At the last time that I checked, before the editors decided they did not want more than one writeup in this node (10-19-00) the sum total listed on this node and the CDs that I've purchased because of Napster node came to 80 CDs. That's about $1320 at today's prices. And this is just from the small number of people who have passed through this one point on this site. So does anyone really think the amount of money gained by the RIAA from mp3 fallout is insignifigant..?
It is claimed by some that mp3 is not actually harming the profits of record companies, because the people running 800 GB mp3/warez servers would not actually be buying anything anyway, and because many people actually buy more music because of mp3. While i cannot say if the damages to the music companies' mighty god Mammon outweigh the advantages to it, i do know that at least some people do buy more music because of mp3. Following is my proof.

Following is a list of CDs which i have purchased as a direct result of being able to listen to entire tracks on mp3 before i purchased the album. The list contains albums which i listened to parts of to make sure that i liked it (and, because i am very careful about what i buy, would probably have not have bought without being able to do this) and albums which were brought to my attention by coming across or being given an mp3. At least two recordings on the list are works by an artist i was familiar with, but was not aware the work in question existed until i found the mp3. In all cases, had it not been for the global illicit mp3 distribution architecture, these albums very much more than likely would not have been bought.

I have been very conservative in adding things to this list-- if i was willing to be flexible in how i defined "direct", i could make this list much longer.

Also besides this list, there are a countless number of albums i purchased because i was able to listen to 30-to-90-second clips of songs on CDNow, MusicBlvd and fan sites. There are also a countless number of albums i did not purchase because a 30-to-90-second clip does not really tell you enough-- sometimes you just need to hear entire songs. There have been times i've listened to the samples, the samples didn't do it for me, and later i listened to the full song somewhere and loved it.

Anyway, here it is:

And then a couple albums that you should take special notice of, because they were special and different:
  • Fluke- Risotto
  • Fluke- Oto
  • The Chemical Brothers- Brothers Gonna Work it Out
      What's different about these three? Well, first off, it wasn't mp3, it was realaudio. And second off, the realaudio in question was downloaded legally directly from the record label, Astralwerks. As far as i know, Astralwerks is the only major label that "gets it" as far as mp3 is concerned. Astralwerks was distributing large-scale portions of their music years before mp3 was developed. Not tiny little snippets-- entire songs, regularly more than half of the album. They didn't give you all of it, but they gave you enough to know whether you wanted more. Astralwerks understands; Astralwerks figured out how to make mp3 work for them, as a tool, not something that should be blindly fought, before there was even an mp3. As far as i can tell, almost no one else has figured it out yet.

      I came across Fluke's site on astralwerks, knowing nothing more about them than that i had seen a wierd-ass music video in the middle of the night that i couldn't remember very clearly; the site had put up about half of Risotto, a single for Atom Bomb (i would own this single except i can't find it-- i've been looking for years, and to this day i have been unable to locate a copy. And finding the albums wasn't easy.) This was, essentially, my initiation into techno-- the website introduced me to fluke, fluke introduced me to techno, and fluke blew my mind and completely reshaped the way i looked at music for the rest of my life. If you're willing to count indirect action, then online music distribution of full songs, via fluke via realaudio, is pretty much responsible for all the techno music I've bought since i was about twelve. Which comes to something very well over a hundred CDs.

If you're counting only direct results, well, there's the list above, which comes to 13 (now 17) CDs and i'm sure it is going to grow. That's something like $230 for the record industry. That isn't that much in terms of all the CDs i have, although these are all CDs i enjoyed and appreciated greatly, and thus CDs i recommended to other people. It's almost nothing, relatively, in the end in terms of profits for the record companies, although i would not be surprised to find out there are enough people like me to more than offset all the cheapskates who get all their music off napster.

The mp3s i have that are not for the purpose of facilitating or rejecting a purchase are almost entirely things which are so obscure that purchase is unrealistic or outright impossible. Assuming i support the artists involved through what means are available to me, does anyone really think i am doing something "wrong" by downloading a single song available only on the Japanese version of an album i already own, or by possessing these six dj shadow mp3s i have here which, despite my efforts to locate any legal way to buy them, appear to be not available anywhere, or the entire MASK series (as opposed to the only method of obtaining it legally, which is getting it for $300 on eBay..) ?

It is maybe not a good idea for me to openly almost-admit to intellectual property theft on a public forum, but i'm not much worried. If the record companies are upset with the methods i use to decide whether i wish to buy an album, i would be happy to return the albums listed above, and refrain from buying any more in future.

I could maybe make some convoluted fair use-based arguments and claim what i am doing is legal. I doubt it is, and i don't care. The one thing i care about is this: Can anyone look at the above node and honestly claim what i am doing is immoral?

Whether or not artists do lose in the end from mp3, i sincerely doubt i and the others who have posted here are the only people out there who use mp3s this way.

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