Who is willing to shell out up to twenty dollars for a round piece of shimmering plastic? Face it; a malignant epidemic, known as materialism, has manifested itself throughout this capitalistic society transforming its inhabitants into money-grubbing, tight-pocketed beasts. Why would one of these beasts be willing to pay such an exorbitant price for a simple CD when there are alternative methods to obtain the music they long for? In today’s technological society, music can be downloaded in MP3 format and burned onto a CD, and with CD copiers one may copy an existing CD onto a blank. The underground music scene also provides an alternative way of acquiring music. After adopting these methods, even the most materialistic beast would become satisfied.

Like most aspects of our lives, the music industry relies greatly on the Internet and may even depend on it in some instances. Barriers were broken when Napster was developed. From this program, music lovers everywhere are able to download their favorite songs for free and store them on their personal computers. Users share files, whether it is other artists’ music or their own. Websites such as MP3.com allow artists to post information about themselves, make their songs available to others, and provide a link to their own website. There, new and struggling artists are provided opportunities for exposure. An artist may also construct their own website where the same items may be found. It is understandable why the music industry could become quite dependent on the Internet: It allows artists’ work to be reached worldwide and for no cost at all.

Once an MP3 file has been downloaded, the retriever has two options: They can store it onto their computer and waste precious hard drive space, or they can make a personal CD. The CD burner makes this simple task possible. This moderately priced device can be purchased, but most computers bought now already include them. To use, one must simply convert the desired MP3 files into a format suitable for a blank CD, make a play list, and create. Making personal CDs can be even less complex by taking a comprised CD and simply copying it. In making personal CDs, the creator can choose the songs they love, get rid of those they do not, or just copy a friend’s CD to save a little money (this being the beasts’ creed).

One last method in obtaining music is to support a local or underground scene. Many music-goers enjoy shows and concerts where they can dwell in the overwhelming environment, spend time with fellow music-goers, or listen to their favorite artists. When conducted on a local level, the shows are smaller and more personal. The artists who set up the shows are usually not well known and not signed to a major record label. Thus meaning the CD they sell are very reasonably priced. This is because the artists generally make their CDs themselves and anticipate a minimal profit, if any at all. The main reason CDs sold in stores are so expensive is because they are distributed by major record labels. The cost of producing and advertising the CDs must be compensated for and the companies seek a hefty profit. So when a person decides to use this method, the beast within everyone benefits, whether they are the underexposed artist who gains exposure, the listener who gains new experiences and cheap music, or anyone taking part in the local music scene that gains presence.

All in all, music does not have to be acquired wearing a hefty price tag. In using the methods of MP3 downloading, CD burners, and supporting the local music scene, the beast within is undoubtedly satisfied.

Word Count: 615

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