Truth to Power time: If you’re seriously going to enjoy all the fruits of an independent artist’s labor without contributing anything back, I believe you need to reexamine your life choices.
It’s one thing to want to listen to a new band’s music first to see if you like it, it’s another thing to NEVER buy their music after pirating it. Artists provide a service to you. Yes, it may be expensive at the time, but there must be a point and time that you will have the spare change to get together to buy an album. Just because the internet has created a feeling of owed immediacy does not mean it’s morally or ethically correct to just pirate music that you can’t afford at the moment.
There are many free online services that allow you to listen to a wide range of bands ENTIRE discography while the band still gets a kick back from your listens *COUGH* SPOTIFY*COUGH*. Hell. While I’m at home or working, I’ll still kick on a band’s album that I own so that they get a few more cents in their account using that service.
In the end, take the time to consider that artists of all sorts are hard working individuals or groups that work to entertain you.
And knowing is half the battle!