Digital Piracy Vs. The Music Industry [Infographic]

Online Piracy in the Music Industry

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There’s been much written and said recently about online piracy, especially after Congress launched an ill-advised attempt to blackout much of the web with the infamous SOPA and PIPA laws. We thought it was a perfect time to investigate one of the main focal points of debate: the effects of digital piracy on the music industry.

What are your opinions on music piracy?

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Tags: digital piracy, infographic, PIPA, SOPA

  • Trevin

    I think the music industry is actually to blame for their lack of adaptability. Markets & technology both change rapidly and instead of coming up with an innovative way to use file sharing technology and the web to their advantage, they use their resources to hire lobbyist and bully politicians into changing the law.

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  • marcus

    thanks for posting the sources of the info too! lots of interesting info in those studies!

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  • While the jury is still out on how much it affects the industry (it’s speculative and there are many variables that, just like the evidence on second hand smoke as a cause for cancer), though I think it boils down to people’s value system on the whole matter: do people really considering file-sharing and ”illegal” downloading as theft or not?

    You can argue until you’re blue about the need for the industry to adapt, it being a big deal or not a big deal, piracy helping artists or hurting them, the entertainment industry freaking out about blank tapes, etc. but to me, it really comes down to this: does the possesion and use of a creative work belong to the artist or not? Should the decision of something being shared belong to the artist or the user?

    That’s the real issue and the one that no one seems to really talk about.

  • Dee

    I disagree with Trevin. I work for Indie Artist and they are more than willing to work with LEGITIMATE file sharing services. They give away thousands of free downloads on their websites and social media sites, sign up with services stream their music for free. And their payment are people who would go to a site like Limewire and download a low quality ‘free’ copy of their song rather than give iTunes a buck. Making music is not free, cheap or easy but yet people think they should get it for free. I don’t know of any other profession where people are expected to work on their job for free. There needs to be some sort of protection of the artists music and rights without violating the the rights of other internet users.

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  • Shane Jones

    @Dee,I feel like another thing to consider is that this argument over piracy is subject to a lot of conditions. The value for a small indie label, or DIY artist is a lot more about Brand exposure, which in my eyes, piracy helps a lot! And I would also consider these type of musicians to be more “savvy” in terms of community outreach. So in a way I feel like piracy actually benefits them significantly. It’s usually these type of bands that are trying to extend their reach, and build larger audiences at their shows, which is where they will see the revenue, but I agree with Trevin in that, the big artists, who have a lot of money to push around in the Industry should focus on adapting instead of relying on law suits, high priced CD sales,and extensive use of merchandise. As an artist myself, I would consider working for free for the value of a new fan.

  • Sources: RIAA and IFPI. LOL.

  • Joseph Anderson

    With regards to music piracy and from an ethical standpoint, I believe an artist has every right to be angry and seek legal action when their recordings are unwillingly sold for profit or bootlegged by a shady record label or download site. It’s the intellectual property of the artist, who typically writes and composes their own songs. Not to mention, the artist has developed their own way of performing a song, which is documented within the recording.

    In 2011, a judge ruled in favor of singer Paul Collins, whose rock group The Beat lost substantial revenue from a series of unauthorized bootleg recordings released by an underground record label. The recordings were unknowingly engineered during The Beat’s tours with The Police, Eddie Money and The Cure. Although the label argued that the recordings were tracked and mixed by an independent investor during the 1970s and 1980s, Collins was unaware of these dealings and was awarded an unspecified amount of damages. Collins was granted permission to digitally re-master and officially release the live recordings. In response to backlash and negative publicity from fans accusing him of being greedy, Collins attempted to make a public statement about piracy. In 2012, Collins made the recordings available to everyone as free MP3 download tracks to fans worldwide.

    Some fans might argue that Metallica was selfish to target Napster for illegally offering their music as MP3s. In all fairness, not everyone victimized by piracy are platinum-selling, wealthy artists in the caliber of Metallica. Paul Collins had just as much right to take legal action, but he turned the negative situation into a positive one by publicly releasing the pirated material as free downloads to his fans. Case in point, not all rock stars are selfish or “only in it for the money.” Musicians have a right to be paid for their intellectual property. People who support music piracy only think about themselves. If a musician isn’t being paid for their work, how are they supposed to continue recording, writing, performing and touring? Musicians aren’t slaves and if they aren’t making enough money to function, then they might choose a different career path that doesn’t involve making music.