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The Problem with Music Piracy
by LJ Ortega 
posted on February 27, 2009

 
The Problem with Music Piracy
music piracy
The perennial problem with music piracy has gotten worse with the proliferation of downloadable music on the Internet. Why is it that people are tempted to download music files form the Internet even if it’s illegal? The answer is like a wide-eyed monster you need not look in the eye – people do it because it’s FREE.

Why would a consumer acquire music from legitimate sources, which usually requires them to shed off some precious dollars, when they can get it elsewhere on the web for free? Some people argue that record labels are charging too much for the music they sell, and that’s why people prefer other illegal means of acquiring the music they want. But most people don’t realize that by patronizing illegal means of acquiring music, they are actually promulgating music piracy and are therefore driving a huge stake against the producers of the music they love so much.

By supporting music piracy, they are actually killing the industry. And if the industry dies, they will be deprived of the kind of music they clamor for. According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), the international association of more than 1,400 recording companies, the actual loss in sales brought about by illegal music downloads is approximately 10% of the recording companies’ total revenue. Some would say that it’s not enough to bankrupt big music companies, but it’s actually a big loss for smaller companies, especially those who are just starting up and are trying to make a niche in the industry.

It is also a great loss for the artists and composers. Not only are they losing royalty fees for their talent and hard work, it’s a lot harder for them to reach gold, platinum or triple platinum status in terms of sales because less people are buying their albums. It doesn’t mean that less people are appreciating their music. It’s just that more people are buying pirated versions of their music, hence not contributing to the artists’ official record sales. This trend is also disastrous to budding singers or starting songwriters who have yet to earn their first few hundred dollars but already see the downfall of their career.

However, recording companies can still see this as a window of opportunity. They can actually learn a lot from music pirates. Closing down sites that offer free music downloads will never be a solution. We all know how easy it is to set up a website or a blog. They can go on suing individuals who are caught downloading or offering free music online, but based on what’s happening now, that still doesn’t stop either pirates or consumers.

What music companies can do to compete with pirates is to offer consumers the best value for money that they can offer. Radio was once thought to bring about the demise of the recording industry, but that did not happen. Radio and the music industry became partners in providing and promoting music to the public. That should be the same with the Internet. More people are embracing the idea of downloading music files online for a minimal fee. Music companies can think of new ideas to make their music cost, well, almost free. If they can do that, the public would prefer original content over the pirates. And if that happens, music piracy would eventually die a natural death.


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