Ok so the file sharing people have kindly killed off not just the major labels as they like to think in their most Robin Hood of moments, but they have also massacred the independent labels and musicians.
Little thought goes into their actions. They want free music. They feel entitled to it, and no matter what argument is presented they invariably come back with some "striking at the big boys", some anti-corporate crap and the vague notion that we should all trust them to buy the stuff that they like.
In truth they rarely buy anything but keep almost all they download.
Completely misinformed don't let them fool you. Anti-popular as the opinion might be they are selfish thieves who care nothing for the damage that they do to the many many more musicians and music professionals who have nothing to do with their supposed target.
So what kind of world are these people carving? Are they striking at the major labels? Yes. Are they attacking all the other musicians? Yes. they may say they don't but sorry, just look at the file sharing sites. It's a crock.
Soon, and I mean very soon, many independent labels are going to disappear. So are many music professionals. What does that leave? Only the majors and some indie bands with a big enough following to have their fans buy merchandise.
What we will have is almost no indie music. What incentive is there for musicians to create music? Lots. What incentive is there for musicians to share that music with others? Almost none.
How would these file sharers feel if they trained for years, worked their ass off, and then people just helped themselves to the fruits of all their efforts, and emptied their pay packets? All work and no pay makes anyone very poor.
No thought is given to "how will the little guys survive?". Trouble is, new big guys come from todays little guys. Add to that the major labels are so broke they are not keen to invest in new bands at all. It's a lot of investment for almost no return, normally a huge loss these days.
Instead you can see what is happening. Labels are releasing back catalog music in droves, generally aiming at markets that are less computer savvy. Music videos are shot very cheaply. the quality of the music is going down as labels use samplers and synths to replace session musicians (which does little for the nuance of performance), ticket prices are up as is merchandise. The big guys are just switching how they earn their money.
But merchandise requires fans, fans come from being noticed and being liked. So how does an independent musician earn a crust? Maybe the file sharers should all work for years, with no pay, in fact paying to do their job, with the complete uncertainty that they will ever be paid. That was the way it often was before file sharing took hold.
Now the equivalent is that the musician pays for it all, gives away their music for free in the hope that fans will buy an official t-shirt (oh wait they are bootlegged too along with concert programs and all the other merchandise) and they are left with what?
So soon we have few new bands. Quality of music goes down. Quality of videos goes down. Less is spent on promotion so you are less likely to even know a lot of music exists. Musicians work in their spare time, for little recognition for their efforts other than "thanks for the music".
Is this what you want? All so you can get some songs for free? "Hey it's just one song" I hear you say. yeah one song by that artist maybe, but look across your music collection.
Artists earn by adding together those small amounts from all the people who say "Hey it's just one song". trouble is it really isn't just you. It's the thousands and thousands of others who do this too. in fact downloading any track simply supports the sites that offer these services making them more popular allowing them to grow faster and do more an more damage.
Streaming is another fast growing alternative. It pays musicians very poorly (as one person on these boards noted about $10 for 20,000 plays). It's already spreading to mobile devices. Soon fans wont need to download anything they will just have access to an entire archive of music where ever they go. i do believe I hear the death knell of the music industry.
Movies are next, then books. Soon we will have a situation where the creative industries are completely shattered apart. Back to the pre pop revolution. In fact way before that.
Some musicians will always be content with a pat on the back "well done", but for many now comes a time when they will ask themselves "ok I made some music... now can i be assed letting people hear it other than my friends" Sure they may perform, but really, what incentive is there to release those songs to a wider audience?
By file sharing, even streaming, you are killing off the artists you like as well as the ones you dislike. this is no small scale thing that is making a small dent, this is something that is killing the music industry. All of it.