Intro. to Mass Communication Blog 5: In a World Where Everyone Pirated Music…..

What if everyone pirated music instead of paying for it? Kant’s Categorical Imperitive asks what would the result be if everyone took the same action as you were considering. Many people do pirate music already but what would the state of the music industry be if no one paid for downloads or CDS? What would happen to the musicians would they all be “Starving artists” or would they still be able to live on their other sources of income?

In a world where everyone pirated music, the music industry and the record labels would be in shambles, or at least if they continued using the business model they use now. The bands would still get some money from concert ticket sales and merchandise, but the record labels get most of their money off record sales but without record sales, where would they get their money? The record industry is also responsible for recording music so in a world without the record labels how would the artists record their songs? The artists would probably have to either record it themselves, which is not that difficult with inexpensive computer hardware and software. The other option is to hire an independent producer to arrange recording their music because the record labels would most likely not be in business having lost their primary source of income.
On a larger scale, this could also lead to the unemployment of thousands of people in the record industry because without the sale of music whether it be physical CDs, for the rare people who still purchase their music that way, or digital purchases through online music stores such as iTunes and Amazon MP3. Thousands of jobs would no longer able to be supported because the record industry would more or less crumble without the sales of music and would remove the need for many jobs. This would not only be devastating to the music industry, but would also hurt the entire economy because the loss of a large industry like the record industry, the economy would be in bad shape due to the loss of a major industry and all the jobs that go down with it.
Bands would still earn some revenue through concerts and the sale of merchandise, so they wouldn’t be completely in financial trouble. However, if they aren’t receiving money from record sales they also loose the quantitative data of how people are responding to their music by being able to see which songs and albums are being bought the most and by which demographics. This leaves the artists in a way decentivized to make news music because they aren’t directly receiving money from sales and they don’t even know how many people are buying their music and which songs are the most popular. There have been efforts to track pirated downloads to gather information, but, it is very difficult because there are so many sources of illegal downloads and hard to keep good numbers of all the downloads.
This is not meant to paint a picture of a post-apocalyptic world where there will be no music but, without record sales, there is little motivation for the musicians to make music beside the love of it, which is enough for some, but many artists want to make a living, and a good one at that off their music. If you really think about it, $1 per song isn’t that much and is all the artists ask of us to support them and keep the music alive.


  1. Mary Bock says:

    Hi Mike — nice work. I like the way you used one ethical system and analyzed the situation in depth. You might have taken the argument a little bit far…some of this feels like a bit of hyperbole…but that is, in a sense, what Kant asks us to do. Well done.

  2. you have done a great work ………. its really important for us.
    So please keep sharing ………

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