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Whaddyareckon?: Downloading music

In this week's Whaddyareckon? we're asking the tricky questions about MP3s and morals. Is downloading through file-sharing services stealing, or is it a way to discover new artists whose music you might later purchase?

The Internet and the music industry: they've always had a complex relationship, but separate events in the last few weeks have served to highlight the effect of digital downloads on artists, regulatory bodies and consumers.

On October 4 an American woman was ordered to pay US$220,000 to six music labels after being found guilty of making 24 MP3s available for download via peer-to-peer app Kazaa.

This week Radiohead released their latest album via download only. We've seen this approach before, but this time there's a twist: fans can choose how much to pay for the title by entering numbers into a text field on the online order form. Anyone wishing to pay zero dollars and zero cents is welcome to, which ties up the whole venture with issues of personal morals, ethics and the notion of value. Just what you might expect from such a cerebral band, but will they make any money?

In this week's Whaddyareckon? we're asking about MP3s and morals. Is downloading through file-sharing services stealing, or is it a way to discover new artists whose music you might later purchase? We pose the tricky questions to the punters.

This Whaddyareckon? topic was suggested on the CNET.com.au forums by pablo_honey (which is also the name of a Radiohead album, incidentally). If you have an idea for a topic, post on our forums or join our Facebook group.

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