Admit it. You probably downloaded some MP3s that you shouldn’t have. Maybe it was from The Pirate Bay or some dark torrent site. Or maybe it was through Napster, Audio-Galaxy, Kazaa, Limewire, BearShare or any one of a hundred file-sharing sites.
It seems so quaint now, this searching, downloading, ripping, seeding, sharing, playlisting of music files. Why bother going through all this trouble when we have access to tens of millions of high-quality virus-free songs for through streaming music services?
Music piracy still exists, of course. To hear the industry tell it, stream-ripping is killing them (Not really, but it’s still an annoyance). But legal streaming has all but eliminated the file-sharing as a problem.
This brings me to an article at CollapseBoard.com which features an old-school music pirate. Here’s his story.
UK Consumers Of Illegal Online Music On The Decrease runs the headline from 18 September in M Magazine, which is published by PRS for Music Limited, the UK music copyright collective. Whatever. Personally, I’ll never know why more people don’t have supermassive music collections. You can illegally download hundreds of thousands of songs. Everybody has broadband nowadays. Plus, all it took to outfox our internet service providers was that little word “proxy”. OK, it still might take some time to find an unblocked proxy. Anyway, hard drive space is cheaper than ever!
OK, OK, I do know. You’re thinking, “What’s up, daddio? Is this 2013?” People don’t have music collections. They have subscription services, Spotify and Tidal and the like. Ha! Not Tidal, obviously. That was a joke. Anyhow, when people do have music collections, it’s more that they’re carefully curated vinyl selections, if you please — the analogue nod of the true music aficionado (say it quick and low: usually rendered pointless by digital mastering). Nobody wants some virtual, supermassive collection.
Old-time nerds tell me music used to be a rare commodity. Then came popular radio stations. Then music was in lifts, and at the end of the phone while you held, and then it was even squeezed between songs on the radio, tucked beneath the disc jockey’s banter. Milestones pushed ludicrously close together and, by the time I joined the story, music was everywhere. I had one of those cassette Walkmans. I forget I’ve long qualified as an old-timer. Arrested development is part of our glorious condition.