This is one of the best commentary pieces I’ve seen so far on the subject, written by Umair Haque on Red Herring:
“The music industry fails to understand that a primary reason that consumers illegally share music files is that they want insurance against the music industry itself. File sharing is as much about risk sharing as it is about the theft of value. Technology makes file swapping possible – but the music industry’s business model, which is at odds with the implicit contract it signs with listeners, is what makes it probable.”
Umair argues that the problem is one made by the music industry, and it’s natural that when an alternative came on the scene – the Net – consumers grasped the opportunity with gusto.
Artifical pricing – leading to a complete lack of connection between price and real product value; record companies pursuing self-serving interests; a total information feedback disconnect between the industry and the consumers. All inform an understanding of why consumers prefer to search and download music from the Net.