2021-09-18 03:37:34
piracy predictions for 2007 music/news/politics/theory

2006: Year in Music: It Was Free Cuz I Stole It (Seattle Weekly)

Now is a bad time to be a giant music corporation, but ethically challenged music fans couldn’t ask for better days. Bootlegging has always been about catering directly to the fans, and the Internet breeds the best bootleggers yet: bigger and stronger and faster than ever before, the better to handle the demands of 10 million file sharers trading a billion and a half songs daily.

It’s clear now that the CD-R bent the CD over and the MP3 player finished it off, and although the industry is still in shock, smaller and more agile labels are already accepting the inevitable and locking in a vinyl/digital-only production schedule, then using merch like T-shirts—low production cost, high sale price, lots of options to ratchet up collectibility—to plug their revenue gaps.

Since file sharing is permanent enough now that you can buy $19-per-year lawsuit insurance, it’s time to acknowledge the bright side. Out-of-print doesn’t mean anything anymore. If you can learn about it, you can listen to it, and if the record company doesn’t want to reissue it, you can probably find it without even having to stand up. The romance is gone but the music is cheap, accessible, and instant—that’s the music industry of the future, brought to you now by Russian MP3 pirates, obsessive genre bloggers, and criminals selling albums off a blanket on the street. Highlights of a year of unfair shares:

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