is it unethical to download music?

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Avatar image for k--m--k
#1 Posted by k--m--k (2541 posts) -

I have thousands of unpaid music in my iphone

should I feel bad about that?

Avatar image for thegerg
#2 Posted by thegerg (18284 posts) -

It depends.

Avatar image for ad1x2
#3 Posted by ad1x2 (6650 posts) -

I prefer not to pirate but not everybody will feel the same way. As a result, some people will feel bad and others may justify it by saying the music companies are greedy, they wouldn't have bought it anyway, etc.

I would feel bad because it is so easy to legally get free music from sources like Pandora that it seems like a waste of time to steal it.

Avatar image for Detroit222
#4 Posted by Detroit222 (5371 posts) -

Yes.

Avatar image for korvus
#5 Posted by korvus (10716 posts) -

I know this isn't what you asked but I find it funny that some people I know will get completely outraged by the mere mention of torrents but will download entire albums from Youtube XD

Avatar image for dave123321
#6 Edited by dave123321 (35333 posts) -

Yeah sure I guess sure yeah

Avatar image for lostrib
#8 Posted by lostrib (49999 posts) -

With spotify and such these days, I don't really feel a need to pirate music

Avatar image for GamingGod999
#9 Posted by GamingGod999 (3135 posts) -

Yeah, you're essentially stealing.

Avatar image for elkoldo
#10 Edited by elkoldo (1775 posts) -

Feel bad about them ? Get a grip on yourself.Those publishers are already making billions of dollars per day, and still you feel guilty about getting an album for free ? You ever played Read Dead Redemption ? This line from John Marston is how I figure it :

"I always steal from those who I believe have more than they deserve."

Avatar image for Sword-Demon
#11 Posted by Sword-Demon (7007 posts) -

unless those songs aren't readily available to be purchased, then of course it's unethical.

Avatar image for LJS9502_basic
#12 Posted by LJS9502_basic (162212 posts) -

Yes. Shouldn't even be a question.

Avatar image for k--m--k
#13 Posted by k--m--k (2541 posts) -

@elkoldo said:

Feel bad about them ? Get a grip on yourself.Those publishers are already making billions of dollars per day, and still you feel guilty about getting an album for free ? .Tell you what , I haven't paid a rusted penny for any music so far.In my whole life.You ever played Read Dead Redemption ? This line from John Marston is how I figure it :

"I always steal from those who I believe have more than they deserve."

I dont feel guilty

I asked if I SHOULD feel bad, which clearly the majority says yes

Avatar image for arb0rv1r
#14 Edited by Arb0rv1r (25 posts) -

@elkoldo said:

Feel bad about them ? Get a grip on yourself.Those publishers are already making billions of dollars per day, and still you feel guilty about getting an album for free ? .Tell you what , I haven't paid a rusted penny for any music so far.In my whole life.You ever played Read Dead Redemption ? This line from John Marston is how I figure it :

"I always steal from those who I believe have more than they deserve."

Couldn't be further from the truth. Never ceases to amaze me how people who have absolutely no idea how the music industry works feel that they have a valid argument with this statement. Do you realize that pirating has essentially killed the album model? This has caused the downfall of record stores and independent labels all over the country, essentially forcing everyone to merge into what is now 3 major labels, Universal, Warner and Sony. If your problem is with companies making billions of dollars then you have made it worse.

For your information album sales generate income for labels and the artist, not a publisher. Educate yourself. A publisher's job is to exploit the copyright of the artist this has nothing to do with album sales. The person that gets hurt by people pirating music (which is STEALING) is not the "billion dollar publisher" it is you, me, and the artist. We now have less independent labels to sign up and coming acts to and less record stores to peruse because of this. This has made it more difficult for any artist to get picked up now. Also since albums do not bring the necessary revenue now labels take everything from the artist. The label will always get their money. You are only hurting others and the artists who make the music you love.

To the OP: If you cherish the artists you listen to and wish to see more from them then support them and their art. Keep them from having to rely on horrible advertising and endorsements and instead help them make a living from what is important, the music. Can you steal a car because the car company has too much money? How about a book, or a painting?

*Posted by an EDUCATED music industry professional.

Avatar image for ad1x2
#15 Posted by ad1x2 (6650 posts) -

@arb0rv1r: Great post. It will probably fall on deaf ears, though.

Avatar image for arb0rv1r
#16 Posted by Arb0rv1r (25 posts) -

@ad1x2:

Sadly you you are correct as it more than likely will. However if I can at least enlighten one person then we are one person closer to a better system for us all. Thank you for your kind words.

Avatar image for jasean79
#17 Posted by jasean79 (2593 posts) -

@arb0rv1r said:

@elkoldo said:

Feel bad about them ? Get a grip on yourself.Those publishers are already making billions of dollars per day, and still you feel guilty about getting an album for free ? .Tell you what , I haven't paid a rusted penny for any music so far.In my whole life.You ever played Read Dead Redemption ? This line from John Marston is how I figure it :

"I always steal from those who I believe have more than they deserve."

Couldn't be further from the truth. Never ceases to amaze me how people who have absolutely no idea how the music industry works feel that they have a valid argument with this statement. Do you realize that pirating has essentially killed the album model? This has caused the downfall of record stores and independent labels all over the country, essentially forcing everyone to merge into what is now 3 major labels, Universal, Warner and Sony. If your problem is with companies making billions of dollars then you have made it worse.

For your information album sales generate income for labels and the artist, not a publisher. Educate yourself. A publisher's job is to exploit the copyright of the artist this has nothing to do with album sales. The person that gets hurt by people pirating music (which is STEALING) is not the "billion dollar publisher" it is you, me, and the artist. We now have less independent labels to sign up and coming acts to and less record stores to peruse because of this. This has made it more difficult for any artist to get picked up now. Also since albums do not bring the necessary revenue now labels take everything from the artist. The label will always get their money. You are only hurting others and the artists who make the music you love.

To the OP: If you cherish the artists you listen to and wish to see more from them then support them and their art. Keep them from having to rely on horrible advertising and endorsements and instead help them make a living from what is important, the music. Can you steal a car because the car company has too much money? How about a book, or a painting?

*Posted by an EDUCATED music industry professional.

Good post, however I don't know how much of this is entirely accurate. How is it that Rappers, for example, are worth millions if the music industry is being hurt by listeners pirating music? If the label is profiting the most from album sales, and the artists are still making good money, then obviously the cash flow is coming from somewhere. I doubt that these artists make all their income from endorsements.

I agree with you at least on the independent label side. As someone who's in a music group and has tried to promote my art and my CD's, there's not a lot room for profit. I blame that on the area and the genre of music (Classical) that we play. But, making a living performing is harder than it sounds, so I can empathize with all of the struggling artists today.

I think that as long as sites like YouTube are broadcasting videos free of charge (which can easily be converted into MP3's via many YouTube converters out there and added to anyone's music collection), then the music industry will take a hit for independent and up and coming artists. I don't know that they'll ever be able to monitor and shut down sharing of free music on the web. We see what happened with Napster...it only lasted for a little while, then people found another way to share it.

Avatar image for arb0rv1r
#18 Posted by Arb0rv1r (25 posts) -

@jasean79:

Rappers, or any popular artist for that matter generate income from several different sources. Endorsements, sponsorships, performances (main source of income now) and licensing deals including mechanical, synchronization, broadcasting, arrangement, and sub-out licenses. Very little income is generated from singles or album sales anymore. In fact the least amount of income is received from this area. This is due to both pirating and the move to digital distribution for the entire industry.

I can understand the problem you are facing. Making a living with strictly performance is possible but incredibly difficult in modern times. I wish you luck and suggest trying to diversify your income as much as possible to supplement yourself and your group.

I also agree that sites like YouTube are a horrible problem right now and it's only getting worse. Essentially it is a giant game of wack-o-mole and impossible to keep track of all of the illegal distribution that is occurring. I can attest to this myself as I send hundreds of cease and desist letters to YouTube users weekly. The only way we will be able to stop what is currently occurring is to educate new generations on what stealing is.

Also keep in mind that these rappers and top 40 artists are a very very small minority of musicians in this world. While these individuals have found a way to excel and generate a large source of income, this is not the case for the majority of performing musicians out there. It is these talented individuals that we need to change the way we look at the system for. Encourage new artists by purchasing what they have spent their life developing for you. We want more music in our lives, in every genre, not just more "viral" or top 40 artists.

Avatar image for deactivated-59d151f079814
#19 Posted by deactivated-59d151f079814 (47239 posts) -

... I think we need to first understand what ethical is.. Because not everything that is legal is ethical..

Avatar image for jasean79
#20 Posted by jasean79 (2593 posts) -

@arb0rv1r said:

@jasean79:

Encourage new artists by purchasing what they have spent their life developing for you. We want more music in our lives, in every genre, not just more "viral" or top 40 artists.

Couldn't agree more. Personally, I cannot stand much of today's popular music. It's soulless and void of any real meaning in the lyrics. Much of what I listen to isn't mainstream and I support the artists and their trade as much as I can (afford). I just think of all the amazing artists and music out there that a lot of people haven't heard of. What sad times we live in that general population relies heavily on FM radio to get their music fix. Oh well. What to do.

Avatar image for Shmiity
#21 Posted by Shmiity (6090 posts) -

Yes, it's illegal. But everyone does it. The music industry is just in that part of the cycle where the technology has outpaced the law. It's too easy to get any music you want, whenever. Also, this has made music's value worthless. A recording is worth nothing. Also, its a singles driven market again, so albums are fucked too.

Avatar image for Shmiity
#22 Posted by Shmiity (6090 posts) -

@arb0rv1r: I studied music industry as well, and I'm in the biz. Everyone should read your post thoroughly. THIS GUY HAS THE INFO

Avatar image for elkoldo
#23 Posted by elkoldo (1775 posts) -
@arb0rv1r said:

@elkoldo said:

Feel bad about them ? Get a grip on yourself.Those publishers are already making billions of dollars per day, and still you feel guilty about getting an album for free ? You ever played Read Dead Redemption ? This line from John Marston is how I figure it :

"I always steal from those who I believe have more than they deserve."

Couldn't be further from the truth. Never ceases to amaze me how people who have absolutely no idea how the music industry works feel that they have a valid argument with this statement. Do you realize that pirating has essentially killed the album model? This has caused the downfall of record stores and independent labels all over the country, essentially forcing everyone to merge into what is now 3 major labels, Universal, Warner and Sony. If your problem is with companies making billions of dollars then you have made it worse.

For your information album sales generate income for labels and the artist, not a publisher. Educate yourself. A publisher's job is to exploit the copyright of the artist this has nothing to do with album sales. The person that gets hurt by people pirating music (which is STEALING) is not the "billion dollar publisher" it is you, me, and the artist. We now have less independent labels to sign up and coming acts to and less record stores to peruse because of this. This has made it more difficult for any artist to get picked up now. Also since albums do not bring the necessary revenue now labels take everything from the artist. The label will always get their money. You are only hurting others and the artists who make the music you love.

To the OP: If you cherish the artists you listen to and wish to see more from them then support them and their art. Keep them from having to rely on horrible advertising and endorsements and instead help them make a living from what is important, the music. Can you steal a car because the car company has too much money? How about a book, or a painting?

*Posted by an EDUCATED music industry professional.

Hehe,yeah, that's why you feel hurt when people pirate,though I really can't tell how people are hurting themselves by doing so.psshh.Never mind.

Avatar image for arb0rv1r
#24 Posted by Arb0rv1r (25 posts) -

@elkoldo:

The answer to your question is posted in my original response. As stated previously the goal is to make the music industry a better place for both artists and consumers. By stealing music and then promoting to others that this action is not only ok but encouraged is wrong and hurts both artists and consumers alike. I apologize if you cannot understand why this is wrong. Stealing is stealing, regardless of how you spin it.

Avatar image for THE_DRUGGIE
#25 Edited by THE_DRUGGIE (25057 posts) -

@k--m--k said:

I have thousands of unpaid music in my iphone

should I feel bad about that?

Called the cops, RIAA and an ice cream sandwich delivery truck

Avatar image for GamingGod999
#26 Posted by GamingGod999 (3135 posts) -

@arb0rv1ryour posts have been just as informative as the media music booklets I've been given, lul.

Avatar image for arb0rv1r
#27 Posted by Arb0rv1r (25 posts) -

@GamingGod999:

Lol thanks! I'm happy to share any information on this subject. Feel free to pm me anytime with industry questions. I just want people to be informed with how this business actually works.

Avatar image for themajormayor
#28 Posted by themajormayor (25617 posts) -

@dave123321 said:

Yeah sure I guess sure yeah

Avatar image for darthgumballs
#29 Posted by DarthGumballs (226 posts) -

Yes. Just get Spotify, you can seriously listen to just about everything legally for free, you just have to do it on shuffle mode. Or if you want to pick your songs just pay the $10 a month. Don't be a cheap bastard

Avatar image for MrGeezer
#30 Posted by MrGeezer (59168 posts) -

@elkoldo said:

Feel bad about them ? Get a grip on yourself.Those publishers are already making billions of dollars per day, and still you feel guilty about getting an album for free ? You ever played Read Dead Redemption ? This line from John Marston is how I figure it :

"I always steal from those who I believe have more than they deserve."

The problem is that ANYONE can use that same argument to justify taking whatever they want from whoever they want.

Avatar image for Makhaidos
#31 Edited by Makhaidos (2162 posts) -

Not if the artists provide their music for free. If they expect you to pay for it and you don't, yeah, I'd say it's unethical.

Unless they're expecting an outrageous amount for their music. But the parameters of what is and isn't "outrageous" take a little effort to define.

Avatar image for foxhound_fox
#32 Posted by foxhound_fox (96814 posts) -

Is it available on a streaming or digital distribution service for a reasonable price? Yes, it is unethical.

Is it only available on a used CD in a dodgy music store in the back of some mall? No, go ahead.

There is also the extremely grey area surrounding unknown artists who need word of mouth to get their name out there. Some people should buy it, but they really should burn some copies for their friends and encourage them to buy it as well if they like it.

Avatar image for foxhound_fox
#33 Edited by foxhound_fox (96814 posts) -

@darthgumballs said:

Yes. Just get Spotify, you can seriously listen to just about everything legally for free, you just have to do it on shuffle mode. Or if you want to pick your songs just pay the $10 a month. Don't be a cheap bastard

It's unfortunate that those services aren't available in all regions (the only streaming services I can get here in Canada are last.fm (which has a price) and Youtube). And then there is the issue with them hiding features behind a paywall (i.e. choosing the song for a subscription price). It should offer all features for a very low (i.e. a few dollars a month), flat rate that is supplemented with advertising (and those who want to remove ads add another small amount to the cost).

If they can't offer a more convenient service than what pirates are offering (free, almost instant downloads of top quality products, including FLAC), then they won't get as many customers as they should. The same thing goes for games, books, television, etc.

Avatar image for platinumking320
#34 Edited by platinumking320 (668 posts) -

Just think about it economically. Artists or people who are running their own online distribution, you like em and feel your money's worth it..

Go on 'head and buy it. (as discreetly as you can in our unsafe world wide web) (but usually with music, the real money comes from live performance.)

  • Now....back catalogue shit that you would've bought, but no ones making money off of or even selling anymore. That you would have to e-bay or swap to actually pay for it...

  • ridiculously region-locked or corporate-locked entertainment,

  • or just stuff that major media realistically doesn't give a shit about if people pirate since they make their money exploiting and tossing artists away like used contact lenses.,

All those are FAIR GAME. Just use your best judgement. Hell, De La Soul put up their entire back catalog for free as a Valentines' Day only gift.

It's not always as black and white as some internet crusaders, and media execs writing 'Baby's-first-Op-Ed' make it out to be. There's hypocrisy everywhere. Hell, Infringement, and Cartel-ing media has been part of how the movie and music biz got rolling in the first place.

Avatar image for IMAHAPYHIPPO
#35 Posted by IMAHAPYHIPPO (3151 posts) -

I mean it's illegal. That's pretty much the extent of it. Pirating music is against the law, but where that money goes when you buy an album depends between different artists. Artists in the major record companies barely see any profits from selling music, where independent labels and artists see a lot more money when they sell their music.

Either way, you probably shouldn't do it, but there's much worse you could be doing in the world.

Avatar image for SoNin360
#36 Posted by SoNin360 (6712 posts) -

I don't feel bad. I'm not going to pay hundreds of dollars for the convenience of having all the music I like stored together. Music is so accessible. I can get on YouTube and listen to pretty much any song and most albums I would want to listen to. I see absolutely no value in purchasing a digital copy of a song, especially when it's ridiculously easy to just download it from somewhere and conveniently store it where I want to.

Avatar image for Serraph105
#37 Posted by Serraph105 (31907 posts) -

Yes it's unethical, but then the music industry can be real pricks to the musicians they sign on so I wouldn't go so far as to feel bad about it.

Avatar image for Master_Live
#38 Posted by Master_Live (18818 posts) -

I don't remember anymore, Napster in da house!

Avatar image for killzowned24
#39 Posted by killzowned24 (7345 posts) -

Unethical to upload,not download :P

Avatar image for lamprey263
#40 Edited by lamprey263 (34517 posts) -

well, it hurts the publishers, who keep most the money anyways, and they exhaust the artists by touring them around the world to no end, there's nothing really ethical about the music industry in general

then again what do I know, publishers may actually do a lot, I mean they promote on a number of fronts, manage distribution and sale of product, and they license out use of songs for other commercial uses, and they handle collection of money, and manage and distribute royalty payments

Avatar image for hippiesanta
#41 Posted by hippiesanta (10299 posts) -

@k--m--k said:

I have thousands of unpaid music in my iphone

should I feel bad about that?

NO..

because it actually promote the band (free advertising) to go to their gigs

If you are living in a country where government love to ban or censored everything ..... downloading pirate music is another way to connect with the band

fyi ... lars ulrich already make peace with downloading music

Avatar image for KHAndAnime
#42 Posted by KHAndAnime (17565 posts) -

Technically? Yes. Even if the artist encourages people to download their music (which is now becoming the common attitude), the artists aren't typically the ones financing and distributing their album, so it's not really their call to make. If the artist and the label both don't care - then it probably doesn't matter. I've even seen music artists comment on Youtube uploads of their music and saying stuff along the lines of "Thanks for sharing and enjoying the music!" and stuff like that. Even from an economic standpoint, it makes sense for the artist to encourage music piracy. Someone isn't likely to shell money out for music they haven't heard, but they're far likely to buy music and merchandise if they've heard the music before hand. Let me put it this way: I wouldn't lose sleep over it. Many artists make money from music piracy. Particularly underground bands - bands considered to have the most talent stand above the rest, regardless of their distribution capabilities.

Avatar image for XilePrincess
#44 Posted by XilePrincess (13130 posts) -

Have you ever felt bad for going to the library, or borrowing something from a friend, or even renting a movie from a movie store (*cue the 'back in my day' and old people wheeze*)?

If not, then why feel bad about downloading music? You're essentially doing the same thing as if your friend lets you rip his cd he bought legally, or play his game he bought. Or what about all the authors' books you borrowed from the library? A thousand people read the book, but he only sells one copy.

I'd feel worse about 'stealing' from an author than I would from a music artist or for downloading a movie. Celebrities and artists get TONS of money for appearances, interviews, brand deals, you name it.

But in all, no, you really shouldn't feel bad.

Avatar image for Master_Live
#45 Edited by Master_Live (18818 posts) -

Man the lengths some people will go to justify downloading stuff, it is illegal and unethical just make your peace with it. It isn't the same as "borrowing" some game (physical copy) from a friend because at any given time there is only one existing copy and while I have it my friend came play the game. The same with your silly library book analogy.

Avatar image for k--m--k
#46 Posted by k--m--k (2541 posts) -

Things like spotify dont work in my region (which doesnt make sense to me why it regional thing)

Avatar image for Master_Live
#48 Posted by Master_Live (18818 posts) -

As for people suggesting Spotify, you know what is better than Spotify? Having the goddamned songs in my computer.

Avatar image for LJS9502_basic
#49 Edited by LJS9502_basic (162212 posts) -

@XilePrincess said:

Have you ever felt bad for going to the library, or borrowing something from a friend, or even renting a movie from a movie store (*cue the 'back in my day' and old people wheeze*)?

If not, then why feel bad about downloading music? You're essentially doing the same thing as if your friend lets you rip his cd he bought legally, or play his game he bought. Or what about all the authors' books you borrowed from the library? A thousand people read the book, but he only sells one copy.

I'd feel worse about 'stealing' from an author than I would from a music artist or for downloading a movie. Celebrities and artists get TONS of money for appearances, interviews, brand deals, you name it.

But in all, no, you really shouldn't feel bad.

Because they are not the same thing. Justifying your illegal actions does not make them ethical.

Avatar image for ShepardCommandr
#50 Posted by ShepardCommandr (4844 posts) -

It depends.

Me i have downloaded terabytes of stuff and don't care at all.I am a thief and i am damn proud of it.