It’s okay, don’t worry – there are TONS of music files out there for you to download legally. I’ve done it before, and I’ll do it again. Thousands of musicians have placed their songs online for anybody to grab, and those bits are becoming increasingly easier to find. You might find it more convenient to transfer licensed content without purchasing it first, but that might not be the most ethical thing to do (or to teach). The labels must have a love/hate relationship with the Internet; on one hand, it’s easier to market their musical wares – but on the other hand, it’s easier to steal their musical wares. You should see my CD shelf in the other room; I own a metric ton of digital discs. Here’s the funny thing (and maybe you’ve already noticed this): good music doesn’t have to come from big corporations with million-dollar marketing machines. The Internet is a treasure trove of independent entertainment – and not all of it sucks. Rather, it probably sucks on the same scale as “produced” content. At least you don’t have to pay for the privilege.

The other day, someone told me about The Hype Machine – a resource “that gathers songs posted on MP3 [sites] and presents them in an easy to consume manner. Easily listen, discover and buy songs that everyone is talking about!” Buy if you wanna buy, but take as much as your ears can eat. There’s also the podsafe music network – “Despite any recording contracts with RIAA, ASCAP, or BMI, or other recording industry entity, the artist retains ownership of the works, and is free to distribute, broadcast, license or sell these works at the artist’s discretion.” Isn’t that nice? Oh, and let’s not forget about one of my all-time favorite independent artists out there: Brad Sucks. Go ahead and take a listen to his latest album (I happen to like “Borderline” the most). Even if you think that Brad really sucks, you understand my point. There’s plenty of stuff out there for you to discover – especially if you have a broadband connection. Listen up: you’ll love what you hear.