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Sinking the Pirates This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

By , Cumming, GA
Did you know that over 60 million people in the U.S. break the law daily just by listening to their iPod? That is because those 60 million people are in possession of pirated music.

So what's the big deal with pirating music anyway? Well, actually more than you may think. In 1999, Napster, a music-sharing service (which allows free file sharing and downloading) was launched and immediately exploded on the Web. Its user base peaked at 20 million, and since Napster's creation, record sales have plummeted by a staggering 50 percent.

This has wreaked havoc not only for big record labels and multi-platinum artists, but it has especially hurt the coffee shop singers and the new bands trying to catch their big break. Five years after the release of Napster, the number of local repertoire albums dropped by 60 percent. In addition, the number of new artists signing contracts decreased by 60 percent as well.

So what does all this mean? In short, the recording industry is losing money at an alarming rate. It also means that your favorite artists aren't getting paid for the music they release. Finally, new artists aren't getting signed because the big labels don't want to take risks. So, basically, it's a really big deal. The real question is how do we fix it?

Most people believe the solution is legal action – sue piracy out of existence. Highly publicized lawsuits reduced the number of music sharing site users by 50 percent in 2004. However, this method can only go so far. There will always be ways to get music online for free, regardless of many people get sued.

The real solution lies in stealing away the pirates' base of consumers. This can only be achieved by making legal downloads more appealing. There are already several lucrative “plus sides” to legal consumption of music, like digital extras and subscription-based music services. Companies like Spotify and Rhapsody (who acquired Napster in 2011) are hugely successful music providers because they offer users access to millions of songs for a small monthly fee. This fee goes toward paying royalties to the artists who rightfully deserve them.

Some artists choose to release their music for free on iTunes and Amazon, making the majority of their money through concert ticket sales. Many also offer exclusive access to unreleased content and events through the purchase of their music. Another potential solution, according to Hil Anderson from United Press International, is to offer discounts on albums when they are purchased as CDs in record stores.

So solutions are out there; we just need to embrace them. If the trend continues on its current path, we may reach a point of depression in the music industry so bad that new music will stop being produced. The question is, will you stand by and let it happen?

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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A.A.K.This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 26 at 3:50 pm:
Woah, a lot of food for thought. I think this article is especially effective because the opinion is backed up by so many supporting details and facts that are actually relavent to youth today. Instead of the usual teen fallback, "Pirating is bad, period," or "Pirating is awesome, I get free music," "Sinking the Pirates" delves into the history and long-term problems of downloading music while appealing to readers in a friendly, accessable voice and through well org... (more »)
 
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