For years Grooveshark has been providing users with music – illegally – and now after many lawsuits and charges the site was shut down.
While fans are upset about the demise of the site, many musicians are thrilled by the news. Illegal music downloads changed the game when they started to gain popularity over a decade ago. All of a sudden fans could get music for free and music sales started to decline.
Many celebrity musicians have spoken out on the issue and expressed how the illegal download of music affects them. Surprisingly not everyone is against the practice.
Shakira is one of the most open stars when it comes to illegal downloads.
“I like what’s going on because I feel closer to the fans and the people who appreciate the music. It’s the democratization of music in a way. And music is a gift. That’s what it should be, a gift.
Lady Gaga looks at it from a business standpoint and isn’t too concerned about the money she’s losing from illegal downloads.
“You know how much you can earn off touring, right? Big artists can make anywhere from $50 million for one cycle of two years touring. Giant artists make upwards of $100 million. Make music – then tour. It’s just the way it is today.”
Neil Young just sees it as an evolution of the industry.
“Piracy is the new radio,” he told The Wall Street Journal
. “That’s how music gets around. That’s the real world for kids.”
Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher takes it as compliment.
“Downloading’s the same as what I used to do – I used to take the charts of the songs I liked [off the radio]. I don’t mind it,” he said. “I hate all these big, silly rock stars who moan – at least they’re f*cking downloading your music…and paying attention, know what I mean? You should f*cking appreciate that – what are you moaning about?”
Joss Stone encourages her fans to download her music.
“I think it’s great. I love it. I think it’s brilliant, and I’ll tell you why. Music should be shared. I believe that this is how music turned into, like, some crazy business. Now, the only part about music that I dislike is the business that is attached to it. Now, if music is free, then there is no business. There is just music.”
Of course, not everyone is okay with the illegal practice. Metallica took a similar site, Napster, to court over copyright infringement and won.
“It is sickening to know that our art is being traded like a commodity rather than the art that it is,” said Lars Ulrich, the band’s drummer.
50 Cent, ever the businessman, thinks laws just need to evolve.
“I don’t think the music business is dying. I think we’re just experiencing technology and we just have to pass new laws, eventually, to change how music is being distributed. There’s no lack of interest in great material, I don’t see people not going to the nightclub or enjoying themselves when the song comes on. It’s just about re-developing what the music business is. It’s easier to download a song that’s three minutes long, probably about three or four seconds for you to download it, it’s easier to steal.”
Lily Allen wrote about how she is against downloading music on her blog and faced so much backlash that she had to shut it down.
“I think music piracy is having a dangerous effect on British music, but some really rich and successful artists like Nick Mason from Pink Floyd and Ed O’Brien from Radiohead don’t seem to think so…The Featured Artists Coalition [FAC] also says file sharing’s fine because it ‘means a new generation of fans for us.’ This is great if you’re a big artist at the back end of your career with loads of albums to flog to a new audience, but emerging artists don’t have this luxury.”
Eminem thinks that allowing fans to download music could defeat the point of making music in the first place.
“I’m sorry; when I worked 9-to-5, I expected to get a paycheck every week,” Eminem wrote. “It’s the same with music; if I’m putting my heart and all my time into music, I expect to get rewarded for that. I work hard and anybody can just throw a computer up and download my music for free. It could kill the whole purpose of making music.”
One of the most legendary singers in the business, Elton John, wrote a letter to the pro-download Featured Artists Coalition saying: “I am of the view that the unchecked proliferation of illegal downloading (even on a “non-commercial” basis) will have a seriously detrimental effect on musicians, and particularly young musicians and those composers who are not performing artists.”