I know that taping music back in the day, and downloading it from the web today are both illegal, but... I do think there is a discussion to be had here.

Let me explain... Today, I own six of Joe Bonamassa's LPs, but until a few years ago I had never heard of him. Then one day I was at home alone for a weekend as I was tasked with swapping Joel's bedroom with our office which involved a lot of decorating, installing shelves &  moving furniture etc.

Whilst busy with that, I was streaming a UK rock station, and in the middle of one of their 30 minute non-stop segments I had to stop and just listen to one particular track that blew me away.

It turned out I had just heard Different Shades Of Blue (the title track of the same album) and I was immediately hooked. I then listened to loads of Bonamassa's stuff on YouTube and downloaded a fair bit too. This directly led me to buying his albums  at any given opportunity, and to date I have six complete gems of his on the hallowed black plastic.

The question then is this: was it really so bad to illegally download his stuff?

If I hadn't, I doubt very much I would own so many of his albums today. Though I should add that I have replaced all my illegal downloads with bona-fide ones. However, it was those downloads that led directly to some album sales for the artist.

This also happened for me with Elbow, I heard them play two songs on Later With Jools Holland, after which I downloaded a few of their songs and now own two of their albums on vinyl, which again, I probably wouldn't have, had I not first downloaded a few of their tracks. I have also replaced my dowloads with bona-fide ones.

I guess to a certain extent that downloading from YouTube etc is the 21st Century equivalent of home taping which was apparently killing music back in the day. Yes, I know it's illegal, but it's also a great way to explore the online world of music and check out whether a band is worth investing in or not. Or am I just trying to justify criminal behaviour?

For a free & completely legal Bonamassa download visit his website.

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