Digital Music

File Sharing Represents My Generation Says Student

College goer shares her thoughts on the file sharing in interview.

image from www.veryicon.com In the downfall of LimeWire, I came across a curious article titled File Sharing Represents New Generation.

I thought the views in the piece were quite interesting and decided to reach out the author through Facebook.

Hannah, in some respects, could very well be the new music consumer. Then again, she could be the minority.

Several of her opinions caught my eye because they are ones that I've written about in the past. Such as, that the culture of file sharing will be hard to change, taste in music is shifting from a finite to fluid representation, and that the online music consumption system promotes a different range of social behavior in fans.

From my understanding, she's 19 and listens to Alexi Murdoch, Fruit Bats, Old Crow Medicine Show, Nickel Creek, The Dodos, The Avett Brothers, and Cole Russell, among others. She also thinks that file sharing is deeply connected to youth culture and that the music industry is out of touch with her generation.

Oh, and I asked, she's never heard of Slacker, MOG, RDIO, or Thumbplay either. The list goes on and on. She's a big fan of Pandora and HypeMachine though.

And despite her penchant for the fallen LimeWire, she does buy music legally too, through iTunes no less, and does attend her fair share of live shows as well.

Why do you think file sharing has become the way of life for the college-aged generation? Would you argue that the behavior is equally engrained into youth culture—that it and file sharing have intermeshed?

Hannah: I think we are more connected with technology than any previous generation. Now, rather than wait around at a record store for a CD to come out, we sit around at our computers and wait for it to be released, and then immediately purchase it via iTunes. That is, if we are even going to pay for it.

We as a generation have grown up burning CD’s for each other, and downloading music in any form we can find it on the internet. The internet is a way of life for us; MP3s are how we listen to music. If music is going to exist in such a transferable format, people are going to transfer it, legally and illegally.

Is the record industry out of touch with the changing attitudes and listening habits of music fans? Does the current music consumption system accurately reflects the activities that your peers engage in?

Hannah: I think that the record industry is completely out of touch with our attitude. We listen to music in such a different way now; rather than relying on only the radio and CD’s. I would say every single one of my friends has a link on their computers to Pandora internet radio, and most have a link to HypeMachine, a site to discover music that is posted on blogs. Our use of music is much more fluid than previous generations’, and I doubt the music industry is really making much money off CD’s and mp3s anymore.

Has your immersion in the web and music services such as Pandora and HypeMachine shifted your music tastes towards a much more fluid and open palate over the more rigid and defined characteristics of the past?

Hannah: Yes, definitely. People of my generation no longer identify as a “country music fan” or a “hip hop fan.” You can find artists of many different genres on everyone’s iPods. I personally appreciate everything from bluegrass to techno. Furthermore, the mashup artists that are very popular now, such as Girl Talk and Super Mash Brothers, have put different genres together in interesting ways and made my generation listen to them all together. It’s a really cool thing.

If your peers can't get music for free in one place, will they simply shift to another? What would you say prevents them from converting to legal services? Are they not aware of Rdio, MOG, or Zune Pass, among others?

Hannah: They definitely don’t care. At this point, we are so used to opening up LimeWire and just going crazy downloading whatever we can think of.

I would say most of us will simply shift to other ways.

I’ve heard people talking about ways to get music from a video on YouTube or download the songs from the HypeMachine. The thing about the internet is that if something is there, and you know how to use the software, it is possible to get it.

It's virtually impossible to safeguard completely against something being taken from your Web site. Our generation is too good at the internet, and too OK with the idea of free music not to take advantage of that.

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8 Comments

  1. I’m a songwriter. It’s my only. If people don’t pay to buy one of my songs, then I don’t get paid. What jobs do people have. Do they make a salary. what if people started stealing the products at the store where they work. The boss would have to close the store. No money, no salaries for the employees

  2. Hannah says, “Our generation is too good at the internet, and too OK with the idea of free music not to take advantage of that.”
    Do you see what’s wrong with that statement? The words “OK” and “take advantage” are the key words here. Are you are saying that this “generation” is OK with committing a crime?
    It does not matter how much Hannah wants to defend “illegal downloading”, claiming that it is the way of today’s generation, it is still illegal and wrong.
    Hannah, do you shoplift? Do you Steal? Would you want people doing the same to you?

  3. Certainly less love for individual acts it seems – that’ll happen as there’s so much free access to loads more acts – they’ll grow bored of that very quickly and move to the next act.
    In essence the audience is starting to not really care whether acts last or survive from any longevity – they’ll be able to access something new and similar sounding in about 2 seconds.
    Bad times?

  4. Oh and doing something illegal repeatedly over a period of time doesn’t make it right – but if musical output is viewed as being ‘worthless’ (which when supply is massively outstripping demand it will ‘devalue’ it) then it will continue.
    PPL like Hannah derive no joy from a physical product, world moves to fast and too short an attention span for artwork, liner notes etc

  5. I’m a singer-songwriter myself with self produced releases on iTunes, Amazon and all the others. I think instead of all of us musicians bitching and complaining about folks “stealing” our music and “taking our livelihood”, we should embrace that music as an industry is actually regressing to the way things used to be.
    Hear me out…If a musician from the dawn of time and up until the early 20th century wanted to make a name for themselves; then they played live shows. There was no recorded music for them to make a living from. We are coming into a similar time now. Yes, not everyone really buys their music online and next to no one buys cd’s anymore. However, people still do and always will enjoy seeing music played live. There is no substitute and no program that will allow you to download that musician to play your favorite song in your living room. For musicians wishing to make music their way of life there is now no other way than to play as many shows as you can, and to make as much noise for yourself as possible. Yes, your fans can download your music for free…and I say LET THEM! There’s no real way to stop it as this young girl has pointed out. If one website falls then another will pop up in it’s place to offer free downloads. There’s nothing we can do about that. So instead of all this whining about how unfair it is…I say we all should strap on our man-pants and carry on. Think of it as a positive…if your music is available for free then it stands to reason that you have the chance to be heard by more people. If your music is any good then they may try and come see your band the next time you’re in their town. It’s good promotion.
    In short…let’s all get out of the studio and back on the road making a living as our forbears have for countless centuries.

  6. @ Lars Pluto. This is the exact argument I make all the time, and I was wondering why no one else sees it that way. Cheers, and good luck in your career AS A MUSICIAN, AS A PERFORMER and not as a “recording artist.”
    dffdfdfdf — I hope you write songs better than you write sentences, or you won’t get paid either way.
    J – what is “illegal and wrong” is a sociological concept. If the majority of a society no longer perceives something to be “wrong”, it stops becoming illegal. Period. Full stop. Web-savvy youth may be a sociological minority now, but they won’t be for long.
    After all, anyone remember prohibition? Drinking was “illegal”, and considered “wrong”, but that sure didn’t stop anyone from doing it. And you know what? Eventually, it became legal.
    Anyone comparing music downloading to shoplifting is an absolute retard. If someone was stealing your physical CDs and albums, OK — that’s an apt comparison. But downloading inferior MP3 copies? Don’t be ridiculous. Is listening to a song being played over a sound system at a party theft? Because it’s safe to say not everyone in that room paid for the “rights” to hear it. The entire room didn’t have to give their credit cards before walking in the door. SOMEONE pays for the songs to be played on the radio, but it sure isn’t me. Just like SOMEONE pays for a CD before ripping it to MP3. That isn’t me, either.
    Musicians existed for millennia before the vinyl record, and they will exist for millennia after the CD. The comparative blink-of-an-eye 130-years of people leeching off those talented people for a living will historically be regarded as a inhumanely cruel curiosity.
    And for the record, I DO work retail. In the telecommunications industry, actually. I make *my* living off of selling cellular phones and plans. But I don’t consider it THEFT every time someone makes a FREE call using Skype, Google Talk, or other various free-calling services. And I certainly don’t equate it to shop-lifting.

  7. @JR
    Dispite your opinion, law is law…you can’t change that. However many people doing something illegal does not magically make it legal.

  8. @JR
    BTW…I read your post about three times now and it amazes me that someone could be so naive on a topic…what part of “illegal” don’t you understand?
    All of the analogies you use are completely ridiculous…You are just trying to make a wrong thing sound right…nice try though…

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