I have a proposal for the people (and robots!) of the internets. Stop downloading your music legally. Whenever you find yourself about to buy a song legally from iTunes navigate to The Pirate Bay instead.
You're crazy, why would I want to do that?
Hear me out... I've had enough of the music industry criminalising our kids for simply using their favourite Justin Beiber song as a backing track for a video shot on a school camping trip, which they shared with Gran.
The truth is if we want to criminalise piracy, then we have to be willing to sacrifice our civil liberties and allow what we share and download be watched. If we're against having our private channels of communication watched 24/7, then we might as well legalise piracy because we would have no way to enforce it.
But legalising piracy would put people who work in the music industry out of jobs
I don't think we should be valuing some people's jobs over our civil liberties. There will always be a demand for art and if there's a demand there will always be a way to make money. It might not be as simple as merely creating a piece of art and selling it for a fixed price, but times change and businesses need to adapt with that change to find new ways of making money. Take Spotify, they're doing great and even helping to convert pirates into paying music lovers.
We can't protect every business from change, and we shouldn't, as technology and society evolves so should businesses. This is what happens in others industries, take newspapers, they are being forced by technological changes to have an online presence to ensure their survival in the digital age.
Wouldn't it would stop artists from wanting to create art?
There are plenty of artists that don't make anything from the art they make and they love making it. It's also a myth to believe the reason they're not making money is just because they're not as talented as other artists. The truth is an artists' sells are usually equivalent to how well the record labels sell them.
Services like PledgeMusic allows artists to make money from fans by allowing them to buy things such as hand written letters, phone calls, personal possessions and merch. This is a great way to support the arists you love without having to give a penny to the record labels.
That's all great, but why should I stop buying music legally?
It's simple, if you don't want record labels dictating what you should listen to and who's successful, if you want to support your favourite artists without the record labels taking a cut and if you want freedom to browse the web and share content without having your every click monitored, then we need to show our support to our favourite artists in different way than just buying CDs.
If you really love music support the advancement of the music industry into the 21st century then choose how you use your wallet carefully. Sign up for a service such as Zune Pass, stop downloading songs from iTunes, heck listen to them on YouTube if you have to, believe it or not a lot of money can be made from YouTube.
Regardless of what the entertainment industry says there is plenty of money to be made and a lot to gain from the non-commercial legalisation of piracy.