Piracy: Pushing Music Forward
I came across this and it got me thinking about piracy and digital distribution in general.
With so many established artists out there that listeners know they are going to enjoy, why would they necessarily take a risk spending their money on some new or unknown artist who is ultimately a musical gamble?
The digital revolution has certainly pulled the rug out from under the music industry as it existed, but I believe that it is now laying the groundwork for something far more exciting. Artists, I’ve noticed, are accepting this more and more (it’s always been the labels that were resistant), but too few artists are wholeheartedly embracing it, truly making their music available to anyone who wants it for little more than an email address in return.
I simply see the concept of free high quality music as something that as yet to be fully capitalized on.
Here’s what I wrote in response to the posted video:
From the unsigned musicians’ standpoint, I think piracy has done wonderful things. All of a sudden, the giants are on the same level as the garage band. Because of the ability to download music (whether you pay for it or not), the band next door is just as available as the artists in the top 40.
Also, considering that there are so many musicians out there that simply want to get their music out to the world, with only the faintest dreams of ever surviving solely on the money that it will bring in, “piracy” gets it quickly and efficiently out to anyone who wants it.
To be completely honest, I’m genuinely shocked that more artists have yet to simply give their music away digitally (like Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails) in order to develop an even greater fan base who will opt to spend money on other merchandise that can’t be downloaded, such as live performances or apparel. In the end, that’s where the artists are making the money anyway. With the statutory rate at $.091, and the record labels taking half of that to begin with for owning the masters, the albums barely bring in any real money for the artists after they’ve paid off their expenses. Then split any of that leftover cash between X number of band members, managers, and booking agents and the artists may as well be giving it away in the first place.
But on top of everything else, this will force the musicians to be even more creative and innovative. In a world where, quite literally, any music is available at the listeners fingertips for free, the artists need to make their music standout more than ever before.