While much of the discussion about peer–to–peer concerns mainstream music, a "former music buyer" has written an open letter to the recording industry from the perspective of a underground metal fan. The letter is particularly interesting since it touches on many of the issues faced by fans of music that might not be stocked in every retail store, and the benefits of peer–to–peer for underground artists.

As the buyer explains:

Where would I have found out about [some] bands and made a decision to purchase their album online (because no record store that I have found in Canada carries either one). [..] However, I have yet to see their new album sold in any store in Canada, and I ultimately had to buy a copy from a UK website. Considering the only place I had heard about this album was having downloaded it fdo you really expect anyone to make this kind of effort to buy an album without ever having heard it?

I listen to some things that I don't like, and consequently, I don't buy those albums. What I do like, I buy, or at least I used to, before your decision intended to stop me from hearing new music.

It does raise some good questions, and also covers one of the more ambiguous aspects of the entire file sharing debate. Do people who download music that they like become buyers of that music or are they simply downloading to avoid paying the fair price for the album? Or, to put it another way, does downloading help or hinder independent and underground music?

You can check out the letter here.