Downloading music is a process whereby music files are opened on the Internet and saved for future use. This has become one of the world’s greatest online pastimes during recent years, and the popularity of downloading music continues to grow.
Ironically, however, downloading music didn’t start off in the most positive light. As a matter of fact, it was considered quite illegal, and many file-sharing technologies, such as peer-to-peer networks, provided countless music to the public free of charge and without the permission of either the artists or the music copyright owners. One famous site known for this, Napster, was incited for breaking copyright laws and told to shut down. According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), this practice was not only unlawful; it was hurting sales for the music industry—downloading music from the Internet exceeded sales of CDs and videos in some countries. Many lawsuits ensued, and yet other sites were ordered to shut down.
Several artists cried out at the practice of downloading music. They felt betrayed, since their hard-earned music was being passed along without profit and without their permission. They felt disrespected and ripped off!
Eventually, there was a solution that would keep downloading music an active pastime. Legal digital downloads became popular through iTunes in 2003, and downloading music from the Internet increased exponentially, setting new records in sales. One example of this is Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy, which landed a position at the top of the U.K. Singles Chart solely on the distribution of downloading music. Napster is back online, too.
Interestingly enough, many of the artists themselves got in on the online game of downloading music, and now lots of their music is available on their personal and commercial sites. These downloads, however, are either brief previews or low-quality sampling—enough for the artists to market their music to those who prefer downloading music, and also to make money online as well as through music outlets!
Downloading music, then, has been a rather shaky ordeal for many, but due to compromise and innovative technological advances, this practice is fortunate enough to continue for some time to come!