How refraining from piracy helped me widen my music horizon.

Piracy is everywhere.

Specially living in a country like India, where laws know no enforcement and people know no iTunes, it is the most common way of procuring digital media. It has been this way for a long time, and will in all likelihood remain this way.

However, I’m not gonna delve into the moral aspect of piracy. I’m gonna write about how piracy helped me listen to more music, rather than limiting my options. Yes, you read that right. Non piracy-ism, if you may, actually helped me increase the variety of music on my iPhone. Interested in knowing how? Read on.

As I write this post, my iPhone lays in my dock, playing music, although legal, I didn’t pay for. The next 10 songs in my playlist are ones I didn’t pay for. Yet, all of them are legal. How? They aren’t famous. Most people are so exposed to commercial Top 40 music and cheap, will-last-only-two-weeks Bollywood music that they are oblivious to the ocean of free legal music available on the interwebs for anyone to enjoy. And honestly, this ocean holds far more treasures than the Top 40 and Bollywood. In the past one year, most of the music I’ve listened to was not very famous but free music. And it was top quality! Better than any of the stuff I listened to before. There was a time when I downloaded the month’s Top 40 from PirateBay and 3 months later I would look at my library only to find music I never listened to after that one month. Now, it’s all different.

What has non piracy-ism got to do with that? At first, I thought I shouldn’t pirate because I was looting the music industry of well deserved money. I started buying music off iTunes and Flipkart Flyte. Eventually, I realised that I can’t go on like this forever!

That was when I discovered 8tracks. It was like a gift from heaven. So many mixes to listen to! And the best part was that most of the mixes contained – as I clicked on the ‘buy from iTunes’ button and got no results only to find them for free on SoundCloud – free songs. Free, legal songs. And they were so much better than the earlier ‘Top’ 40 I was used to.

Since then, I have not pirated a single song – save for Two Door Cinema Club’s ‘Something Good Can Work’ as it was not available on the Indian iTunes Store. I have been listening to free music, discovered through the lovely 8tracks app. And I’m absolutely loving it.

Overall, what started off as a moral choice, now has become a music choice. I still do buy the occasional paid song I discover on 8tracks, but for the most part all the music on my iPhone is free and legal.

8tracks is available on Windows Phone (where I originally discovered it), Android and iOS for free.

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