But wait. The record companies already *do* let you sample music before buying. You can usually play a snippet on Amazon.com. And you can play snippets on the record label sites, too. You usually don't get the whole song, and you can't download the file, but you still get to sample the music. That's very much like the software shareware model, where the trial version is either handicapped in some way or expires after a set period of time. Either way, before you buy, you don't get to use the sample the same way you would after you pay for it. Why should you?
What is the RIAA complaining about — we're marketing new artists for them! A lot more people are hearing the music of new artists than would be if file sharing didn't exist. File sharing helps spread the word about musicians who otherwise wouldn't get the recognition. And, as stated above, that will translate into more sales.
Good point. The industry may well be cutting off its nose to spite its face. Freely distributed music can indeed help advertise a new artist. We all know how quickly information spreads on the Internet. But if the record company doesn't want your help, even if you're right, it doesn't have to accept it. You don't get to decide how to market their "commodities." Sorry.
The RIAA is stuck in an old business model where they can sell a bunch of crappy songs on a CD with two or three good songs. File sharing allows users to get only the songs they want, rather than paying for a bunch of songs they don't want just to get one or two that they do want.
Horsepucky. File sharing may allow you to pick and choose among songs, but you're still NOT PAYING FOR THEM. Go sign up for one of the new e-music services, would you? Besides, this argument directly contradicts the one saying that file sharers actually buy *more CDs* after listening to a few tracks they downloaded. So which is it? Do you just want the individual tracks that you like? Or do you want to try out a few tracks so you can buy the whole CD? You can't have it both ways.
The RIAA is a trade group that supports record companies, who themselves represent a monopoly that exploits musicians: it coerces them into signing bad contracts and then rips them off. At Alas, A Blog, Ampersand wrote that the RIAA lacks "moral credibility" to complain, and that even though stealing is wrong, "it's hard to muster much sympathy for a burglar whose pockets have been picked."
You may find the RIAA to be unsympathetic, but does someone's likability really affect their legal status? You don't have to like the RIAA, but you have to admit that copyright law is on their side, no matter what strong-arm tactics they might have used to get their hands on the copyrights. In this case, as unlikeable as the RIAA is, they'll win.