The Effects of Pandora Radio on the Levels of Illegal Downloads and Media Piracy

Music piracy is a serious issue in today’s society. People all over the world are downloading hundreds of songs a month and have entire libraries of illegally downloaded music. Downloading music illegally off of convertor websites, like “YouTube to MP3”, are easy to use and allow users to download music free of charge. The largest demographic that illegally downloads music is college students. College students are paying $20,000 in state and up to $45,000 out of state to attend school. The amount of money college students put into attending a university can take an entire life time to pay off. Most college students try their best to cut out unnecessary purchases from their budget in the hopes to save up to pay off/for college. Although it sounds crazy, now that iTunes has jacked up their price per song to $1.29, fewer people are going to iTunes to obtain music. In a review on a popular tech blog, it was stated the revenues were still increasing at 8% post iTunes price increase but this is compared to 20% increase from the previous  year (“Duh: Raise Music Prices”). The decrease in revenue is proof that more people are turning to illegal ways to quench their thirst for music. Such means of illegally downloading music are using convertor websites and downloading burnt CDs. When people illegally download songs and burn CDs they will proceed to share them among their peers, this is called “peer-to-peer sharing” (Vandiver 94).

Peer influence is one of the major causes of college student’s level of illegal downloading. In a Criminal Justice Study done by SameerIngram Hinduja, it was proven after a study done on a sample of 2000 university students that “real-life” peers had the strongest effect on the impulse to illegally download music (Hinduja 20). As a college student, it is easy to notice how prevalent the illegal downloading population is. Students constantly rave about how they downloaded a really great album for free and can’t wait to get the rest of the band’s music illegally. But, you also find the students who are die-hard fans that strictly illegally download select songs by a specific artists due to the live quality of a YouTube video or a track that isn’t listed on iTunes. Motivations vary across all college campuses as to why we illegally download music in the hopes to curb piracy and provide bands with the money they deserve.


A common way that students do fulfill their musical desires in a radio format legally is by the means of Pandora Radio Station. Kelly Neon, a writer for the Computers & Applied Sciences Complete, describes Pandora as a popular iPhone and computer application that provides a personalized radio station that adjusts to a listener’s original request and specific responses to suggested songs. Pandora is a successful spin off of the boring FM radio and selecting specific songs on your iPod. Dominic Paschel, the VP for Pandora Radio, says that the suggestions that Pandora’s algorithms supply are finely tuned by using up to 450 characteristics that songs possess.



       For any college student on the go, using Pandora Radio as your choice of music provider makes sense. In a tweet by a college student, Jonathan Williams or @_Jwill_WFU, he raves about Pandora and says, “Stations like Pandora and YouTube are probably one of the best things that has happened for a college student”. The excitement and hype about Pandora Radio is real and well deserved.  Pandora prides itself in anticipating what you want to listen to and providing a song that fits your mood while introducing you to new music. If college students were to use Pandora and stop illegally sharing and downloading songs, the levels of piracy would undoubtedly decrease.

Works Cited

Hinduja, SameerIngram, Jason R. “Social Learning Theory And Music Piracy: The Differential Role Of Online And Offline Peer Influences.” Criminal Justice Studies 22.4 (2009): 405-420. Legal Collection. Web. 3 Dec. 2013.

“Pandora Media, Inc. At Telsey Advisory Group 4Th Annual Fall Consumer Conference – Final.” Fair Disclosure Wire (Quarterly Earnings Reports) (n.d.): Newspaper Source Plus. Web. 20 Nov. 2013.

Vandiver, Donna M., Scott Bowman, and Armando Vega. “Music Piracy Among College Students: An Examination Of Low Self-Control, Techniques Of Neutralization, And Rational Choice.” Southwest Journal Of Criminal Justice 8.2 (2012): 92-111. Criminal Justice Abstracts. Web. 3 Dec. 2013.

Williams, Jonathan (_Jwill_WFU). “Stations like Pandora and YouTube are probably one of the best things that has happened for a college student.” 9 December 2013, 2:06 a.m. Tweet.


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