You've Got Music!

Record companies, hearing disaster, are desperate to keep their wares from being pirated off the Internet

A music mogul should love this picture: frat boys and their dates at the University of North Dakota dancing on a beer-slick living-room floor to music blaring over a p.a. system. They are, after all, the music business's target demographic--18-to-24- year-olds in touch with the trends, loving the latest tunes. Yet this archetypal collegiate partyscape has turned into a music-biz nightmare. That's because no one is paying for the music.

Jason Zotaley, a 19-year-old pledge, downloaded the dance jams for free over the Internet. Zotaley estimates he has 1,300 songs on his computer, everything from classics by Van Morrison to the...

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