Rebecca Farr

Equinox Staff


With such unlimited Internet resources, 75 percent of 20 Keene State College students, informally surveyed, saidthey access their musicthrough illegal downloads. But the simplicity of it all doesn’t necessarily scream,“You’re breaking the law!”


With websites like, and, one click will open a new song right in your iTunes. It doesn’t stop there either. If these websites that promote new music don’t have the download, a few more clicks to the you- tube-to-mp3-converter will do the same thing.

To put it plainly, you can easily find your new favorite song on YouTube, then google an mp3-converter site, paste the YouTube link, and yet again iTunes is tricked into thinking you just bought your way to your new workout playlist.

Alex Beaudoin, KSC sophomore, said iTunes seems to be outdated. The music and video playing application used to be good to pre-order albums, but Beaudoin said a lot of websites leak albums early, leaving iTunes out to dry.  “At this point, I only use iTunes if I get a gift card for Christmas or something,” Beaudoin said.

On another side of the spectrum, KSC Associate Music Professor James Chesebrough said he finds a lot of his music through his students. Chesebrough said he most often uses Pandora or iTunes but student advice has recently led him to start using Spotify.

A free Spotify account is made possible through advertisements. This music streaming service allows the user to browse by artist, album, record label, genre or even a direct song search. Just hit play and you’re on your way.

“Now, because the music is available online, students aren’t buying CDs anymore,” Chesebrough said, “I can remember vinyl records and then eight-track, then cassettes, and then CDs. Each one of these things has changed technology.”

While Chesebrough said he enjoys the indie sounds of Dispatch, 40 percent of the informal poll at KSC said they find themselves mostly listening to rap.

However, Ian Durling at the independently-owned music store Turn it Up! in downtown Keene said the most popular type of music for young people coming into the store are newer bands like Florence and the Machine.

Perhaps the students going into Turn it Up! are friends of Chesebrough, leaning toward the indie rock sounds of today.

KSC junior, Kim Dixon, said the new generation of music that we are in today, where songs and albums are freely accessible, is the reason why nobody wants to pay for music anymore.  Then again, senior Kyle Lasher said his dad loves Turn it Up!  because of their vinyl records. “He has a huge record collection,” Lasher said. With various sources for getting music, this shows that  “There are two kinds of people,” Durling said, “There are people who are just going to be getting stuff online and then there are people who are collecting [music].”

Durling said collectors are really drawn by the artifact of the music.  Luckily for the collector, technology advancements allow them to download music from the record to their computer.

“The bonus is that a lot of the groups releasing new vinyl also include a download code. People can have their artifact but also listen to stuff on their iPods,” Durling said.

While Turn it Up’s retro appeal keeps the store alive, junior Brittney Rando said it’s “broke-college-student problems” that make it so hard to afford music.

So much music, so little money. Eric Dasho agreed, “People use illegal downloads because it’s free. We need to use our money for other things,” Dasho said.

Despite the music sharing websites titled “Frat Music” and “Sound Cloud,” 75 percent of survey respondents said they’re convinced the most-used and easiest way to access music is illegally.

Why? Because it’s free, of course. “If you don’t have to pay for it, why would you?” sophomore Natalie Kocurek said.

To sum things up, Chesebrough seemed to understand the reality of the struggle in the music business. “From things like Napster two things happen: people who were selling old stuff went out of business and the artists are making less and less money,” he said.

“So with all of this new technology, it’s having a negative effect on a small population, but those are the people that make the music,” Chesebrough explained.

Does easy access to music for the public mean a depleting music industry? We can only hope this isn’t the case.

It’s common to understand that college students don’t have nearly as much spending money as they would like to.

All the while, it’s hard to remember that these artists we love were not always generous enough to willingly give their music away for free.


Rebecca Farr can be contacted at

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