Over 70% of music recorded before 1965 cannot be purchased legally in the US
That is a telling number. This is why people share music. Here is another quote from the article:
Sound recordings made after 1972 are protected by federal law. Recordings made before that were covered by state and common law copyright. These laws do not have expiration dates. The Library of Congress study found that 84 percent of recordings from before 1965 cannot be reissued without permission from the copyright holder, which is usually the original record label.
Here is what sucks - there is no LEGAL way to get this music. How many of the people who are trading these old albums would be willing to pay if the music were made available? If people are manually recording these albums into MP3, why couldn't some of these record labels do the same thing (no need to digitally remaster them) and make them available through iTunes or some similar means? I have heard similar problems with stuff released as late as the 80s. No money = no CD and definately to reissue to iTunes.
The record companies complain about piracy, lost sales, blah blah yet they treat their customers like criminals and do not respond to customers' needs. Want to earn some good will? Release some back catalog to MP3. Why not just release some of these old (the pre-1965) recordings to the public domain or creative commons? How much would it cost to have an intern record some of the old records to some kind of loss less format and then convert to MP3? Show your customers you care a little about them.
Technorati: RIAA, MP3
[UPDATE: Fixed the Technorati links]