Ever participated in the glorious exchange and barter phenomenon on sites such as 4shared, Pirate Bay, or Filestube? The beauty of these exchanges is that they don’t hurt our pockets and we barely have to even move a muscle to contribute. P2P (peer to peer or person to person) file sharing makes for convenient acquisition of files. For some of us, we get our music, our movies, our documents, and a heap of other file types through this (mostly) free and extremely handy process. However, this sets a shift in the commercial processes of many mediums. The music industry, for instance, is threatened by P2P because it is not a traditional system of power. With the public getting access without a tangible (and/or legitimate) source of distribution, these sales are hard to keep track of. More so, it leads to illegal downloading.
This can be seen as the Big Bad Wolf (the major record labels) keeping tabs on music distribution for the sole purposes of getting insanely rich (has to be true). Up until recently, and some might even say thanks to P2P, the doors have been opened for independent music artists and fans alike to participate in the commercial battlegrounds. The music industry sounds like a merchant Hunger Games, with everyone fighting harder for the right sound to appeal to the right audiences to attain the right gigs and promote the right image to gain wealth.
As far as P2P hindering the music industry, it’s actually hard to tell. Some extremists would probably argue that it doesn’t matter, and that someone celebrities are still making lots of money from the products they put out. So much that musicians still dominate things like The Forbes List and can sell out tours. Popularity is key. In the end, I believe it all comes down to making sure the music is worth the money. Fans will support the artists they believe in.