I am a member of the pirate generation. When I arrived at college in 1997, I had never heard of an MP3. By the end of my first term, I had filled my 2GB hard drive with hundreds of bootlegged songs. By graduation, I had six 20GB drives, all full. By 2005, when I moved to New York, I had collected 1,500GB of music, nearly 15,000 albums worth. It took an hour just to cue up my library, and if you ordered the songs alphabetically by artist, you’d have to listen for a year and a half to get from Abba to ZZ Top.
As I was browsing through my enormous list of albums one day a few years ago, a fundamental question struck me: where had all this music come from, anyway? I didn’t know the answer, and as I researched it, I realised that no one else did either. There had been heavy coverage of the MP3 phenomenon and of Apple, Napster and the Pirate Bay, but there had been little talk of the inventors and almost none at all of those who actually pirated the files.
Complete article (it really worths a read): “Going for a song: the hidden history of music piracy”, Stephen Witt, The Guardian.