2008’s Most Popular P2P Artists to Pirate

Big Champagne, a market research company that looks at measuring online media, has compiled a list of the most popular artists in the P2P sphere.

So the top twenty are:

1. Sean Kingston
2. The Game
3. Justin Timberlake
4. Kanye West
5 Chris Brown
6. Rick Ross
7. Keyshia Cole
8. Fergie
9. Nickelback
10. 50 Cent
11. Alicia Keys
12. Rihana
13. Usher
14. David Banner
15. Katy Perry
16. MIA
17. Timbaland
18. Carrie Underwood
19. Soulja Bay
20. Flo Rida

As you’d expect, the list is domiated by American acts (what with the US of A being the most active internet hub).

What though is tantalising about this list is the lack of BIG names from the world of rock and pop. Madonna, the ‘Queen of Pop’ comes in at 95 and Michael Jackson, the ‘King of Pop’, is nowhere is to be seen. Led Zeppelin crash in at 94 and Coldplay, one of the biggest selling acts today are only at 72.

The key thing to be looking at, is that these guys who are low down on the list are some of the biggest touring artists in the world. Coldplay, U2 and Oasis, for example, play to hundreds of thousands of fans all over the globe on a regular basis. It is not improbable that this drives CD sales or legal downloads.

A quick look at Sean Kingston’s website tells us that he’s only gigged 23 times this year with a one off show in the UK, a couple in Australia and New Zealand, with the remainder being based in the USA.

American rapper The Game has only gigged 33 times this year, again primarily in the USA, but he has gone to some far away places including Bratislava and Manchester.

Justin Timberlake’s tour diary on the other hand is completely free it appears…

Are these two factors related? I’d suggest so. Granted, this is not a particularly scientific study and has only picked out three artists, but the pattern of not playing live shows and having your music pirated would appear to be justified.

People want to consume music in as many different ways as possible, and live gigs are the now the main money maker for bands – so why aren’t recording artists making the most of this?

We do have to take into acount the record/gig/rest/write/record/gig/rest/write cycle of course, and most of these are recording artists, not touring artists, whose sales probably make up the wealth of a small country.

I would argue then, that to not be affected by online piracy, illegal downloading etc, that an artists needs to make their music as accessible to their public as possible. Not just this, for anyone can go and buy a CD, but artists need to give fans that opportunity to experience the music and feel the emotion LIVE, not through the comfort of the headphones. There is only so many times that you can listen to a song played exactly the same before it becomes wearisome, and a live performance can reinvigorate a tired old song, into something new, fresh and exciting.


3 thoughts on “2008’s Most Popular P2P Artists to Pirate

  1. I think the point you make about the link between a lack of live presence and an increase in associated piracy is an interesting one, but I believe that if there is a correlation, it is because of the lost opportunities to build a stronger artist/fan relationship through the live experience, rather than an increase in piracy if the artist has been ‘off radar’. I feel fans who have been to live performances have stronger connections to the ‘real’ nature of the artist, and appreciate the work more rather than associating the music to a celebrity who is essentially just pictures on a TV screen or in a magazine.

    I think a valid point to make is that the nature of the list above is so strongly dominated by ‘urban’ artists, and more can be said about those most likely to be downloading via P2P. It will sound narrow-minded to be so general about the estimated audience coming from more deprived inner city areas within the United States with less disposable income, but they will often also have grown up with a mixtape culture in which music is often given away free as a promotional drive.

    Hip-hop as a genre will also largely suffer from it’s own perceived decadence. If I were an inner city youth struggling to get by and saw virtually every rap video with the artists surrounded by sports cars in huge mansions, I can imagine a large proportion of the target audience feeling that the artists had enough/too much money as it was, so why should they part with their money to make them even richer.

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