Music in a Box: A Sociological Perspective

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An ipod, a phone, an mp3 or even a laptop, these advancements in technology has helped in the widespread of different genres of music. From rock to pop to country and mellow, everyone has their own personal taste. Music transcends race, culture and language and with this it has been a great weapon for globalization. The influence of western mainstream music has been evident in the lives of many Filipinos. From the way people dress to the way people think, music has been a great reason for it. The boom of western music from the 1950’s up until the present is extensive.

In my case, I check YouTube daily; I have downloaded (illegally) music from different sites and put it in my phone. And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one. If we look at YouTube, it’s like a music store and a comedy house at the same time. The fact that it’s free also attracts people. Music is generally a leisure we have and somehow through music people get over boundaries set by society. If it’s just me, well I’ll see it as it is, me enjoying something that is free. Downloading music has been a thing for me and my siblings, we get the latest singles the moment it comes on air.

But if we look at it from a global perspective, we see multi-million companies being at the fore-front of producing these singles and albums. Why do they condemn piracy (in terms of music)? Is it really stealing? In what terms are piracy and stealing the same? If we look at it closely, we see that piracy is making copies of these original singles being sold. In the internet, piracy is when you get to acquire something without paying for it (e.g movies, series, songs). Stealing is when someone forcefully takes something that belongs to another person. Is piracy stealing? Is it because of copyright issues? These companies own these music, is that it? Then why bother listening to something you have to pay tons of money for. It all its senses music is money. These companies are bothered by the fact that they don’t earn anything because of piracy but has it ever crossed their minds that the popularity of these songs or these artists is due to free internet and “piracy”?

To take it further, what has pushed us to the point of piracy, isn’t is the capitalist perspective of these multi-million companies that has lead us to the point of what they define as stealing? The continuous increase on the price of albums that contains merely 8-12 songs has gone overboard and this leads the revolution of music.

In their eyes they see us as thieves or walking paper bills, it’s either we give it to them or we take it from them. Technology, it is the “frienemy” of music companies all over the world. Once I sit on my desktop and start downloading, and I assume that people all over the world do it too, we are slowly affecting the income of these companies and these artists. But in return we also cause their worldwide popularity, we are the reason they have commercials, movies, tv series and concert and yet they continue to condemn and pursue us.

Greed and money, it runs all industry, even the purest kinds. Though the arts and music has been perceived as an untainted field, a field where passion should run through its core, it makes me question the need for us to pay $$$ to see them perform live, the need for us to purchase their album. Music in itself is tainted by society itself, the need of society to have icons and the need of those who are on top to benefit from us.

The choice of music we have is also manufactured by the industry itself, it tries to penetrate to our core and discover what we, people raised in different culture would desire. Music is no longer music, it is the capability of an artist to sell. If he can’t sing he better look good, cause in the society we live in we no longer use our ears to listen to music we listen with our eyes as well.

I won’t be a hypocrite; I appreciate artists with good looks. But that is how society has molded me. This is how it brought me up, to look at society’s standard of beauty and judge people with it.

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