“We are born savage and self-centered, and then, unless we move to Hollywood, we get over it. We become civilized. We enter a state in which we understand that sharing is good.” – John Perry Barlow
In the past few years record sales have plummeted to an all time low, the record industry has since been frantically searching for the crack in the dyke; a reason for all this. The most obvious target that has been chosen by these corporations is the act of internet file sharing, more specifically the programs that run these services like the previously shut down “Napster” and the currently battling “Kazaa.” There is no doubt that file sharing is a factor in declining record sales but does it really deserve all the blame? Maybe today’s mainstream music lacks a certain quality that would normally motivate a consumer to purchase the CD. There are many factors that could cause declining sales, one of them being file sharing but does the record industry really have the power to classify our right to share as illegal?
The number of users for file swapping programs is in the millions. In its height Napster held 36 million people in the palm of its hand, and since the program has shut down more and more like it have been sprouting too fast for the recording industry to shut them down (Gaither,2). The companies that are filing suit apparently expect us to be sympathetic towards them because they aren’t rolling in the dough like they used to. A CD costs me about $20 after taxes, as a college student and normal person that money is better spent doing time in my bank account, it is almost the same lifestyle as subsistence farming. If I can receive the same music for free over the internet than why bother giving more money to excessive rock stars or silicone divas. The richest of the rich seem to be the only ones complaining as well, small time acts such as “Battery Park” practically rely on the free trade of music over the internet, mainly because they cannot afford airplay on major radio or television stations. It is the only way for bands like these to be heard. Lead singer J. Brown of “Battery Park” however admits that “Downloads don’t necessarily equate to sales, we hope they like what they hear and want to hear more so they’ll purchase the CD.