To download or not to download… that is the question

Maeve Storey addresses this age-old musical conundrum

About a couple hundred years ago anyone with a passion for music discovered some fantastic website or other for doing that bad thing that we’ve all been told we’re not allowed to do, because after all, as the adverts tell us, “you wouldn’t steal a car…”, “you wouldn’t steal a purse….” “you wouldn’t steal your best mate’s boyfriend and then sleep with her father…” etcetera, etcetera. Yes, that nasty naughty evil thing I’m talking about is (dare I say it?) downloading music–and even worse, not paying for it.

Yes, it’s illegal, yes, it’s ‘wrong’ in principle, but let’s face it, why would I buy a CD that I can just as easily get for free? However, if you’re worried about the feds knocking on your bedroom door at 3 am there are lots of great songs on the net to be downloaded legally–a myriad of remixes, mash-ups, covers and anything and everything by groups/singers/DJs who are just not famous enough to charge you for a listen. Once upon a time we had Napster, then that went to shit. Then there was Lime Wire, but unless you’re internet connection goes at the speed of light it’s not really worth it, and using it in college is a serious no-no.

However, the astute music lover has other ways and means of getting what they want, and for me, it’s all about music blogs. I’ve always been fairly skeptical about the whole blog phenomenon (yes I do see the irony); I don’t really care about other people’s musings, feelings, what they’ve had for lunch and all that other boring filler that a lot of bloggers pollute cyberspace with. But when it comes to music, blogs are an infinite resource. What a lot of people don’t know is that music bloggers often upload MP3s for us to download, often just for a few days before they get in trouble, so if you’re vigilant enough you can often get some awesome and rare tracks for absolutely nothing. What’s more, on the good blogs these anonymous internet music hacks actually know what they’re talking about and can get you listening to some truly decent tunes that you otherwise would have been completely ignorant to. Plus, there’s the added bonus of looking really cool in front of your friends when you know all the hot tracks for 2009.

As for what blogs to take a look at, all you have to do is have a look on everybody’s favourite search engine Google and you’ll find a million and one sites to check out. As Gay Byrne used to say, “there’s something for everyone in the audience…” For those of you too lazy to find your own gems, check out The Hype Machine; it’s a blog aggregator which removes all the hard work by allowing you to type in a song or an artist or just scroll through and find an incredible amount of music on hundreds of different blogs. It couldn’t get much easier than that!