If you look at the typical arguments against piracy, one of the old saws usually trotted out is "people will steal stuff if given the opportunity." I've never believed that to be true. After all, there's still a tip jar in every coffee shop in America and that money is there for the goddamn taking. I think piracy is more about fairness: when a faceless organization wants to get between you and the music you want and charge you seventeen dollars for it, your natural reaction is "fuck you buddy" and before too long, you're up on TPB.
Thing is, if I wanted music on Ghostly I could just go look them up on Demonoid or What. Hey, maybe I'll do that. And look at that - Demonoid gives me 148 maybe-related bands but not really, What gives me like 16 hits on FLAC. If I wanted to steal Ghostly music, I could have it at better quality than they're offering. After all, I've never heard of Ghostly (my musical experimentation pretty much stopped at The Fahrenheit Project) and I've got bandwidth.
But I'm still keenly interested in this.
So I downloaded their app, got annoyed that it didn't stream to my Airplay receiver, grabbed their URL, threw it at the Mac Mini, and now I'm listening to Moodgadget's playlist and enjoying it. I might damn well buy that $15 a month subscription for at least a few months.
Not because I have no other recourse, but because I want to be a part of something cool.
"I'm a fan."
Here's the thing. I was on eMusic for, oh, four years. One of their first buyers. Had the grandfathered plan. Got my 90 downloads a month and often had to go hunt for stuff (one reason why I have something like 30 hours of ambient recordings). Their MP3s were never good - 128kbps VBR, as I recall - and I caught them ripping them audio-audio several times (ever heard an MP3 "skip"? You know someone fucked up). But I was willing to put up with that.
Until they knocked me off my grandfathered plan from 90 tracks a month to 50 tracks a month. Not because they were having a hard time making ends meet... but because they just struck a deal with SONY and SONY wanted more money.
Fuck you, eMusic.
"I'm no longer a fan."
So my eMusic subscription money has been split between SomaFM and the ACLU since 2009. I've had some lean times but turning off that tap just didn't seem right. I want to have my finger in the "digital" pie because yeah - I'll torrent a new album. Generally the stuff I want to listen to is either available for 15 euros with 9 euros shipping or it's available in 20 minutes off What.cd for free. The cost of legitimacy is just ridiculously too high when the cost of illegitimacy is nothing. Yet here's a label I've never heard of before and I'm all about investigating whether I want to sign up for a monthly draw from my account.
Why don't more businesses get this? All you have to do is make me want to do business with you. The more repugnant you make the process, the less likely I am to play by your rules.