Interesting article on the effects of MP3 sharing blogs from Steve 'Little White Earbuds' Mizek, which I came across while catching-up on the latest posts at Infinite State Machine, where Pipecock has a few thoughts of his own on the matter, and I can relate to much of their comments. You probably noticed I stopped sharing single-track MP3s ages ago, even though, as Steve honestly acknowledges, it can bump-up the readership considerably. I still get about 8,000 visitors a month (god knows why) but that's still a lot less than in my mp3-whoring days. I was one of the early pioneers when it came to sharing out underground dance music, and maybe I helped make certain things popular or maybe not. Looking back I think certain things I shared show a clear error of judgement. I reckon I got carried away with the blog's runaway success and believed my actions were beyond reproach. I made some stupid mistakes and I've learned from that. Occasionally these days I will upload a 128kbps mp3 mix when feeling strongly motivated to do so, and I might still give away some of my own stuff cos it's pretty much worthless crud anyway, but I draw the line beyond that.
Non-mp3 sharing is a moral decision, but also reflects my lack of interest in the format itself. After the battery on my old i-Pod died I never replaced it and I don't miss it. It was an interesting medium to experiment with for a while, but these days I'm pretty much 100% a vinyl listener/consumer again. I listen to the odd mp3 mix plus a few unreleased tunes that friends send me, but that's about it. I find that the audio clips at places like Boomkat/Juno etc provide sufficient navigational aid when buying my records via online vinyl emporiums, and I also enjoy buying and selling secondhand items on e-bay, discogs, etc. Very occasionally I'll get some time during the day for a bit of proper crate-digging along the Gloucester Road. I know I spend a lot more money than I need to and access only a fraction of the music available to me in digital format, but I'm fine with that. I have literally hours and hours of digital files that I never listen to and probably never will. I think I'll delete it all soon. Vinyl provides not only a more satisfying audio (and visual) experience, but also helps to give focus and impetus to my listening/collecting habits. If I spend 20 quid on a rare secondhand album, you can believe I'm gonna really appreciate that record far more than a Soulseek file which will probably be listened to once and then forgotten in a folder somewhere.
But that's just looking at things from a personal perspective. Then there's the wider concerns about harming the artists and industry. To be honest, I couldn't really care if the major labels get raped to within an inch of their lives, but I really hope that the undergound/independent scene(s) and supporting retail outlets can continue to exist in some form, even if its just at subsistence level.
But enough sermonising from me. You do whatever your conscience tells you to...