Music Production and Promotion Tips

Illegal Music Downloading

Posted on | March 22, 2012 | No Comments

Illegal music downloading. Still a hot topic in The Music Industry, and one I have to be careful writing about. In this article, I’m talking from a musicians point of view. What are the consequences of illegal music downloading? How much is it harming you (if at all)? And should you be worried.

I remember not so long ago I heard a fact from a guy called Peter Bradwell, who’s research had found that on average, those who illegally download music spend MORE on the industry than those who dont. £77 a year on CDs etc. as opposed to £33 for the non-pirates. Personally, I don’t think enough studies have been done to prove this fact, but it is an interesting study, and it seems to make sense.

Take the following scenario; An artist’s music is recommended by one friend to another. He wants to check it out, and he wants to listen on his iPod while he’s at the gym. Would you rather he did so illegally and got to hear the music than just ignore it altogether? Lets suppose he does the former, becomes a fan of the band/artist, and over the next 10 years goes to 3 of their gigs, buys 2 of their t shirts and recommends them to ten other friends who do the same. He might always download the music for free, but still put his money into the industry in other ways.

There is a theory that our fear of illegal downloading in the industry comes from the Record Labels, and of course, a record label exec or shareholder will suffer from piracy. Jobs will go as a result and labels will stop investing in new artists. The business model the industry has relied on for a long time is in jeopardy. The point I’m trying to make above is that perhaps illegal music downloading is something music can adapt to as opposed to try and stamp out. Remember Radiohead’s pay-what-you-like model? It allowed people to test the music, and the band have claimed has made them more money than any other release of theirs. Personally, I believe that piracy is here to stay, but as demonstrated in the scenario above, it doesn’t have to be the death of the industry. People will always need to and even want to put their money back into music, perhaps we just need to develop new ways of them showing their support.

Once again, I feel I must say that piracy is a crime. This article is not permission to go and download a ton of illegal music, just my views on whether it should be illegal at all.


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