At a recent conference, Neil Young addressed piracy in recent times, "It doesn't affect me because I look at the internet as the new radio. I look at the radio as gone. [...] Piracy is the new radio. That's how music gets around. [...] That's the radio. If you really want to hear it, let's make it available, let them hear it, let them hear the 95 percent of it."
He also suggested that fans can sample music through piracy or streaming services and then purchase the music they value.
Interesting point of view.
I think that lots of people sample music through a variety of means, including piracy. The issue as I see it is conversion. With taping a song off the radio or old cassette recording of a friend's record, I was motivated to buy the music mostly because I was getting a higher quality form of the music. With piracy, I can get a FLAC version of an album and have no incentive, outside of my desire to support the artist, to buy the music. Of course, Neil's got a beef with the quality of digital music to begin with and has since the first days of CDs.
I fully agree with Neil regarding radio being dead. I listen to a bit of satellite radio in the new car, but I'm not sure I'll pay for it once the free offer runs out, and I cannot stand traditional radio with it's ultra-narrow playlists and 50-50 ratio of music to commercials.
However, I often think this blog is a bit like a new form of radio. It's like I'm the deejay curating the show and saying, here's a new song from a band I like, or an old song that I think is cool, taking readers/listeners on a journey through what I want to present.
You can check out articles with Mr. Young's quotes here and here.
You can check out Crazy Horse's 37 minute jam on his web site.
And here's an absolute Neil classic - "Heart of Gold".