Beginning in 2005, every 4 months or so I would receive a letter in the mail containing an iTunes gift card worth $25 – $75. I would look forward to opening the sealed envelope, and pulling out that shiny card. The main reason we received gifts were because my Dad’s sister bought several shares with Apple Inc., and wanted to keep the stocks rising….so she continuously bought Apple products. I suppose her logic made sense, but it was a little extreme. Eventually she realized that her few purchases wouldn’t make a huge impact on Apple’s position within the market, but hey, it was a neat idea, and we (my cousins and myself) enjoyed receiving them very much.

Anyways, to get to the point…these iTunes gift cards were easy to use and gave me the purchasing power to buy music. I would firstly consider the price of the music before I chose to press “add to cart.” Most of the songs went for $0.99, so I was able to develop quite an impressive iTunes library from the series of gift cards alone. I enjoyed purchasing music this way because I knew it was legal, and I was supporting the artists for their long hard hours spent in the recording studio.

A few years later my Aunt became a PC fan, and I caught onto the trend of downloading music. I downloaded Napster onto my PC desktop, and enjoyed exploring the endless song lists it had to offer. Initially I found the program confusing to use I also didn’t like the virus risks that came with it, or the fact that that it was considered illegal. I was far too young to take full advantage of the program. I faintly remember downloading Ashlee Simpson’s first ever album, but soon after, resorted to YouTube to stream videos/music instead. So I can’t say I really violated any downloading laws with my actions. I tried my best to avoid illegally downloading music.

After reading McCourt and Bukart’s (2003) article, I realized that during its time, Napster really broke through the boundaries of music set up by giant corporations within the industry. Napster was the first ever site to copy commercial music and share it FREE with its members. It’s a very cool concept in my opinion, and I wish I had caught on. But these days everything is digital and able to be streamed/shared online anytime, anywhere. I no longer consider myself a purchaser of music, nor a downloader. I am an active streamer. I love my YouTube, Soundcloud, Songza, MixCloud, 8Tracks… the list goes on. With a smartphone, and WIFI available almost everywhere music is easily assessable to me, legally of course!

I enjoy ‘following’ different artists, bands, and DJ’s to show my support, especially since I am not spending money on their music. I am a big fan of Soundcloud because I can “Like” different sounds, and my Home Feed will adjust based on that and any other interests I indicate.

To my knowledge I am not breaking any rules involving music piracy with my current actions. So I plan on keeping with what I’m doing. If I could briefly mention one thing I miss, it would be having a full, up to date iTunes library. But oh well, I have 6G’s of data on my phone…there’s no need haha.

Music being widely available online has both positive and negative effects on the industry. It makes it easier for artists to distribute their music. For example, instead of producing millions of hard copy CD’s, they now only have to upload their content to the Internet. Wherever they see fits! Come to think of it, recently I’ve noticed media stores (such as HMV) have suffered from emptier shelves. They have actually begun to fill their stores with other retail products such as t-shirts, movie knick-knacks, and candy. Aside from that little tangent, I discovered that people who illegally download music are not really affecting music sales.  As a matter of fact, “legal purchases would be about 2% lower without illegal downloading available…” (Boutin, 2010) meaning people who download would never bother to spend money on the music, so in a sense, they’re promoting/supporting the music they enjoy through online sources.

To conclude this post I would like to mention how much I enjoy the fact that music is all digitally available and able to be streamed from a variety of formats. I was super excited to get started on Module 6’s creative assignment and I open my eyes to more ways of listening to music. Chat you in 6.2 where I share my experience using other music streaming formats!

– Riah

Boutin, P. (2010, Nov. 29). The age of music piracy is officially over. WIRED Magazine. Retrieved from: http://wrd.cm/1gB2VWb

McCourt, T., P. Burkart. (2003). When Creators, Corporations and Consumers Collide: Napster and the Development of On-line Music Distribution. Media, Culture & Society. 25 (3), pg. 333-350.http://bit.ly/12XblDr

Rothman, L. (2013, Mar. 21). Illegal music downloads not hurting industry, study claims. TIME Entertainment. Retrieved from: http://ti.me/1dbhPix


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