Music Piracy

Is illegal downloading of music killing off the industry?

Since the birth of the internet the music industry has had to deal with the problem of music piracy!

According to Freakonomics music piracy is costing the industry roughly £58 billion a year, but is music piracy really having as much of a impact on the music industry as claimed?

From an artists stand point downloading a song illegally is theft! You wouldn’t steal a painting from a gallery so why would you steal a song? They are both forms of art! Well I think it boils down to the fact that it is much easier to steal a song online than it is to walk into a art gallery taking a piece of art.

Downloading a song illegal although easy and free can have some unwanted results. Imagine your favourite up and coming artist released an album which you illegally download along with all their other fans. They will receive no revenue and thus their album will go unnoticed by the charts. This could lead to the band splitting regardless of how talented they may be. Although a substantial amount of the revenue goes to the greedy music producers, supporting your favourite bands means they can continue to produce and release the music that you love.

Artists are the face of the music industry, however the creation, recording and promotion of a song requires a large team of individuals. Due to illegal downloading record companies seen a decrease in their profits, which has in turn led to them having to make cuts in order to compensate for their monetary losses. As well as having to lay off artists the record labels are having to let go of songwriters, producers, engineers, technicians and marketing personal.

A reduction in profits and fewer staff in turn leaves the industry with fewer opportunities and less money available to scout and further develop new talent. With less money available to work with artists, record companies are focusing more time on working with artists whom are already established and fewer promising new artists. This is perhaps a reason as to why many new artists are using others outlets such as the internet to create, promote and sell their material.

The illegal sharing and downloading of music has caused the music industry to rethink the way in which they promote artists. The internet has not only made music more accessible for illegal downloads but it has also made a new platform for the music industry to promote their artists to a worldwide audience. Using the internet the music industry is able to digitally licence music to regularly access sites. Selling songs earns the industry far less than selling tickets for a tour.

In short even though the expansion of the internet has clearly negatively impacted upon the music industry through the use of illegal downloading it has also helped widen the consumer market to an international level. Now through the use of the internet an artist from South Korea can gain international stardom almost overnight, earning their production company a tidy profit. Such a feat would never have been possible ten years ago.

Sources:

http://www.freakonomics.com/2012/01/12/how-much-do-music-and-movie-piracy-really-hurt-the-u-s-economy/

http://smallbusiness.chron.com/illegally-downloading-music-impact-music-industry-27748.html

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2 thoughts on “Music Piracy

  1. On your point that you wouldn’t go into an art gallery and take a piece of art, I agree. However, I might go to a gallery and take a picture of a piece of art (which is legal in some galleries). I’ve essentially made a copy, whilst the original is kept intact. Downloading a song from the internet could be considered the same thing; a copy is made and the original is not lost. Can it be considered stealing if the person doesn’t physically loose anything?

  2. I agree with the major points that were made in your article, however, as well as providing a new platform in which music can be promoted and sold worldwide, the internet also reduces the ‘niche’ of music promotion and production due to the shear vastness of the internet.

    As the world wide web is now at everyone’s disposal more or less whenever and wherever they want, it could be considered that an increase in opportunity to promote your music (i.e. the internet), there will be an increase in artists in the industry however big or small, therefore each artist/song that is promoted on the internet will need an increased amount of time, effort, and even money in order to stand out from the countless other artists that are now able to easily gain publicity through the internet.

    In other words, could the internet also be making it more difficult to stand out from the crowd and ‘make it in the big time’?

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