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We Love Your Songs.com


13th Nov

The Truth About Piracy (Part 1)




Gone are the days of swashbuckling, buccaneering, bloodthirsty, plundering and nonsensical looting. It is instead, the dawn of the day of 4G networks and superfast here and now internets webbed together not by venomous arachnids but the assembly of devices that tout data and information seamlessly from our fingertips to the doorstep of the global village, gangnam style.

Pirates have quite clearly evolved over the years and if you are a budding talented “creat-a-thing” then look away now because you will soon realise how easy it is for your hard work to quite literally walk the plank. The folks here at WeLoveYourSongs have not been venturing across the seven seas in search of shiny nuggets but we have perused the www to find out whether you should really fear the threat of a pirate or embrace it. My first stop is the infamous and notorious, The Pirate Bay and I’m greeted by the skull and bones insignia. Is it too late to turn back, well here goes; I am a big fan of that Batman fellow and frankly believe that as far as cinema is concerned The Dark Knight is the greatest film of our generation. It turns out that so do 20 million other unknowns. I am immediately cast in smug as my point feels made but now keen to find out how many people exactly paid to watch it in the cinema (three times I coughed up for me) and buy the dvd/blue-ray disc. A whooping 1 billion dollars at the box office, sold almost 18 million discs and punters have spent nearly 300 million dollars on those discs. That is a staggering statistic but I can’t help but feel that the same sales may not have been achieved if the pirates did not have a hand in getting the word around as to how brilliant the film was. In short this is a true example of how sharing and giving out your music can make people aware of a genuinely good product. Why can’t the product be your next EP or album.

The nature of illegal downloading makes it extremely difficult to track its full extent, but the study's findings are fully conclusive in at least one regard; piracy remains a massive issue. It is an issue for business models and affects session musicians, accountants, executives, clerks, PR reps, lawyers and many other non-performing roles in the music industry. Surely you don’t want to be responsible for job losses do you? But artists like Nelly Furtado, Ed Sheeran, Lady Gaga, Neil Young, Norah Jones and Shakira argue that gigging out and touring more than makes up for the losses that would have come from piracy. Now if such musical heavyweights who are at the core of the business models burdened with lawyers, accountants and so forth take such an approach it maybe lending common to sense that a budding musician understands this dynamic and makes it a part and parcel of their overall strategy to dominate the world with their new sound.

But aren’t there other ways to give out free stuff and how exactly is this different. The interesting point on all piracy discussions and debates is; when, with the throng of the digital age now upon us in full measure, does one separate the difference between for arguments sake, youtube and filesharing websites. A spokesman for Google said: "We continue to work closely with the industry to protect rights holders and their material. Sites with high numbers of removal notices are now more likely to appear lower in our results, we've made it easier to report pirated material and now take down more than seven million infringing links per month." It seems that Google Inc, the parent company of free video sharing site, Youtube is trying to hint that it really is not their problem what people do with their digital content available on their fingertips. After further investigation I found out that the enforcement of copyright is the responsibility of the copyright holder. If that is how the law feels then it is obvious that those with the most to lose, the lawyers accountants and so forth, have decided to share a bed with those who have the power to turn things around. Those who hold the power to revolve things. Those in whose hands lie an impending revolution.

I will look at how you can use piracy to springboard your own music career in next weeks’ part 2.


Article written by Shingirai Kaserera. You can follow him at @sugaspott

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