For the first time since 1999, the music industry reported a growth in sales last year. For 13 years, Napster, Bearshare, Limewire, Kazaa, BitTorrent, and the like had record sales on the decline and music industry executives screaming piracy.
Now, thanks to advancements in mobile technology and a growth in the global middle class, the music industry has experienced a bump (though, ever so slight) in sales. This won't bring Sam Goody back from the dead, but it does mean that people are starting to pay for music again. Much of this shift can be attributed to a crackdown on the black market for music and a simultaneous spike in the notoriety of subscription services, like Spotify. The Atlantic breaks it down (with graphs).
Unsurprisingly, The Atlantic piece notes that this shift hasn't happened in America yet. That may change, though, after the Associated Press reported, on Tuesday, that Internet service providers in the United States are going to start issuing warnings to people illegally downloading and sharing music, movies, and television shows, with the potential consequence of slowing or re-routing the offender's Internet service.
Don't panic. Paying for music isn't all that terrible.
I recently made the switch to the switch to Spotify Premium. So far, it's the best $9.99 I spend every month
- I get instant moblie access to pretty much any song I want (spare for The Beatles and Taylor Swift's Red album, if that's your thing).
- I can download songs to my iPhone so that when, inevitably, I get stuck on a SEPTA train I've still got plenty to listen to.
- I can see what other people are listening to, which leads to great bar conversations about why one of my friends was listening to "I Will Always Love You" by Whitney Houston on a Tuesday morning.
- I can adjust my privacy settings so that my music choices don't show up on Facebook.
- It's a great way to learn about new artists.
- I can share songs and playlists and follow friends and artists to get immediate updates.
Oh, and it comes with a 30-day free trial, just in case you're worried you won't like it.
The rest of the world has started paying for music. Piracy crackdowns are about to make it so that your Internet provider will revert you back to a dial-up connection if you're caught illegally downloading songs. Spotify is actually pretty rad. Plus, you'll be able to sleep at night knowing that you're abiding by the law, so there's that.