The Downloading community

With internet speeds increasing and the availability of the internet reaching further than ever before, downloading legally and illegally is much more common.

Here I will attempt to highlight how the history of illegal downloading has not ruined the industry but help improve the quality provided to their customers and stabilise their business.
The future does depend on how the community will continue to use online services in future though.

I think there are 3 categories of people:

It’s there to be taken:
The type of people that see the “Take one, leave one” as an option to just “Take one”.
This is the general attitude of many people unfortunately with them expecting everything for free. They never buy a CD or DVD as they can download them for free from some pirate site.
This does damage the industry as no money is being pumped in to produce the next film or album.
If the whole community did this then the music, film, book and game industry would dry up and nothing new would ever come out.

I will never look at anything illegal:
The morally focused person who will never listen, watch or play anything that has not been legally purchased.
As this is a nice attitude to have it does limit your options on what you purchase as no-one is rich enough to buy everything available to see what you actually enjoy. They are controlled by marketing which is the only way they can decide what to spend their money on. If a bad film comes out but has millions in its marketing budget, you are likely to still buy it leaving the global companies in control no matter how poor the film or track was.

Only buy what I like:
Those who love music, films, games, books and will buy the items they enjoy.
These people may download new films or games from less than legal sources for free, but when they come across something that is great, they will put their hands in their pockets.
They are immune from over marketed projects that are useless as they get to try before they buy giving the smaller film companies, bands, authors more chance for success. These people will see 10 times more films than those that only purchase legally therefore when they buy a film, it is a good one. Money still goes into the industry but only where it is deserved.

So let’s look at the major industries that are currently being affected.

Music industry:
This was the first market hit hard by illegal downloading. The file sizes for a track are small so with the internet speeds available 10 years ago, it was possible to download a whole album in a reasonable timeframe.
The music industry was bloated with management that took advantage of artists and bands paying them a very small amount of the revenue brought in from album sales while experiencing record profits. At the time there were no other options to get your music listened to as the manufacturing costs and distribution was too much for anyone else to provide themselves.
Now it’s a download. Costs should now be reduced.
A new band that is not signed can create their music and sell it to the world with a small amount of money. The hosting of the music files are even provided by the Apple iStore for example so they now have the support and access to potential customers they didn’t have previously.

As the music industry was the first hit, they are also the first to respond to a solution.
Subscription model and easy purchasing. I personally now use Spotify as it allow me to listen to any music as much as I want for the one monthly cost. The amount of money the artist gets has had some negative press though as they don’t get as much as from a track sale. I personally think this isn’t a problem though as over the years people will still listen to those tracks and they will still get paid instead of just the once when the album is released. This will also mean that new artists won’t be showered with money all at once, get an expensive drug habit and then be broke. They will have a steady income stream over many years allowing them not to go crazy with the cash and hopefully keep their feet on the ground and make better records.
If you want to buy a track it is now just one click and you have it on your phone ready to go. No more trips down the high street to see if they have the album you want, it’s all available at your finger tips.
If illegal downloading wasn’t a problem, I don’t think these options would ever be available to us at such a good price. The music industry would have never agreed to it otherwise.

Film industry:
This was the next market to get hit once broadband really took off.
These are the companies that really try to catch you downloading and fine you heavily if successful.
I can’t see the cinema industry being hit that hard as those people who want to see a movie when it comes out will still go. The quality from a download of a film just released is very poor and those that can afford to go to the cinema will do just that.
This industry is now catching up with the music modal and offering subscription based movies with the likes of NetFlix and YouTube offering these services. Also with the one click pay option on many devices they are moving fast to avoid losing out.

Games Industry:
The cost of making a game is large but most games are now moving into online gaming which requires an activated account. There is no way around that (unless you hack into their server) so this covers their payment model.
The stand alone games seem to always get cracked for free use, but it is a constant battle avoiding the checks these games companies do so most of the time it is not worth the hassle. Plus the cost of a game for the months of entertainment you get is a good value anyway so I have no problem in paying for them.

Book Industry:
As e-readers are now becoming more popular with the likes of the Kindle and iPad, downloading books is only just starting to becoming a problem. Before it was pointless unless you wanted to only read staring at your computer screen.
Luckily the industry has moved very fast with these new devices and you also have the one click payment to get that book instantly.
Still many people prefer to read an actual book instead of a digital one. Book shops are still going out of business but I think that is more due to Amazon offering books allot cheaper. They don’t have the same overheads, and it’s allot quicker to find a book online instead of in a store.

So in short I see no problem with downloading as long as you are still spending money on the items you like in the industry.

P.s. I do not indorse downloading anything! legal or not legal – that should stop the lawsuits 🙂

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