The Offspring and Coldplay made free song downloads available to in an effort to promote their albums. We see this strategy all the time from record companies. Those of you that are familiar with the iTunes Free Single of the Week will know what I’m talking about. This strategy confuses me though, since the RIAA continuously fights file sharing.

It’s a fact that free music downloads actually help album sales. I always buy albums that I think are good, because I actually want to own them. Recently a friend burned me a copy of a Green Day album. I had the copy and didn’t need to buy it, but I did. Why? Because the album was good and Green Day and the record company deserve my money.

Back in the days when tapes were traded, the same thing held true. A friend would give me a tape they made, and if I liked what I heard, I went out and bought the album. Shockingly, tape trading was mainly how Metallica rocketed to fame. Yet years ago they started the fight against file sharing.

If free music is the evil entity for record companies, why do they practice giving music away for free themselves? They must think by giving away their tunes it will help sales on albums, otherwise they wouldn’t make the files available for free. Why not just let people trade freely if it’s so positive for them? I know some people will abuse the system and not purchase the album when they should. This rule applies to anything, including the late, great days when tapes were passed around, but the record companies need to stop fighting against the listening public who embrace free downloads and instead embrace the system for what it is. The freedom and love of music.