Burning a hole in the industry

Our generation has evolved into some strange species that has grown little white cords protruding from the ears, or so it would appear, but the invention of the iPod has also changed a great deal of our outlook in life. With the possibility of being able to carry up to 20,000 songs in your pocket, the idea of what is convenient has drastically changed. And this leads us to one of life’s most puzzling questions: with that much storage, how in the world do you fill it?

The way I see it, there are only two ways to go about filling an iPod: you either go completely nuts and spend your entire college fund on songs, or you steal them.

I know “steal” may be a little harsh of a word, but let me define it for you. Option two encompasses burning CDs from friends, downloading music illegally, ripping songs off of Napster without paying, and any other related activity in which you acquire songs without paying for them. In a word: stealing.

We’ve all been taught that stealing is wrong, but somehow it doesn’t seem that bad any more. It’s so easy to take music these days that we don’t even think about it. Back in the days of record players, the only way to “burn” a song was to take a match to it. But now burning music is as easy as sticking a CD in your computer and clicking a button.

But I suppose “burning music” isn’t quite the right term; it’s stealing. Perhaps if we called it what it was, then it wouldn’t seem so excusable anymore. If we said “Hey, I just got this awesome CD, want to steal the songs from it?” or “I stole a bunch of songs from this website the other day” then it wouldn’t be as socially acceptable.

Or maybe people just don’t care one way or another. As a college student with limited funds, I understand why people do it. In fact, I’ve often felt tempted to steal songs myself. But why don’t I?

Because stealing music from bands is like stealing a beautiful piece of art from a painter, a statue from a sculptor, or walking into a store and stealing a CD off the shelf. If someone spends their creativity making a song, their time on recording it, and their life promoting it, what right do I have to simply steal that away without paying them a dime? I don’t have any right to do that at all.

There are so many alternatives to just straight up taking the music, so there’s no excuse. Many bands post a couple of songs on websites like purevolume.com or myspace.com for free. Also, I’ve found a couple of websites online for songs as cheap as fifteen cents each. Is that so much to ask?

I know that burning music won’t stop because of one little column, but all I ask is that you think about what you’re doing. And please, stop burning a hole in the industry.

Kendra Moll is a sophomore majoring in psychology and religious studies. She recently gave in to conformity and got an iPod. She may be reached at k.moll@umiami.edu.