Not everyone in the music industry is afraid of file-sharing; some independent labels are positively embracing it.
President of V2 Records (The White Stripes, Moby) Andy Gershon believes that it is better to work with the file-sharing networks, in fact he thinks there is opportunity to be found there. Gershon told Associated Press: "The cat is so far out of the bag and so far gone that it's pointless to keep fighting it. I might as well make as many people fans of our music, whether they illegally download it or not."
With this attitude, Gershon mines Internet distribution channels for new fans and revenues, and other independent recording artists and labels have experimented with and embraced the freewheeling digital distribution that the Internet affords, writes AP.
Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy has a similar view. "I look at it [file sharing] as a library. I look at it as our version of the radio. It's a place where basically we can encourage fans to be fans and not feel like they're being exploited, which is basically what the whole industry is geared to do," he said.
However, not everyone in the music industry is as prepared to open their arms to this way of distribution. A landmark file-sharing case is due before the US Supreme Court this week, with major recording companies arguing that Grokster and StreamCast Networks, which distributes Morpheus, should be liable for what computer users do with the technology.
The software makers argue that the peer-to-peer technology is as legitimate as a video-cassette recorder or a photocopier, but the record labels are concerned about the impact file-sharing is having on the music industry. From 1999 to 2004, the total value of the US recording industry fell $2.4 billion to $12.1 billion - a decline the industry blames primarily on file-sharing.
It has been suggested that file-sharing companies should be responsible for filtering out unauthorized works, "a move the major labels consider crucial to legitimizing file-sharing as a distribution system," writes AP.
Other methods of distribution are being tested, for example, Sovereign Artists has promoted and sold tracks using the online Weed file-sharing format. This lets listeners hear a song for free several times before having to buy it. Weed files are distributed to Web sites and across file-sharing networks.