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Illegally downloading music takes toll on economy

by Amanda Hills
That new song on the radio. That obscure rap nobody has heard of before. That Hannah Montana tween-pop album you are embarrassed to admit you listen to.
They’re all on your iPod. One way or another, your iPod has become home to hundreds, maybe thousands of songs that you, at one point or another enjoyed listening to.
Let’s back up to the first time you heard said song and decided you wanted to have it on your iPod. Did you buy it on iTunes, or turn to an illegal music downloading site?
I’m willing to bet that an overwhelming majority would lay claim to the latter.
Illegally downloading music obstructs musicians and recording companies from the potential profit they could earn every time their song or album is purchased on iTunes.
According to music news discussion forum Side-Line, an artist earns 12 percent of the profit per download. That is not much for each song downloaded, but when millions of people are pirating music, that is a lot of money.
You might think that today’s musicians are wealthy enough as is and do not need the extra gain from our iTunes purchases. But what about all the people behind the scenes? The producers, songwriters, technicians and marketing specialists?
You aren’t just hurting the artist, but all the people who put the song  together.
The Recording Industry Association of America cites pirating as a growing problem. Its website says, “Without any compensation to all the people who helped to create that song and bring it to fans, the loss is devastating.”
A recent study by the Institute for Policy Innovation estimates $12.5 billion in losses to the U.S. economy annually that can be credited to media pirating.
Pirating has punched our economy in the stomach. It has hit it hard and fast. The RIAA has produced staggering statistics. Between 2004 and 2010, there was a 31 percent decline in the global digital music market. In 2009, only 37 percent of the music acquired by people in the United States was actually paid for.
And, most shocking of all, while seven percent of the Internet’s traffic can be attributed to music downloads, 91 percent of the links people use for those downloads are for copyrighted material, making those purchases illegal.
Next time, before you convert your YouTube link into an mp3 or download from a free website, think of all of the people who worked to bring you that song and who are now being hurt by that one click.
Maybe that one purchase does not create a huge loss, but the decision you and millions of others are consciously making to ignore the iTunes icon on your MacBook’s desktop does.
If we take collective action and all decide to at least lessen our illegal music purchases, we can begin to dissolve the growing problem of pirating.
Stop hurting our recording industry––spend the 99 cents on iTunes the next time you want to purchase a song.

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