Blaming Music Pirates Is The Easy Option

Music piracy is crippling the record industry, according to statistics from trade industry body IFPI, the Guardian reported on Thursday (shared by @sarahlynnd).

The report says:

The rise of new services such as Spotify and legal crackdowns on online pirates failed to stem tumbling music sales last year, according to industry figures that show a dramatic slowdown in digital growth.

Record labels struggling to make up for the sharp fall in CD sales by increasing downloads and other new revenue streams have blamed rampant piracy for a slowdown in the growth of digital revenues to 12% last year, taking total worldwide sales to $4.2bn (£2.6bn).

That was less than half the 25% growth rate in 2008 and left overall music sales down for the 10th year running…

…The IFPI estimates that 95% of music downloads worldwide are illegal

However, a blog post on Views Flow (hat tip to Steve Lawson for finding and sharing) points out that:

Compared to music buyers, music sharers (pirates) are…

* 31% more likely to buy single tracks online.
* 33% more likely to buy music albums online.
* 100% more likely to pay for music subscription services.
* 60% more likely to pay for music on mobile phone.

Now, I like a good case study, and I’ve unwittingly found myself as part of one. After listening to both The Cribs’ and Kasabian’s new records since they came out on Spotify, i’ve gone and bought both. How 20th century.

Views Flow make the point that:

If anything, the music industry should have more respect for file-sharers, as they are their most valuable consumers. They are ahead of the curve and actually leading the way for the future of digital music, buying more digital music than anyone else. It’s the music industry that has to change, not the other way around.

And I wholeheartedly agree. If it wasn’t for file-sharers we’d not be looking to develop better business models, better distribution platforms and innovative ways to make sure the artist gets the right amount of money for their work.

The record companies blow their trumpets when this sort of data is released and rarely look at the quality of the music on offer for people to consume. It’s not great at the moment. Indeed BBC Newsbeat claimed earlier this week that British Indie Guitar Music is Dead, that’s quite a chunk of the industry that will be suffering to make any sort of money isn’t it…

Music goes in cycles – we’ve hit the dead end of the scene that the likes of The Libertines, Franz Ferdinand and Bloc Party helped to create, just like 1997 saw the death of Britpop. What the record companies are panicking about now is that all the good guitar music is hidden and they can’t find it so they’re blaming music piracy as a smokescreen for a shortage in marketable artists.

Public tastes have changed and that means that record companies have got to invest more money in finding artists who will be sellable, opposed to flinging out the same old dross – that risk is not one they’re likely to take without a definite promise of dollar.


4 thoughts on “Blaming Music Pirates Is The Easy Option

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Blaming Music Pirates Is The Easy Option « The Seldom Seen Kid --

  2. This is very true. While I strongly believe that musicians should be paid for their work, a few weeks ago after watching a documentry on the origins of punk rock I was exposed to the Clash and Ramones. Curious, I downloaded a few of their songs on Limewire, and liking what I heard I purchased a Clash album. Had I not have accessed this music on file sharing software I never would have risked spending $12ish on an artist I hadn’t heard much of.

  3. I think this is exactly the way that we’re consuming music that many of the record companies don’t see and perhaps don’t even understand!

    Thanks for the comment :)

  4. Technology truly has become completely integrated to our existence, and I am fairly certain that we have passed the point of no return in our relationship with technology.

    I don’t mean this in a bad way, of course! Ethical concerns aside… I just hope that as memory gets less expensive, the possibility of downloading our memories onto a digital medium becomes a true reality. It’s a fantasy that I dream about all the time.

    (Posted on Nintendo DS running [url=]R4i[/url] DS OperaMod)

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