At any given time, there are probably ten million people online, looking for downloads. Of course ninety percent of these folks could be seeking solace in pornography, or looking for free software but still, reaching a minimum of a million people on any given day does offer some rather intriguing possibilities. And considering the growth of the Net worldwide, and the rapid rise of broadband, those numbers will continue to grow, no matter what the RIAA thinks or how intimidating their tactics.
Why Do They Do It?
People like using file services to discover and download music for two simple reasons, they're free, and there is an incredible selection.
It costs the listener nothing, and their choices are entirely their own, not programmed by a faceless corporate entity whose only mission is profit. For the first time ever, people have access to literally unlimited musical choices.
Let's face it, Pandora's Box has been opened. In Napster's wake, other quasi-legal services quickly emerged. Lots of them. And even if they're sued and closed, others will succeed them.
Using the US courts, and enough legal grease, the establishment can eventually quash any website or entity in the US.
But the Net is a global medium. Not every country on this planet carries out the wishes of Uncle Sam, although with George W. Bush as President, they better be good. Hence the popularity of gambling on the Net, which is based entirely offshore.
Although major record companies would like to think otherwise, all the kings horses and all the king's men aren't going to be able to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. Net users are file sharers and like creating mix CDs. Thirty years ago, long before the Net, people made cassette tapes of their favorite music for their friends, and mix tapes for themselves. Now, they've got CD burners, so it's much easier. Why stop? It's fun.
Individual Artists Need Not Worry
If you distribute your own music or videos via P2P networks, using the media you create and own, there are no legal implications. You and your potential audience are just sharing files over the Net. Nothing wrong with that, legally, morally, whatever way you slice it.
With their battle against Napster and other so-called "pirate" sites, the labels and their legal eagles have succeeded in camouflaging what's really happening with digital music and the Net. They're so uptight about their "rights" and the fear of losing their grip on the music "industry," that they have successfully obfuscated the potential of a dynamic new medium.
For the first time ever, people all over the planet can share music, almost instantaneously. Users can either search for something they already know, or explore new music, free of charge. This represents a great opportunity for artists who can successfully utilize this innovative avenue of marketing and distribution.
Emerging artists, in particular, who have their music downloaded and shared by other listeners using file sharing, can take advantage of a unique vehicle to build an audience. For new artists, the challenge has always been, how can I reach an audience that will appreciate my music?
Enter The Net
Because of the unlimited selection, and easy access to information and previews, more and more people are using the Net as the prime source for their music.
And these people aren't in search of boy bands or sexy icons. They're looking for something different, content totally different than what's available on cable television or radio or that lame CD store in the mall.
The person who surfs the Web has an inquiring mind. The Web user is not a couch potato, sitting at home with a beer in one hand and a clicker in the other, watching the Speed Channel. Net users are empowered by technology, not subservient to it.
Reaching The Captive Audience