I wanted to make a mix CD and I had almost all the tracks in my CD collection, except for a couple. So I found a copy of Kazaa Lite K++ (that was far harder than it should have been - I had to get it off a website in Korea!) and went and got everything I needed, in about an hour. Yay for the power of the 'Net, eh? And welcome to the freakin' 21st century, nerd-boy! Hey, 1998 called - they want their operating system back!
I've been a bit uneasy about taking the filesharing plunge previous to this for a couple of reasons. For starters, unless you know exactly the right client to download (and, as noted before, it ain't easy to find it) you probably end up with every piece of spy-ware on the planet installed on your computer.
But on a more principled note, I (unfortunately) find myself agreeing with Lars Ulrich of Metallica. The music belongs to the artist, and if they don't want it distributed electronically I think that's their right. Now, artists who don't want their music distributed online are probably stupid - since you couldn't ask for a better word of mouth advertising method. And I at least feel absolutely sure it's going to generate album sales rather than decrease them. (That's been my personal experience.) But still, the principle remains: if you as an artist don't want your music distributed online, that's your right. Now, the waters muddy a bit when record companies and labels and the RIAA get involved. Those guys are pretty much parasites, I feel. And we'd probably be better off without them.
But I digress. Suffice it to say, I have my ten-odd tracks and now I can make my mix CD. Yay, internet. Yay, cable modem. Yay, MP3.
And to the RIAA: You're still a big, fat, doomed dinosaur thrashing futily in a tar pit - soon to go under. Keep sending out those lawyers, assholes. You dig yourself in deeper every time you sue a 12 year old.