Here is why I would use allofmp3.com instead of a P2P network: they have better and more uniform quality. By that I mean, when I download an album from them it's named correctly, it's all the same bitrate, all the same volume, all the same rip (2 songs with the same title but from different albums may not be the same), etc. it's not a compilation of random rips some kid put together in a half hour.
It's also more convienient; if I find an album I might want, but I don't want to download at that time, it'll be there tomorrow. The download speeds are going to be the same next week, and I don't have to worry about them disconnecting in the middle of a transfer. It's also guaranteed to be free from viruses (and DRM, which in my opinion may be worse). The prices are also very good, they don't think they deserve more money
to give me less
, just because I don't want to get out of my chair.
Personally, I don't view downloading music from P2P networks (or allofmp3.com) as stealing from the artists, I view it as stealing from the record companies. Now, I'm not an expert, and I'd like to be proven wrong, but the record companies are evil. The record companies deserve to be ripped off, as often and as ruthlessly as possible.
Artists supposidly receive ~3% of the money from a CD sale (and that's if you have a good contract!). How much is that? Maybe about 25¢. Yes, artists receive less than the cost of a postage stamp for that $17 "worth" of music you just downloaded. There's a very famous story where the members of the group TLC were bankrupt at the same time that their song was #1. At the time CDs were introduced a cassette tape would cost about $10, a record would cost about $8, and a CD would cost about $16. Did the royalties paid to the artists reflect the different prices? NO, the royalties paid was the same, no matter what media the audio was on. The record companies don't have a problem ripping their artists off, and I don't have a problem ripping them off.
Back when CDs were introduced there was a buy-back program between record companies and record stores. If a record didn't sell, the store could send it back and get a refund (I don't know if it was a 100% refund or not, but I doubt it). Now there is no such pollicy. Stores are stuck with the very expensive CDs that don't sell, even though the actual disc is SUPPOSIDLY only a medium to hold the intelectual property, which is supposidly what they are charging so much for. The record companies don't mind ripping off record stores, and I don't mind ripping them off.
Long ago, when compact discs were a new technology there was a very high failure rate with the discs. I don't know the numbers, but I wouldn't be surprised if 1 of every 3 discs was bad. Over the years the technology has steadily advanced, and today the failure rate is next to nothing. Did the price of the discs steadily decrease? NO, in fact it steadily INCREASED. Yes, that's right, it cost less and less
to produce a CD and they were charging more and more
(until reciently, which to me is too little too late). They don't have a problem ripping ME off, and I don't have a problem ripping THEM off.
"I would not break if I saw a record company crossing the street" Hirudin
i think i will fire off a few emails to the artists that are available to download by the service and see what their views are (hopefully some spokesperson will reply from the labels). that's about the only way i'll put my conscience to rest on this matter.
I hope you get a candid response from one of the artists you e-mail. But you may have noticed that most artists are surprisingly quiet about the issue, and I bet it's because they are contractually obligated to refrain from endorsing music piracy. So I would be very surprised if you get anything other than "we're against it" responses.
I can give you one testimonial from an actual recording artist, Immortal Technique, from his song "Obnoxious":
I made this ta' bump in your ride.
Or burn it off the internet;
And bump it outside.
Warning, the rest of the lyrics of this song are particulerly... obnoxious. Read at your own risk.