As a musician myself, I have no sympathy for the file-sharers and illegal downloaders who dislike paying for anything. I also have little love for the pirate distributers, such as the Pirate Bay and others who exist on the creativity of others, and who contribute nothing of value. I am not in favor of a musician or other artist's hard work resulting in profil only for the thief who illegally disseminates it.
That being said, the music industry itself has a large responsibility to bear as well. And that is the point of an interesting article today by writer Eric Bangeman in ars technica. Bangeman writes that DRM, lock-ins, and piracy: all red herrings for a music industry in trouble. In his aritcle, he covers the analysis by a British compnay of the picture for the music industry, and concludes it is not a pretty one.
It is an interesting analysis and I think Mr. Bangeman has a valid point that the record industry is largely responsible for their troubles. However, there is one point that he missed. The content being released by many record companies is simply abysmal. I have zero interst in listening to glorified disc jockeys rap about "bitches and hos" or how "pimped-out" their ride may be. And the complete lack of musical talent and originality does nothing to engage my interest. Perhaps if the record companies looked harder for talent, they might oncfe agsain engage the many music-lovers who have largely abandoned them.
In any event, read the whole thing. Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds.