The digital revolution has been an ongoing copyright and ethical battle between record companies and file sharing sites ever since the illegal downloading industry sky-rocketed.
While some saw sites such as Napster as a way of having a digital version of something they had already bought on hard copy, many simply enjoyed having free access to millions of songs.
But the battle is still being fiercely waged, most recently with the UK’s high court ruling that O2, Virgin Media, Sky, Talk Talk and Everything Everywhere, the five major internet service providers (ISPs), must block access to The Pirate Bay.
The Pirate Bay is currently one of the world’s leading file sharing websites, but will taking out of the downloading game in the UK really manage to quell the demand for illegal downloads?
The demand for music is undeniable, and arguably stronger than ever as a result of the immediacy that is possible as a result of the digital revolution.
Prior to this 'digital age' an artist had to be focused on selling a physical product. They had to spend time convincing a distributor that their music warrants them spending money on manufacturing that product to market.
Now there is an instant demand from fans for new music, particularly because of the instant communication from artists to their fans via Twitter, Facebook or SoundCloud.
Mike Burgess, of Manchester production and DJ duo HeavyFeet, said: “If I sent a Tweet saying ‘just finished a brand new track, can’t wait for everyone to hear it’, I know fine well that it will take 4 months before it to be release, but I am guaranteed to have people ask to hear it now or if I will upload it to an online digital store.”
But then there is and always has been a kudos associated with something earlier than everybody else, it is in our nature to want to show off whatever the newest, best, most rare, item we can get our grubby paws on.
Pirate Bay users might be outraged at the loss of such easy and instant access to the newest songs, but how are recording artists managing to cope with the dramatic change in their industry?
Andy Chandler, of Manchester dance and electro Santiago Street Machine, said that the change is something that musicians have to embrace, as without embracing it they will miss a trick.
He said: “The digital age has destroyed the record industry but the idea for us was to build traffic through good content. We bypassed the idea of selling records because selling records, which, as everyone knows at the moment, is not going to make you any money.”
Instead Andy thinks that the way forward is through page streaming sites, such as Spotify and live performances; he live music circuit generally speaking is worth more than it ever has been.
Each is not without its pitfalls however, as performance prices are raising and streaming sites pay pittance.
Mike is firmly of the belief that emerging artists can have success, if only they have the right attitude about the industry and their music.
According to him, all it takes is a bit of content and great songs and ploughing time money blood sweat and tears into getting to where you want to be.
“It’s evolve or devolve; if you are in making music for the right reasons then you will find a way of making it stand out from other music.”
As tough as the new music world is, the revolution has not been without its advantages.
Artists have never had the opportunity to market themselves to their fan base, and thanks to that instant platform, it has never been easier for emerging artists to get their music out there and heard by potentially millions of people.
People will always want to see live entertainment; even in tough economic times, but because they cannot afford to go to a sell-out stadium gig, it is more likely that they will opt for a cheaper and certainly more cheerful version and go to see a band at the Apollo or the Ritz.
This in turn means that while sales of tracks are not profitable, it is likely that there will be a throwback to the 60’s, when there was less distance, and less corporation, between an artist and his audience.
Mike said: “The record industry can try all they want trying to combat illegal downloads, but they will never be able to fix it because once something is broken it is very hard to fix.”
While what has been done cannot be undone, physical copies are no longer in demand and even legal downloads are not brining in revenue, the music industry will never burn out as people will always want to see live music and will always want to have a good time.