Thursday, September 29, 2011

Topic Proposal: The impact of illegal music downloading on the artist

The digitization of music has made it easy for all people to get their music online illegally which could potentially be destructive to the downloader. However, at the same time, tracking the illegal download is getting more difficult to attain. Without question, the likelihood that music will continue to be downloaded illegally will be strong if the threat of getting caught is slim. But the real issue isn’t whether music is being downloaded legally or illegally. It isn’t even if the person doing the illegal activity gets caught or not. The real problem is the harmful effects that illegal downloading of music has on the artist.

For my Business of Media final project, I am going to explore how the practice of downloading music illegal from websites negatively impacts the artist of the particular song being downloaded. I plan on giving a brief background of how music can be downloaded illegally but for the majority of the paper, I would like to focus on the artists themselves. That is, I will be researching subjects such as the amount of money an artist can lose, how the downloading affects the popularity of the artists, steps that the artist can take to prevent the illegal downloads and historical cases that have grabbed the nation’s attention.

I believe that this will be a challenging project but also a very doable and enjoyable one. I am very interested in how artists are responding to their music being downloaded off of sites such as YouTube, LimeWire and other websites that either stream or illegally download songs. There should be plenty of information on the subject, and I am hoping to use two or three artists in particular to help gain a better understanding of the subject and find out the steps that they take to prevent the illegal activity and the harmful effects that it has on them.


  1. I would be very interested in hearing more from the artist's point of view and to see what they are doing to combat or adapt to the problem. When you are picking the artists to focus on, I would make sure to diversify. What I mean is to pick an artist that is extremely popular like Lil Wayne or Eminem who have their own labels, an artist that that is also very popular but signed under one of the major labels, and an up-and-coming artist that isn't signed yet. Then compare and contrast how each artist is reacting to the issue because it is probably effecting each one differently and providing different problems and benefits.

  2. It's always interesting to look at something with a different perspective. I feel like when you look at most of the media industry, it is the people on top who are making all the money. It would also be worthwhile to see what artists think about illegal downloads/music piracy, because I know a few of them really couldn't care less. They make the majority of their money through different avenues and it would be very interesting to look at the variation of the attitudes in the industry.

  3. We've talked in class a fair deal about the ways in which the government and the industry itself are hesitant to adapt to the changes that are occurring in the music world as a result of illegal downloads, so it should be interesting to gain more insight into the artists' perspective. Check out Metallica's lawsuit against Napster for further information -- it could add an interesting twist to your research!