Digital recording consists of creating or recording music in binary numbers that can be interpreted as sound. Beyond this scientific language, it first means that you can diffuse a digitally recorded song more easily and stored many songs using only minimal storage (especially since the invention of MP3).
It is sometimes better than the past music compression file types. But better quality and storage does not necessarily mean better music. To clarify, some people think that we cannot really rediscover the soul of an instrument, and the chemistry that exists between a musician and his instrument. Indeed, the stored signal does not have anything to do with the original signal, and a 100% virtual sound can loose its authenticity (Stairway To Heaven by Led Zeppelin for instance would sound better left unanalyzed).
But the most important issue is that the Internet revolution has permitted a huge dissemination of songs, and has created some conflicts regarding the privacy rules. The multiplication of laws in Europe and United States like SOPA and PIPA had aroused a lot of reactions and brings the debate to center stage. Because beyond the freedom to share simple files, there is a real right defended by the active members of the Internet’s cause.
Art and commerce always have and always will have an ambiguous relationship. But the record labels want to save a business in decline and are not ready to give in to the hands of internets activists who advocate total freedom and free everything. So the goal is to combine the interests of everyone, perhaps reducing the influence of the Big Four record labels and reinforcing independent labels, originally stifled by the first ones.
It is understandable that some artists want to protect their songs and live with their music to continue to record CD’s and perform in shows.