generation, are willing to pay vast amounts for iPods, iPhones and all these shiny Apple products and I hold up my hands upto admit that I own one too. So, when we pay hundreds of pounds for the devices, why do we complain about having to pay for the music we want to put on it?

James Routledge 2016