Listening to music is one of many hobbies that people all over the world prefer as a way of relaxation as well as entertainment. As such, plenty of people purchase and sometimes borrow music in digital files from their friends. However, with numerous advances in modern telecommunication technology, many people are turning to downloading music online, a practice akin to a new trend called music piracy. Music piracy is the illegal distribution and reproduction of sound recordings. Being fuelled by causes such as hard economic times, music downloading is negatively affecting the music industry.


Music Piracy: Causes and Effects

While still recovering from the recent global economic crisis, many consumers have had to cut spending costs on various products. These harsh economic conditions have led many people to download music from the internet considering that music can be downloaded for free. People want to save as much money as they can only for necessary products. It implies that no money is left for entertainment spending; therefore, music is downloaded online. Moreover, this is worsened by high consumer demand for cultural products, along with the youth, who do not have much disposable income, being the major illegal online music downloaders.

Introduction and development of the internet, supported by the advent of broadband, is another major cause that has fuelled online music downloads. It is the case because sharing of music files has been made a lot easier for everyone who needs free files. It is compounded by the fact that many governments have been unable to deal with music piracy, highlighted by weak enforcement of rights as well as inefficient protection of intellectual property (Proserpio, Salvemini & Ghiringhelli, 2005). However, the situation is more complex because the jails would be full of petty offenders found guilty for music downloading, culminating into social nightmares for the government.

Much research has been done on the effects of piracy on the music industry, with some findings indicating statistically insignificant results while others show more significant results. One major effect of music downloading is the loss of profits for many businesses and the government’s loss of tax revenues (Chih-Chien, 2005). The loss of profits is perpetuated when buyers do not spend money on purchasing legitimate music since they are busy illegally downloading music they desire.

The music industry is represented by production of music by singers and bands and, most importantly, marketing of music through successful sales and distribution of music to consumers. It requires varied personnel from songwriters, music engineers, and technicians, as well as producers who have to be paid for their efforts in the music production process. As such, decreased profits lead to significant job losses and layoffs for many of these workers, subsequently derailing investments in the music industry.


Many people have turned to illegal music downloading due to various factors especially harsh economic conditions, that are compounded by high consumer demand for cultural products, leading to a strong preference for free pirated music. Moreover, the internet, supported by the advent of broadband, as well as the weak enforcement of rights and inefficient protection of intellectual property, has also fuelled the vice. Essentially, this has led to a number of negative effects on the music industry where the government and various businesses have lost tax revenues and profits respectively. Consequently, many music industry workers have lost their jobs leading to low investments and an anticipated collapse of the music industry.

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