Expansion of Digital Music
From the very beginning of the music industry its principles were unchanged. Yes, the storage mediums changed: from vinyl to audio-cassettes, from audio-cassettes to compact-discs. But the general principle remained the same: musicians signed a contract with a record label, which released their music and paid them royalties. People, if they wanted to listen to it, have to buy it. Of course, audio-cassettes and compact-discs gave an opportunity to illegally copy it, but it was rather inconvenient and didn’t actually influence anything to a great extent.
But when the first peer-to-peer network, Kazaa, appeared in 1997, everything has changed. The new age, the age of digital music has officially begun. From the very first moment and until the very recent times it had been perceived by the traditional industry as a direct menace, and rightly so – at least, to a certain extent. Although stated to be of inferior quality, music files in the new .mp3 format were small, easy to copy and quick to distribute. Quite naturally, people often decided that there was no reason why they should buy one CD with a dozen of tracks when they could get hundreds of tracks free of charge and even without leaving their houses.
The sales of music industry began to fall, no matter how hard music piracy has been persecuted. And only recently representatives of the industry began to adopt the so much hated method of distribution to their own needs. Digital stores now quite often offer music for downloading; and although it is not free of charge, at least it is as easy for an honest buyer to get music as it is for a pirate.