I (actually) bought the album!
Think back ten years. Heck, maybe 15 years.
Back then, if a new band had a hit single, people went to the record store and bought the CD. That's how I ended up with Tubthumper by Chumbawamba and Fush Yu Mang by Smash Mouth. I probably paid $17.99 each for those CDs. When I realized that both of those albums kind of stunk (except for the singles), I grumbled a bit. But what could I do?
When the Internet blew up, everything was turned upside down ...
Now, since you can illegally download albums for free, you don't have to buy the album. Buying the album has become a badge of honor -- almost a trendy way to say, "I support this band." That boggles my mind a bit.
Think about it -- in 10-odd years, we went from buying albums for almost $20 each without even batting an eye to only buying the album if we really like the group. This is especially prevalent in indie music circles. Music snobs used to brag about having the new album by some unheard of band. Now, they brag about buying the album to support some unheard of band.
But people do the same thing with mainstream acts. I've had people, in casual conversation, mention that they actually bought the new album by U2 or another huge group.
Sure, more people buy mp3s legally then they used to a few years ago. But a ton of people still rip music illegally. Bands -- especially upcoming bands -- have to make money touring and selling merchandise instead of selling albums. It's still hard for me to believe that in a few short years, we went from spending $20 to buy an album without batting an eye to making a thing of buying the album to support the band.