@Anonymous Coward (the one without any CD's)
"Honestly, if I really wanted some music and had no other choices than to pay at very least I'd just fire up guitar hero and actually interact with the music."
You seem to forget - radio is a promotional medium to try and allow you to listen to a record before you go out and buy it. A bit like the 30-second samples in iTunes, or the last.fm playlist function.
It would be like you working for a company who perpetually pays you peanuts and tells you that it's cos you're being 'tried out' - essentially what radio is doing for the music. The artists involved in making that music make virtually nothing from radio airplay - if anything it probably costs them to plug the record - essentially it's just a big advert. Ok, there is royalties for airplay, but it's nothing compared to the money made from a live show or a CD.
So justifying not paying for music 'because it's freely available anyway' is a bit like me walking into your house and stealing your TV because you left the door open, or taking your car keys and driving off in your car because 'it's freely available'.
Imagine if you put on a concert and sold tickets, except loads of people got in for free and saw your hard work without you being rewarded for it.
I don't agree with the record companies who mint huge amounts of profit out of the music industry, the end person who has made the music is the artist - who has sat in a recording studio or wherever, painstakingly putting this music together for you to hear.
What most people don't understand is that when you buy a CD you don't automatically get the copyright of the music - you buy a 'personal licence' to listen to that music when you want to. Just read the copyright blurb on the outer edge of the CD. The artist shares that music with you, and it's your personal copy. But you don't own that music - the artist does. When you rip it and bung it up as a torrent, and let the rest of the world copy it for free, you're essentially ripping off the artist who originally made the CD, and denying them some of their income.
For those of you who say 'Boo-Hoo - they make enough anyway' - some of them do. But that doesn't make it morally right. It would be like me dipping into your bank account and taking £20 every so often because 'you make enough anyway'. Is that morally right?
Put yourself in the shoes of the fledgling artist (ignoring Radiohead for a second who did it for ego reasons cos they needed to raise their profile - the album's shite even if I did buy it on CD!) - you don't have a job, apart from your passion to write music. You decide you want to share this with the rest of the world, but you have to make some money somehow, so you sell your CD via a small distributor and you make a couple of quid. Except you realise that one of your customers has placed the album on a torrent site, and it's being downloaded by the bucketload on the net by people, but for that you don't make a penny. So you may be popular, but totally penniless because you haven't made any money.
Ok, so that's an extreme example, but it does happen.
The problem here is that this attitude has caused people like the RIAA to get nasty with the end customers, which is a bit like biting the hand that feeds you. However, if we don't buy it one way, we'll get stung in another way. The French have put a tax on blank CD-R's which goes into a pot and gets shared amongst recording artists - almost a tax on copying. More and more issues like this will pop up unless we all play fair, which probably won't happen because at heart the world's full of selfish bastards who want everything for free. Shame the economy is totally fcuked.
Note - I don't work for the music industry any more, but have loads of friends who are in bands, and I just think it's a bit shitty our attitude towards freely stealing music.
Sorry. Rant over. As you were!