For the past few years, the Canadian government has been cracking down on illegal file sharing. Several music downloading sites have been threatened with legal action by the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) for allowing Canadians to take advantage of free music. The outcome is that Canadian traffic has been banned from these sites. According to the CRIA website, their purpose is to “represent the interests of companies that create, manufacture, and market sound recordings.” However, many people are misled by the media to believe that the purpose of the organization is to protect the artists from those ungrateful thieves who would steal their music. The fans. Most artists view the internet as a new medium through which they can share their art. It is the managers and record labels who are really trying to squeeze every last dime out of an album, with no regard for the artists or the fans.
Luckily, there is plenty of money to be made for those who smarten up and create their own free file sharing program funded by sponsors. They would make plenty of money from advertisements and would not have to continue dishing out money to file lawsuits against music pirates. Most music pirates would not spend $19.99 for an album even if they could not get it for free, but they would be willing to use the system of downloading that would send profits to the creators of the album. The recording industry needs to take a different outlook on the issue, and instead of starting lawsuit after lawsuit to stop the malevolent spread of free music, they should embrace the movement.
The solution is to focus on the endless resource of advertising. Sponsors are willing to pay by the user to have their ads shown. Advertising has been profitable for television and radio broadcasting for years, and with the rise of the internet, why shouldn’t this new medium be paid for by the advertisers rather than the viewers? Most pirates are not willing to pay the 99 cents per song that iTunes offers, but they would probably be willing to change their source for music to the one that is profitable to the organization that produces it. This would continue the trend of newly accessible music and increased ticket sales, and would help the industry to continue to grow. It would be the best solution for the artists who want to share their music with as many people as possible and have their voices heard, without opposing the record companies that produce them.
The music industry is going about the issue of downloading music the wrong way. Instead of banning sources of free music, the record companies should get into the game and blow away the competition. The artists would continue to enjoy the spread of their music and an increasing fan base, and the fans could, of course, enjoy free music without a guilty conscience. The record companies themselves would profit from the sponsors who pay to have their ads shown, and the more people use the program, the more money there is to be made. It is a win-win situation for everyone.