What comes easy isn’t always right
These days, it’s hard to find someone who still listens to music on a CD or record; most people have some sort of electronic device they use to play MP3s. But where is all this digital music coming from? And how is it impacting the music industry? tbjkids sat down with four Year 10 students from Dulwich College Beijing to discuss the pros and cons of the digital music age.
Pia Holdsworth is a 14-year-old from England and listens to all kinds of music (except hard rock!) on her iPod.
English/Scottish Will Mitchell is 15 years old and likes listening to jazz while studying.
Darren Tang from Singapore is 14 years old and uses his Nokia phone to listen to pop and punk.
German Katharina Müstermann is 15 years old and likes to play Rihanna and Pink on her mobile phone.
How do you feel about downloading music?
Katharina: It’s kind of bad for the artists, but better for the listeners.
Darren: It should be illegal, but the problem with China is that they don’t enforce it as much as other countries. People here tend to take it for granted that we can do it without getting caught. But it is taking away from artists’ profits.
Pia: If there was an easier alternative, we wouldn’t share as much. In the ideal world, we all know that we shouldn’t.
Katharina: For kids like us, we can’t afford to buy a lot of CDs, so we just end up sharing them.
Is downloading music the same as stealing music?
Will: Technically, it is. But because you’re not taking something that’s tangible, it doesn’t feel like it.
Darren: There have been many cases of people going to jail for downloading music. You wouldn’t take a CD out of a store but downloading music is basically the same thing.
Katharina: They should make CDs cheaper. I used to get 20 euros allowance per month, so if I spent that money on a CD, I would only have five euros left, and you couldn’t really buy anything with that.
Will: Even if you go out and buy a CD in China, it is still a fake, so it’s just as bad as downloading. You can’t win.
What do you think about people going to jail for downloading music?
Darren: I don’t think it’s actually put a stop to it. It’s hard to imagine yourself going to jail for it.
Katharina: I think they should catch the people who run the websites.
Darren: But the problem is that it’s a peer-to-peer thing – I have the file, the program doesn’t store anything. So websites aren’t violating any rights, it’s just a sharing program.
Pia: It’s so easy. There are so many sites out there.
Are there any positive aspects to downloading music?
Darren: If people can listen to songs they’re interested in first, they’d feel better about buying the whole album.
Katharina: Plus, you don’t have to do all the work of buying a CD and loading it onto the computer.
Darren: There are unsigned bands that promote their music freely so they can get better-known, and that’s one of the good parts of downloading.