Ripping music hurts independent bands

I love having the physical copy of a musician’s album. Downloading the record from iTunes just doesn’t do it for me. But it seems like I’m the last person left who buys CDs.

Listeners who rip the audio from a YouTube video or download songs for free on other sites rather than purchasing the album itself have negatively impacted the industry. As a result, musicians are profiting less from album sales than they did in the past (unless you’re Adele).

This really hit me when a band I used to listen to started using a Kickstarter, which helps them raise money through donations from fans. Eventually, those donations will be used to record and release their upcoming album.

At first I was caught off guard and thought their plea was pathetic, but after thinking about their situation, I realized that it is a logical thing to do as an indie band. They can’t afford to record, produce and release an album, so why not ask their fans to help them in their efforts to make new music? Those who donate will probably buy the album anyway.

Times are tough and indie bands have realized they need to be creative. Another indie band, Honor Society, recently released their third album independently. Before they released the record, they started a system where they would release a new song every week to give their fans a glimpse of what was going on in the recording studio. These downloads were completely free.

Most musicians have accepted the fact that most of their fans are going to download their music illegally. Because of this, they’re trying to mix things up and reach their fans in different ways, like Honor Society’s free downloads.

Just because albums are available for free online doesn’t mean you shouldn’t support your favorite bands. Releasing an album and touring the globe is extremely expensive and musicians rely on the profit from album sales to fund those ventures.

Reward their hard work by spending $10 on an album.