One of my favorite things is to explore really large music torrents. Huge collections of music that someone, somewhere has put together in torrent form, and then let loose upon a curious world with the blessing of the seeders.
Blessed be the seeders.
The thing about these torrents is that they include music I probably haven't heard before. And, more importantly, music I most likely won't ever hear about from other sources. Yet now, suddenly, it appears in front of my ears by means of serendipitous networking.
A key part of this is the exploring aspect. I'm not merely going through the motions of old musical preferences - I'm actively taking part in an exploratory effort to see just what this next piece of music might be about. More often than not, I have no idea what I'm about to hear, and this opens up the possibility of being positively surprised.
I can already hear someone wanting to interject. What about the artists? How will they get paid? How can I justify this blatant act of piracy?
To which I reply - what of it? More often than not, I've never even heard of the artists I discover, and any argument that they are somehow missing out falls flat due to the fact that I am not likely to buy something I have absolutely no knowledge of.
Knowing about things is - believe it or not - somewhat of a prerequisite for taking action in regards to these things.
There real question should be something more along the lines of: how will the artists I and my peers never get a chance to hear/know get paid?
So don't judge me and my musical explorations. Help me out instead. Seed the torrents that are out there, compile new collections for me to discover, and give people easy ways to help their favorite artists out once the discovery has been made.
Because people will discover new favorites. And they will want to make some sort of contribution to them, if and when given a chance to do so.
But only if and when.