"If you take a copy of something for free, instead of paying for that copy - and you could have afforded it - then you deprive the owner of a sale."
But the argument being made is that prerecorded music is an advertisment for the real thing - the live performance. And thats not even getting into your assumption that every downloaded song is a deprived sale. I routinely download music that has been suggested to me by friends, to see if I do infact like it. If it's good, I'll generally go out and buy the album on CD. If it sucks, it sits in my iTunes library gathering dust.
Personally, I think that more and more, people (like my mum and dad) are downloading music "guilt free" not because they are robbing faceless corporations, but because the sense of entitlement that stems from many "artists" is completley out of align with thier respective talents. Let me explain:
There are two key factors that I think are providing normal, law abiding citizens to commit grand copyright theft. 1) "modern" composers insist on calling themselves "artists" when they clearly arn't and 2) the perversion of copyright law provides these artists the framework required to be repeatedly paid for work that has already been compensated for.
My mum doesnt feel guilty for downloading Westlifes back catalogue because Westlife are just a covers band. They are not artists, merely pretty karioke stars. There is no art in their work because they are not producing an original creative work. And secondly, Westlife made millions and millions from selling something they only had to produce once. My mum was not paid repeatedly for work she hald already been compensated for. She fails to see the argument as to why Westlife should too, especially when they are singing someone elses song. A similar act my mother also does when she potters about the house, singing to herself.
It doesnt help when you see artists like this bitching about lost sales and the hardships of having to decide on the interior of their Ferrari.
My parents replaced their entire music collection, at great expense, twice. Once from LP to tape, then from tape to CD. They are done buying music.
The wierd thing is, over the last 3 years, my parents have actually started to go to see more live music then they ever did before. They claim its because "it's the real thing, isn't it?"