It's a rough time for the music industry and record stores with the decline and eventual death of the CD and now download sales are starting to slow. So what format do you like your music in MP3, CD, Vinyl, cassette, illegal download?
I admit...I download illegally and then when I really love it I buy the CD. If i don't, I press delete.
God..I used to buy everything I thought I might remotely like. Even used to buy CD's mainly based on the graphic art.
These past years I let the music really sink in, touch my heart, and buy in support of that artist.
Inka there was a study done recently that showed that people who illegally download are the same people who buy the most music. This makes sense to me because I know what it's like to buy and album for $15 to $20 and then realize you don't like it. This makes it self defeating for record labels to sue downloaders or to cut their internet connections.
Personally for the last few years I have switched over to vinyl. The sound quality is the best you can get and it's nice to have this big thing with art to look at and touch. One great thing most labels (indie at least) are doing is giving you the code for a free download when you purchase the record. This way I have the great sounding vinyl version plus a portable one for my Ipod to listen to when running or on a trip. Unfortunately the major record labels seem to be behind on this because they want to be greedy and have you buy both versions.
"it's nice to have this big thing with art to look at and touch" The look and touch thing is Priceless!
I'm still trying to convince my dad and my sisters that their Vinyl collection would be in safer hands with me. My dad has these old jazz albums the vinyl is heavy and thick the art is beautiful. My oldest sister 80's ska albums and a Mantronix album and the inside sleeve of the Thriller album is great!
Strangely...they're not convinced that those albums should be mine.
My bro once had an interesting idea back in the late 90s' / early 2000s, when illegal downloading was at an all time high. He said that profits in the music industry were slowly dying due to the digital age, and that in order for bands to continue to make the money they were accustomed to, they all need to begin recording their shows and then selling digital copies of all of them. It's something one could easily market to concert-goers, and all fans, in general. And if it's self-produced, I don't think the record companies will be able to take a cut, allowing the profits to go straight to the band.
I know when I go see a live show of any artist, I usually like to have a live copy of that show, but not all artists are as taper-friendly as others. Anyway, it's an interesting concept to recoup from losses of illegal downloads.
Phish and Pearl Jam were doing this at one point, as well, but I don't know to what extent they were self-produced, and whether or not they pulled in all the profits, or owed any of that profit to their labels.
Lately I have found myself buying vinyl instead of cds or mp3s. Newer vinyl releases sometimes come with a full download of the album for free so you can put it on your iPod as well. I will admit that I do download illegally, but more often than not, I'll buy the album if I like it. I also tend to buy more music from struggling musicians, than I guess the more mainstream artists.
I tend to either rip from purchased CDs (from local shops I'd hate to see go out of business). I suggest using a free program that rips to mp3 format, like Music Match.
My best recommendation for purchasing music is off of Amazon.com. This is because you can get DRM-free mp3s, which means no copyright protection (Digital Rights Management) and you have the ability to share, trade, and back-up your purchased songs.
If anyone at this point thinks, why not Itunes? Any music purchased on Itunes will likely be in m4a format, which is custom for iPods--while there are some other players that recognize the format, they tend to be few and far between. While Apple did eventually get the hint and remove the DRM from their m4a files, it becomes hard to know the difference between DRM and DRM-free m4a files unless you try to back them up. Issues I've seen range from only being able to copy songs 3-4 times before the files are rendered useless, to only being able to play them on your own ipod or machines enabled with your Itunes account (up to 4-5 machines total can be enabled, and need to be specifically disabled in order to be applied to any other machines once you've hit your limit.) Sound annoying? I think so, so I usually just rip CDs, buy mp3s off of Amazon, or download them illegally from my brother.
Alternatives to "piracy" include Pandora, and other free streaming music services, as well as multiple CD swapping sites where you trade used CDs, books, and movies via snail-mail.