I had a reader comment that he thought my post regarding the potential collapse of the music industry was really just an attempt to justify illegally downloading music. Unfortunatley, I accidentally deleted the comment... but I wanted to respond.
I was not attempting to justify illegal file-sharing. Most of the songs I download are songs for which I own the cd or tape, but do not have the cd or tape with me at school. I think this type of use is justified by "fair use" rules. Otherwise, I purchase the cd in a store or from iTunes, buymusic.com, rhapsody, or another online music source.
The intent of my comments regarding file-sharing was to point out that illegal file-sharing is not what is killing the music industry. If you look at the revenue of cd sales for the entire industry in the period 1995-2003 you will notice that revenue has increased every year until cerca 2000-2001, at which point it basically holds steady.
It is not a coincidence that this leveling-off corresponds with the world-wide economic recession. Sure, these numbers might be higher without file-sharing; but the music industry does not have the evidence to even suggest that online file-sharing is the cause of their woes.
I would propose, instead, that the music industry's problem is that it produces a product which is only appealing to a tiny portion of their possible market. Essentially, the 14-25 year-old segment of the market is the only one interested in the majority of new commercial music.
The music industry is dying because it has alienated its customers. The rest of us are sick of teeny-bopper teen-idol crap. We want music with depth, and we want innovation! If the music industry does not step up to the plate and begin offering a product to those with even a slightly sophisticated palate, then the music industry as we know it may be seeing its last days.