Any form of idea or art piece is considered intellectual property. Whether you steal it with intent to take credit for it or not there is no viable reason it should be allowable. Music falls under art therefore there's really no further reason to consider it anything but wrong. Simple.
There are seemingly an endless stream of arguments justifying why it is warranted to download music without payment. Here are but a few (and analogies):
1. The record companies already make too much money: Automakers make a great deal of money building cars, but that doesn't mean you can take one from the lot without paying. Furthermore, 90% of labels are small independents anyways, not major.
2. Music is too expensive and the poor deserve to enjoy music too: Cars are expensive for the poor, but that doesn't mean they can have one for free.
3. Everything on the Internet is free anyways: just because your friend stole a car doesn't mean you are justified in doing so as well.
4. Music is fun and as such artists should fund themselves: Designing a car is probably more fun than working on the assembly line, but does that mean the designer should work for free?
5. The people who download music for free are those who purchase the most music anyways: perhaps, but buying three cars then stealing a fourth isn't exactly ethical.
6. I want to listen to the track before I purchase it: most music now can be previewed as many times as one likes in its entirety anyways: You can test drive any car you like, but that doesn't mean you can take it home and park it in your garage for 10 years without paying.
7. Music betters mankind, therefore it should be available to all: should a doctor or farmer or sanitation worker provide their services for free because their efforts are for the overall good?
As a side note, I am a composer who uses traditional notation. Anyone is welcome into my home and can look (listen) to anything in my house all they like for free. But taking a music score from my desk when I am not looking, scanning it, printing it and distributing to the world and then returning it to my table without me noticing is fundamentally wrong. In actuality, it doesn't bother me if people download and share music illegally, provided they are willing to admit that they are taking something without permission (and are thus a thief). I respect honesty, not delusional rationalization. I don't know why music seems to be the primary target of this frantic rationalization, however. Perhaps this is because it is a little harder to steal a car I guess and easier to look at yourself in the mirror afterwards.
The question isn't specific enough. I know what its asking, but let me offer a few facts. If the music is free, no its not illegal to download it. There are plenty of bands and independent artists that make music for free. There our entire websites for it. There's also free sound sites, for making movies or projects. You don't need to pay or get permission to use them. But let's add the fact that the music you downloaded without payment or permission, is not owned by you in anyway. (because downloading your own song without payment/any real permission isn't wrong either.) In the eyes of the U.S Government, stealing psychical property is NOT LEGALLY the same as stealing a song off youtube. All those car stealing metaphors the person used is not a proper analogy to use. The US government is pretty particular about the wording of it's criminal code; if copyright infringement were theft, they'd call it theft. http://www.unc.edu/~unclng/public-d.htm There's an interesting site to explain when music works are for the public domain. I'm pretty sure no one pays for certain classical pieces despite, the, now dead, creators giving no permission to use them, and they didn't say their pieces were free either. Just further pointing out how the question isn't specific enough. No one can enforce you to stop downloading music. A thief can be thrown in jail. However, you can still be sued by the creators. Because it is illegal. http://falkvinge.net/2012/06/01/if-filesharing-is-theft-then-itunes-is-extortion/ Here's another site. Not exactly saying the question is 100% wrong or right. Just like to bring up a few points these two missed.
Downloading music illegally, is still stealing whether you like it or not. It's like saying you want stole a person's heart. No matter how much small the heart is, it's still important to the person who owned it cause it's the only reason the person lived in the first place.
I think downloading a song without payment is not stealing if the website offering the song is acknowledged in the song, and especially when it is not going to be used for commercial purposes. Instead of focusing on whether it is a crime or not, musicians should rather protect their pieces from being duplicated on other websites.
First off, if you're a nine-year-old kid, you're not going to know what the term "illegal file sharing" means. When they're searching for music online, they just want something to put on their iPod. They don't care about the monetary value that song has to the artist(s) that created it. Now, if you're someone like myself (21 years old), that's a different story, but I put the word "thief" very mildly, because you're not stealing the entire song (ie: a song can be downloaded 10,000 times by 10,000 different people). It's more of an injustice to the person that worked hard to create that work. And sure, you could argue that many of these artists are already getting money anyways (concerts, royalties, etc.), but think about the smaller groups and bands that don't get that exposure. Those are the people you could be taking hard-earned money away from. I know people are going to have mixed opinions on this; music is music as far as I see it.