As a creative person (who actually makes some – but not a lot) of money from doing creative work on the internet, I thought I’d just share my reply verbatim.
[Pirating] doesn’t make you a horrible person. It makes you someone who wants to see the things they love go away.
Why? Every second spent on merch (or every second an artist is touring) is a second they can’t be making more of the music and art you love. And that’s not counting the artists (musical or otherwise) who are great at making their art… but crap at touring or creating gear. (Example: Deathmøle. One guy with a [guitar and a] sequencer. Some of the greatest instrumental metal out there, IMHO.)
Experience? Yeah – I’m an author who is also a small publisher (of other people’s work). Doing the publishing stuff has SERIOUSLY cut into my writing time.
Support what you love, or expect it to go away. It’s not me judging, it’s just the way it goes.