Music is something close to my heart, I studied it in college and always felt my destiny was to work in the Music Industry at some stage of my life. I still have those aspirations, but need to get other things up and running first.

I have to admit though that my respect for Music Industry bosses has diminished since the introduction of the web and the advent of “illegal downloading”. I have yet to see any record company face this head on and be innovative in how they can turn their sales figures around. Record companies seem to think the legal route is the only way they can stop this wave of “Boot Legged” music. But quite frankly, it’s not.

Most people in my age group can remember Boot Leg tapes that were on sale on every corner in Dublin City Centre, but most real music fans, those that bought music, tended not to bother with Boot Leg tapes.

Why? Well for me owning a copied tape was never the same as having the original recording. Others will say it was all about the quality, but that’s not an argument anymore unless you have a really good ear for music as most MP3s sound exactly the same as the original.

The bottom line for me is if I hear an album that I like, I’ll go out and buy it, it’s as simple as that. When was the last time I actually bought an album? Late last year. Why haven’t I bought anything since? Basically, there’s nothing worth buying anymore. The lack of truly great albums on the market is shocking. But that’s another days work altogether.

There are so many ways record companies could increase sales if they embraced it as a marketing tool and not treat it as an enemy. For example, Blip.fm – make sure all you tracks are on sites like this so everyone can hear them. But that’s me thinking for 5 minutes. How much do they pay their marketing guys who are clearly missing this channel.

Sky News had an interesting report this morning about games like Guitar Hero. They suggested that if an artist has their track on one of these games, sales are likely to increase by as much as 800%. The theory around it makes so much sense. With game sales being bigger than record sales now, the tracks are being played to people who generally wouldn’t listen to their genre of music and in turn they are gaining new music fans.

If I think back to when I started using the web for music, there was one band who grew in popularity nearly overnight because of the Internet.

I was playing a game of Unreal Tournament when someone suggested I have a listen to a band called Limp Bizkit. At this time, you couldn’t get their records in Ireland, so I had to go and download a copy of their album. I was instantly hooked.

And guess what? I bought all their albums thereafter. OK bad decision on my behalf in the end, but none-the-less – if it wasn’t for the Internet, I probably would never have heard of them until they were in the mainstream and at that stage, I wouldn’t have been interested in them anyway!

So music industry, it’s time to stop wasting your time trying to ban downloads. Focus your efforts on how you can use the web to promote your acts – it’s the most powerful medium available to us today!

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