Copyrights where put in place to protect a persons or company’s right to a product to insure that no one else could copy or sell that product for his or her advantage. The infamous legal battle between Napster and Metallica not only changed the music industry, but also how musicians look at copyrights.
In April 2000, Metallica sued Napster for copyright infringement for letting users of their site the ability to trade copyrighted music. I like to look at this as the birth of a new age in music. With the growing of the Internet, and its strength of bandwidth it is no surprise it has the ability to change a industry. In the 2000’s we saw several musicians and bands try to combat piracy. “System of a down” even named one of their albums “Please steall this album”. Musicians and the music industry understood the way they did business was dying, and with how easy it had become to illegally down load music, and the loose laws that enforced their copyrighted material was coming under fire. But who won in the long run?
Some would say that if you like a band you will always buy the album, you want to support that band financially, so they have the ability to make new music. But on the flip side advertising is the ultimate power in a market. Wouldn’t you want your music provided to more people? Downloading music gives a person the ability to sample their music before making a decision on whether to purchase it or not. No buddy would want to purchase a car without driving it or a house without walking through it. What if you had a option to pay what you thought that album was worth?
Some look at it as the new frontier of music, and the band Radiohead took on copyrights, and illegal downloading. The simply asked “What if their new album was free”. Free how can someone make money of free? In the case of Radiohead, they ditched their record label and simply released their album online and asked for donations off their album. This gave people the choice, do I want to donate money so Radiohead can keep making music I love, or I hate this album and do not want them to keep making music. Radiohead was successful off their idea, all the money that was donated they got to keep for themselves and did not have to pay a high percentage to a record label whose sole purpose it to get people to purchase albums.
Since Radiohead many musicians/Bands have followed their footsteps. They understand the in ability of labels to protect their music in the 21st century, or stop the illegal downloading that goes on. Many bands offer a free download at time of release, or will allow fans to listen to their whole album for a weekend on social media before choosing to purchase it or not. I think this the future of music. And shows how copyrights on music where not sully intended for the musicians, but the label companies that back them. Yes people will lose jobs from this adaption to the Internet, but they will find new jobs that we want to see their resources used for. The same way the Internet changed the USPS, or cell phones changed the telephone market. In the case of donations for music it creates a perfect equilibrium for their music. People will pay only the price they want and it clears the market, musicians are happy, fans are happy. And big business, or the government cannot get involved because all are operating within the laws.