As I see it, that isn't exactly the issue, per se. Small musicians need to be supported, but then what are the chances that you'll even have enough seeds to torrent their material? You have to pretty much buy them from their websites. As I see it, the music I torrented isn't "stolen". It doesn't represent a lost sale. It's like receiving a copy of the book I'd never have paid for. And what's more, creating more digital copies of the same song costs them nothing. You reap what you sow. If you want to make money off mass producing your music digitally at no cost, then why are you surprised when it's pass around and downloaded- at no cost? Are we stealing if we're not paying to look at some artist's work? Or painting copies of that work to keep for ourselves? Or taking high res pictures of the work and making prints to decorate our walls with? The only sure way to make money off your work is to have gigs. Would you demand that people be charged if somebody made a great recording of your music and put it on torrent? Usually, if I like the music or the artist enough, I do end up supporting them in some way, such as buying anthologies, etc. With "throwaway artists", I wouldn't even be listening to their stuff if it's physically impossible to torrent it.I will occasionally use torrents, but only as a last resort. I prefer to download free directly from the internet, buy online, or watch streaming (depending on the type of media). I can't have torrent clients on my laptop while I'm at school, anyhow.
utorrent and thepiratebay are pretty solid.
As for ethics, musicians are overpaid anyway.