We will pay for music if you leave us alone

Don Reisinger thinks most people will pay for music if they're given the courtesy of being trusted. Is he right?

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
3 min read

Ever since I interviewed the RIAA and wrote a column detailing the true nature of that horrible organization, I've kept myself abreast of all the news that shapes our understanding of piracy and anything that surrounds it.

And after reading an article in ArsTechnica earlier today where it cites a survey, which suggests that "people aged 14 to 24 still love their music and are willing to pay for it--but only on their own terms," I was excited to see what would happen next.

According to the survey by British Music Rights -- an organization that represents the music industry -- 80 percent of P2P users said they would gladly pay for a file-sharing service that allows them to download DRM-free songs as often as they'd like for a flat rate per month.

And although you may have expected British Music Rights to condemn the results of this study as more proof that we're living in a world of foolhardy pirates, the organization was actually quite happy with the outcome.

"The music industry should draw great optimism from this groundbreaking survey," said Feargal Sharkey, head of BMR. "First and foremost, it is quite clear that this young and tech-savvy demographic is as crazy about and engaged with music as any previous generation. Contrary to popular belief, they are also prepared to pay for it, too. But only if offered the services they want."

Is it really possible that someone on the other side of the fence has finally seen the writing on the wall and realized that we're more than happy to pay for music and give artists the money they deserve as long as we're treated with the same respect?

I simply can't believe it took this long for these dolts to figure it out.

As I've said numerous times before, the vast majority if people who pirate music or movies really don't do it for the sheer act of stealing, but do so because the current offerings available to them simply don't offer what they're looking for.

Try as they might, organizations that represent the music industry can't indict individuals for stealing music for no good reason. Do people steal music? Sure. But if given the right outlet to download music legally, I sincerely doubt the issue would be such a big one like it is today.

Let's face it -- we want to be able to download music from the service of our choosing at a price that's not ridiculously high. $0.99 for one track off an album? Are you kidding me? It may have worked when the labels were forced to put those tracks onto physical media, but today, it's a matter of recording it and shipping it off.

And lest you forget, we also want to be able to download DRM-free music so we can take that song and bring it with us wherever we would like to go. We did that with CDs, why can't we do that with a track off iTunes?

For some reason, we have created an environment that hates ownership and would rather see you lease property at a premium instead of own it at a reasonable price. And if you ask me, that's unacceptable.

Look, I'm not asking for much, just the opportunity to say that I own what I paid for and to be offered the courtesy to be trusted. Is that really too much to ask?

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