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Do You Pay for Music?

Do You Pay for Music?

Emily White, an intern at NPR, has 11,000 songs in her iTunes library—but she's only paid for a handful of them. As she admits in a controversial blog post, she's only purchased 15 CDs in her entire life. So where does she get the rest of her music?

A few of her tracks are from Kazaa, and most are from ripped CDs and albums. She says, "I didn't illegally download (most) of my songs," not seeming to realize that it IS illegal to rip CDs and albums, and that her entire collection of music (barring those 15 CDs) is illegally downloaded.

She does feel bad about ripping off the musicians she loves, writing, "As I've grown up, I've come to realize the gravity of what file-sharing means to the musicians I love. I can't support them with concert tickets and T-shirts alone." Still, she doesn't think people who grew up with MP3s will ever spend money on downloads. "I do think we will pay for convenience. What I want is one massive Spotify-like catalog of music that will sync to my phone and various home entertainment devices."

These thoughts kicked off an internet kerfuffle. Musician David Lowery posted a long and interesting response to White's post, arguing that if you listen to music without paying for it, you're behaving immorally and harming musicians, who are being driven out of existence by big corporations like Google, and new sites like Spotify.

While we agree with every word of Lowery's post (it's long, but well worth reading), we think White is right, too. It's hard to imagine kids ever paying for music, unless the system is overhauled completely, and ripping CDs becomes as inconvenient and potentially embarrassing as, say, stealing a bra from Victoria's Secret.

We're really curious to hear what you think. How do you listen to music? Do you download/copy CDs/rip friends' MP3s? Do you feel bad about doing it? Would you pay for a huge music catalog that would sync to your devices?

Topics: Music, The Internets
Tags: music, morals, controversies, morality, mp3s

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