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.