But it's kind of like making fake money -- no one loses money if you print money, but in the end the value of the money decreases due to inflation. It's the same for music: if enough people just take a free copy, the value of the music decreases. Then the artist and/or record company do not see feasible to produce that artist's music anymore.
Yes, kind of. Only not really at all.
I can print as much fake money as possible and burn it or wallow around on the floor in it and I haven't really devalued the nation's currency at all. Now, if I turn around and try to sell that money to someone as my money, the your analogy holds. However, I can make a copy of a song and listen to it in an infinite loop all day and as long as I never intended to purchase the song in the first place, I haven't devalued the song in any way. (Until such time as I turn around and give or sell it to someone else).
The first content provider who sets up a voluntary "donation page" where you can pay what you think a pirated movie was worth to you, will be seen to "finally get it"... See: Radiohead.
If I could register with an organization and submit donations for movies that I pirated and watched, I would absolutely pay. I still pay my cable bill even though I pirate all of my TV and haven't turned my cable boxes on for over 2 years.