How Does Illegally Downloading Music Impact the Music Industry?

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Is the overwhelming amount of people pirating music negatively affecting everything backing the music that you love? Over 30 billion songs were illegally downloaded between 2004 and 2009, and that already high number has been increasing recently.

Illegally downloading music continues to cause a loss of profits and jobs. Beyond that, it has changed how music is delivered to the masses. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is made up of large companies that oversee the recording and distribution of music in the U.S. Often called the voice of the music industry, the RIAA reported that music sales in the states have dropped a whopping 47% since illegal downloading service, Napster, debuted in 1999.

Economically, illegally downloading music is doing the country a great disservice, costing the music industry 12.5 billion in losses by 2012. Due to the loss of money, there has to be a loss of jobs following right behind. The RIAA revealed that as a result of illegally downloading music, over 71,000 jobs have been lost. These positions that have been cut included people who once worked as artists, songwriters, producers, engineers, technicians and marketing support.

People are starting to believe that the future of music could be in danger. Artists and recording labels have been forced to find new ways to distribute music to work around illegal downloads. For example, selling singles now seems to trump a full-length album. The music industry now has to try even harder than it previously did to expose its artists to a wider audience. One new tactic developed is to digitally licence music to websites like Youtube, Pandora and Spotify. Because of this new culture of pirating music, touring and promotional deals have become more important to music distributors than selling the songs.

Trying to recuperate from the loss of money and resources, the music industry has filed lawsuits against individuals who have been found to have illegally downloaded music. If sued, they could lose anywhere from thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

So really, how worth it is the convenience of pirating your music?

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