Ahhh the age of file sharing, we now live in a time where people, illegal though it may be, can own music completely free of charge, and this is a great thing, isn't it? Well yes, it is, if you're the consumer, who doesn't want free stuff? The problem here is that we must also consider the artist as well as ourselves.
Now its very easy to say that if an artist truly cares about music and their fans then giving their material away for free should be no problem right? We must remember, however, that music is a product and like every other product there are costs involved in producing it. Then theres the fact that many artists rely on the music they make to make them a living and put food on their table.
Now the obvious rebuttle here is that bands such as U2 and Radiohead, for example, make millions from their tours, this is true. For bands like this who sell out stadiums and who made much of their money way back when we were all still buying tapes, it's easy to give music away extremely cheapley, as Radiohead did with their last album, or even for free.
The artists that must be considered here are the smaller artists, those who are breaking through, or at least trying to. If people are not prepared to pay for their music how are these artists supposed to a) Live and b) Progress?
The point here is that if an artist is offering their music for free than thats great but if music is, in essence, being stolen from smaller artists what does this do for the future of music?. If a shopkeeper allowed people to take everything from his store for no charge how would that person make a living? The premise here is the same. So next time your downloading a song from a file sharing program think whether or not you'd rather pay for that song so the artist can keep on making the music you love!