One of my earliest memories is of wriggling up onto my father’s organ bench and clumsily banging the keys, attempting to emulate the structured, melodic sounds my dad could create with ease out of the bulky instrument. This must have been a seminal event as music went on to play an integral role in my life. Whether it was teaching myself to play bass in order to join a dreadful junior high punk band, picking up the electric guitar late in high school, obsessed with mastering the guitar solos I listened to over and over, or recording music during college breaks with my talented younger brother in the makeshift recording studio we built in our parents’ garage, music became and remains a passion. I feel unparalleled joy and excitement when I create and replicate music, and despite the constant responsibilities and preoccupations typical of undergraduate life, spending time playing musical instruments always finds its way into my schedule. It would be safe to say that for me, playing music and continually improving my musical ability are truly ends in and of themselves.
At the same time, as I pursued my college studies I began to realize that a career in law would be conducive to my personality, abilities, and interests. While my classmates in a constitutional law class bemoaned having to read yet another case, I found myself genuinely interested to see just how the justices exercised their judgments and the reasoning they used to arrive at their conclusions. Likewise, taking multiple political theory courses further drew me towards the law, as I thoroughly appreciated the complexity and painstaking detail used by the great thinkers in formulating their arguments. My interest in argument structures, coupled with my strong interpersonal and leadership skills, as exemplified by my success as a sales team leader, solidified my decision to pursue a legal career.
It was only natural that music would also be part of that decision. I watched the music industry undergo a massive paradigm shift during my childhood and teens, as recorded music became increasingly accessible; where once I had to save money to purchase entire CDs and play them repeatedly on my oversized disc player, now I could download individual songs to my iPod instantly. This download culture also paralleled an increased ease of access to recording equipment which had previously been available to only a select few, underscored notably in my personal experience by the fully functional, yet inexpensive, recording studio my brother and I built. (Now) Bands not only record their own music, but self-promote and encourage free downloads to increase their fan bases. Due to these recent trends recording companies face record losses due to illegal downloads and have struggled to make profits since the Napster revolution.
I am intrigued by the legal implications of this shift in music distribution, as it has produced several controversial questions pertaining to the music industry. Are major record labels still relevant when artists can thrive on their own or through independent labels? Do websites incur liability for promoting the sharing of copyrighted property, and if so, how much? Do search engines like Google incur liability for directing people to these sites? Most importantly, should it be legal for individuals to download music off of the internet without paying? Having gone through the painstaking recording process multiple times as a bass player in a band, I can attest to the amount of work that an artist must put into an album and can understand how frustrating it must be to see this work simply taken for free. On the other hand, there are also many musicians who feel suffocated artistically by their record label, preferring to gain more loyal fans at the cost of lower record sales; I have been to many concerts where the artists themselves exhorted the crowd to download their album illegally for just this reason. And of course the music industry cannot continue to survive in its present form without fair and economically viable answers to these questions.
Pondering questions such as these, I appreciate just how integral the law is for protecting artists’ work and record company interests. While this appreciation sharpened my focus towards the legal profession during my undergraduate studies, I also realized that if music was going to be involved in my professional career, it would most likely be in the form of the constantly evolving business side of music. Music will always be a huge part of my life and has sparked an enthusiasm to study law and pursue a legal career.
(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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