We read it in the news every day. Major music industry players like Sony BMG or EMI are reporting losses all over the place and blame it solely on Internet pirates. Internet pirates are actually a very good excuse for bad times. Hard facts do not exist and no one is able to check on the numbers the MI provides for losses due to internet pirates. A common theme seems to be to calculate each illegal download as a lost sale. The method has that many flaws that it hard to list them all. Imagine a 16 year old who downloads hundreds of CDs per month. Is it likely that the person would be able to buy more than a hundred CDs per month if there would not be illegal download options available? Not very likely, do you think? You can only spend money once.
They don't seem to realize that they criminalize their own customers with measures like copy protected cd's and rootkit software installed on customers PC.
More and more customers are becoming aware of this and are looking for good alternatives. Don't buy Cds from the major record labels anymore but still enjoy music, is that possible at all?
Yes it is possible, there are numerous ways one could get his daily dosis of music and even download it to his personal computer without feeding the dragon.
1. Buy used CDs
This one is pretty obvious. As soon as a CD is released it shortly thereafter appears on virtual marketplaces like eBay and amazon as used used copies. The music industry won't see a dime if you buy a used CD instead of the original one.
2. Record and Listen to (internet) radio:
Thousands of independent internet radio stations exist. Sites like shoutcast.com offer a large variety of genres and cater to every music taste. The traditional radio stations tend to become less of an alternative to internet radio. The main reason is that is difficul to record "clean", meaning without someone babbling at the beginning and end, versions of a song and transfer it to the computer.
Recording internet radio has never been that easy, I've published a tutorial about this, just take a look at my guide to streamripping
3. Trade CDs with friends:
The CD and tape trading that our fathers excelled at is slowly been put to rest. Its far easier to download the latest album and have it immediately on the PC than to trade it with a friend and copy it by some means.
Trading CDs has some advantages and also some disadvantages. To trade CDs one must have some, e.g. buy them. Then you need someone with the same music taste to trade CDs with. The big advantage is that its 100% legal to trade music CDs with your friends. In most countries you are even allowed to copy the CD and then trade it and keep the copy. Check your local laws on this.
4. Download free music:
Independent musicians and bands often offer their work for free on the internet. Portals like amazon also offer music downloads of known artists for free download. I compiled a incomplete list of some.
5. Audio Blogs:
Audio Blogs offer another possibility, they have become increasingly popular since 2003. Visit monkeyfilter.com for a large list of audio blog sites.
6. Support local bands
Local bands tend to produce and sell their CDss on their own. Visit festivals and concerts, buy CDs there and support those independent bands and musicians.