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Music Piracy: 'Adapt or Die...'

Published: 18 Sep 12, 09:41am  |  Author: Katy Miller

Studies by Musicmetric have shown the UK to be the second biggest nation of music piracy culprits. This has led to a 'call of action' by music industry moguls, but is this really the right thing to do?

If you have recently been to the cinema, before the show starts you will be met with an advert about film piracy. Often with terrifying content, it will lead you to believe that those who illegally purchase or record films, qualify for the fiery depths of Dante’s hell. The same could be said of those who illegally download music, labelled as 'pirates' and said to be stealing money from musicians, the record industry, and contributing to the normalisation of theft.

A study conducted by monitoring service Musicmetric and recently reported by the BBC, shows that in the UK  there are more illegal downloads then there are legal ones.

Top of the most pirated artist list was Ed Sheeran, whose 2011 album ‘+’, was illegally downloaded on average 55,512 times a month!

And a total of 40 million albums and singles were being illegally downloaded in the first half of 2012.

Measures are now being taken to try and stop this, including the blocking of popular piracy websites, and the removal of search results from Google, but with so many people illegal downloading it’s hard to believe that such methods would put a stop to it. But perhaps it might be more beneficial to ask why it is happening in the first place?

The rumour of Bruce Willis’s case against ITunes, brought to light the issue of ownership and digital products. According to Rolling Stone blogger Oscar Raymundo, when purchasing music on ITunes, you are, ‘paying for the license to listen to the song on an Apple device, you are not purchasing the song itself.’

This could lead you to ask, ‘why pay for something I don’t actually own, when I can get it for free and share it with all my friends?’

The reason why such a fuss is being made, is that of course the big players in the music industry are losing out. But with the expansion of the Internet and the normalisation of illegal downloads, they appear to be fighting a losing battle.

As Rizzle Kicks commented, It’s adapt or die in the music industry,’ and that statement has perhaps never been more true.  Trying to force out music piracy will not work, it is far too wide spread, and there are not enough incentives to obtain music downloads legally – perhaps it’s time for the music industry to accept defeat and try and acclimatise!

The times are changing, and it looks like the record industry will just have to roll with it, and accept that now the money lies with gigs, concerts and merchandise, is that so bad? Why shouldn't we go back to our roots, get rid of the suited middle man, and bring the artists back to their audiences? 

And please let us know what you think in the comments box below!

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About Katy Miller

Katy has been working at DG Music since July 2012, and is in charge of Web and Blog content. She graduated from Oxford Brookes last summer with a degree in music, and will be undertaking a Masters in Popular Music Research this September.

View all posts by Katy Miller →

3 Comments to “Music Piracy: 'Adapt or Die...'”

There's a quote going round allegedly from Dave Grohl about piracy that sums it up perfectly.

"I think it's a good idea because it's people trading music. It has nothing to do with industry or finance, it's just people that want music and there's nothing wrong with that. It's the same as someone turning on the ******* radio, it's the same as someone putting a cassette in a cassette deck when the BBC plays a special radio session. I don't think it's a crime, it's been going on for years. It's the same as people making tapes for each other. The industry is more threatened by it because it's the worldwide web and it's a broader scope of trading, but I don't think it's such a ******* horrible thing. The first thing we should do is get all the ******* millionaires to shut their mouths, stop bitching about the 25 cents a time they're losing."

I think the music industry has exploited consumers for far too long now and people are sick of it. The whole reason musicians get in to the industry is because they love performing, not hiding behind a platinum disc. That goes the same for fans. Who have you ever heard say "Oh no, I much prefer to listen to recorded tracks than live".

So if piracy, and internet services like Spotify, forces musicians back on to the road, back to what music used to be, then so may it continue

Yes, to me it makes sense! I have a spotify account, so I rarely buy music now, but it's having the freedom to listen to EVERYTHING that gets me interested in bands and so more likely to buy gig tickets. The internet is taking over, and I don't think much can stop downloads now so more thought needs to be put into merchandise, live concerts and festivals.

I love that artists have to earn by getting back on stage and touring around so people all over can listen. It's part of what it's all about, it's a rush for us and them. I'm not sure how true it is that they weren't already doing that before, I don't know the figures. However I recently went and saw Coldplay and the gig was AMAZING. The arts are what keep us going.

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