Music Piracy: What is the big deal?

To be honest, I’m not that big a fan of music. I don’t dislike music; it is just that it has never been a big deal to me. If tomorrow people stopped creating music, it wouldn’t bother me, there is already more than enough in the world as it is, why do we even need any more?

It is perhaps this bias that has had me wondering why music piracy should be such a big deal. Music labels argue that they have lost so much money because of how easy it is to illegally distribute music via the internet. I don’t question for a second the ease internet makes music distribution, what I do question is why music companies are relying on revenue through the sale of music in the first place.

Music should be free. The notion of a user paying for an individual song that they can own and play just seems ridiculous to me. Music singles should be considered advertising. They are promoting the band, increasing interest in the product. The product however is NOT the individual song.

I’m not going to pretend to understand the intricacies of the music industry from a business point of view, but it seems clear to me that you can’t sustain a business if you’re relying on selling something that is easy to obtain for nothing.

Surely bands make more money when they tour; assuming of course they have a decent fan base. Artists can make money through licensing revenue such as when their music is featured on television, video games or other media that is more easily sold and can generate its own revenue. An argument to this is; what about the small bands starting out? My answer to that is simple; we don’t need that many of them in first place. It’s perhaps time that less people even try to eke a living as musicians.

The market should only exist for the truly good acts, ones that are able to sustain profitability through the above sources. If, at the end of the day we lost 70% of the commercial musical artists tomorrow, I would say good riddance. The fringe acts can’t make much of a living anyway, and those that do probably make their money from performing, and you know what? They can still do that.

It seems to me the problem is more that the music industry is used to having a fat cash cow with music sales, but the simple fact is, the cow is dead, it’s time to change. It’s not a question of whether or not they should change, because that ship has sailed – the music business landscape has changed and will never be the same again. I can get music for free (if I cared to), so stop charging me for it.

3 Replies to “Music Piracy: What is the big deal?”

  1. It’s only a matter of time before all bands will give away music online for free. Online file sharing has changed the rules, and slowly the music industry is catching up.
    The market for only “good acts” is never going to happen though. Music is an art, and everyone who picks up an instrument wants to express their self to the world. The glimmer of hope to become rich and famous doing this will always be alive as long as there are still some people who make it big…

  2. I agree with your statement that people will always try to make a living with music, however I think that when the business changes to the point where the business is no longer supported the sale of music as discernible “items” for individuals to purchase, it will mean that record labels will have to change the criteria they use to select performers to “invest” in, and this will likely result in less “fringe” artists and more broadly popular artists, which is what I mean when I say “good acts”.

    That said, I’m all for people trying, and more importantly distributing their music online for free.

  3. I think music companies have the most to lose, not artists. And the music companys still have enough power to make a lit of noise, but their influence is waning. They unfortunately clung to their outdated business model for a little too long, and now seem to be in a downward spiral.

    I actually bu a bit of music on itunes, because find that it’s easier than searching the dregs of the internet for it. But I currently have more money than time. There will always be many people with more time than money and they will (and always have) gone to whatever lengths they can to get stuff for free.

    The interesting thing to me is to watch and see if the same thing happens to movies. Right now most people (in Australia anyway) don’t have enough bandwidth nor download limit to do serious movie downloading. But that’s changing. If they can roll out for-pay options that are more convenient than illegal downloads they can make a new market for their content BEFORE everyone learns how to easily get it for free. I’m not holding my breath though.

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