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This is such a convoluted way of shifting the blame from ourselves and our own actions. Corporations are to blame for some horrific things, but in this case, it’s a mass case of people taking the easy road and having no qualms with it.
What I was trying to get across was not so much “it’s the corporations fault that people are stealing” but more “nobody has any money left to buy music”.
Obviously it is not as cut and dry as that, but I honestly believe that if we’re going to be paying so much for internet access at home and on our phones/tablets (I think it would be safe to say that anyone with internet access at home and on the go is paying at least $100 per month), then maybe a portion of the billions of dollars in profits these companies make should be going to the creators of the content that is being consumed for ‘free’. It might not be easy to fairly divvy up the money, but then again, it seems our online activity is pretty well kept track of. Imagine if, for example, a site like Bandcamp was designated a certain amount of the worlds internet providers profits to incorporate a ‘pay per play’ model for all the tracks that just get streamed on their site.
Or, imagine if we paid less for internet access. A quick google search shows that AT&T’s revenue for the first quarter of 2012 was $31.8 billion. It seems like they’re doing good enough to charge a little less. I’d be willing to bet that if everybody started paying 25-50% less for their internet access we would see a spike in music sales (or at the very least, a spike in Spotify subscriptions).
Or, imagine if a Spotify subscription (and a Netflix subscription while we’re dreaming) was included in the cost of what we currently pay for internet access. I think that would help a fair bit in making streaming a more realistic income source.
People often point to the 90’s as the golden era of music buying, but the fact that we all had about an extra $100 in our pockets each month ($1200 a year) seems to be skimmed over a bit. And maybe I am misremembering the cost of living in the 90’s (I was under 18 for all of it), but it seems like everything else we spend our money on (food, gas, utilities, etc.) is more or less the equivalent to what we used to spend in comparison to wages (although, I would bet that we’re paying more for those too).
So, is it morally wrong to not pay for things? Yes. Are people doing it strictly because they’re immoral? I’d say no. A poor man is going to steal bread (but at least in that bread stealing scenario, there isn’t a third party making a nice little profit).