The Fall of the Recording Industry

Recent history, from the mid-1990's through present day, has shown a shift occurring in the popular entertainment field that is music and recording. People are no longer turning to the record labels directly to get their music, instead finding alternative ways to get their music; illegally through torrents, file-hosting websites, and peer-to-peer transfer systems, or legally through iTunes and other music downloading software. Napster began the peer-to-peer/torrent/file-hosting revolution in 1999, which is arguably the beginning of a long battle fought between the record companies and the aforementioned programs/sites. However, the way the recording industry went about fighting that battle, suing mothers and little children while trying to destroy programs and systems that allowed for a flow of free ideas,  created a negative atmosphere surrounding almost the entire industry. While there are some record labels that have not given in to becoming a laughing stock of the population for trying to stop piracy (who is to argue that it could possibly go away at this point without major, no-holds-barred government regulation? see SOPA) the entire industry is beginning to falter from what greatness it once experienced. It seems as though when a site like Napster is taken down or made legal, ten more sites go up in its place. Piracy is becoming more prevalent and is reaching into other media fields, such as television and film, much more frequently than when internet piracy first became popular with Napster. Individuals are fighting back against the companies that are suing for copyright infringement, in doing so are calling attention to the absurdity that is inherent in most of these lawsuits and showing that the companies cannot control the people. Most importantly, what is beginning to occur is independent music being released legitimately independently-start-up artists are releasing their music for free on the internet to gain notoriety in various ways. Meanwhile, iTunes and Youtube have produced legal ways for the music industry to make revenue off of the Internet and this new digital media age, but these legal digital mediums by no means take the place of piracy, which is seemingly here for the long run.