The new age pirate does not travel on ships, sailing the seas looking for new land to embark, and treasures to steal, but rather exists on the Internet and their treasures include multimedia for which they can share with the masses. As explained by Steinmetz and Tunnell in Under the Pixelated Jolly Roger: A Study of On-Line Pirates “Young people, using computers to download digitized intellectual property, are today’s pirates.” (Steinmetz & Tunnel, 2013, p.60). The problem with the pirating issue currently affecting the music industry, as stated by Lessing in Ted Talks, is that both sides are reaching an extremist point, expanding the issue and making it more difficult to reach a reasonable solution. The music industry has been given the power to automatically take down any copyright content inappropriately used on the internet, and the young generation which uses the internet so heavily as completely rejected copyright as if it did not exist. These are the extremes currently embarking on the issue of piracy, with a resolution seemingly unattainable.
When I was much younger, and Internet piracy was first occurring, it was an all out war by the music industry on the Internet in order to protect valuable record sales. What followed, was a black eye on the music industry and fans unsympathetic towards the feelings of the artists. Fans felt that the idea of rich music stars complaining about stealing music, resulting in the loss of record sales, was laughable. Therefore, Internet piracy continued and the battle between Internet pirates and the music industry began.
Although it seems impossible for a resolve to be reached in regards to the piracy issue, I would like to provide my own suggestion to help reach a resolution on this issue. As stated by Burkart and McCourt in When Creators, Corporations and Consumers Collide: Napster and the Development of Online Music Distribution “The Internet provides an enhanced marketplace for record companies, since goods may be copied and transported over the Internet at marginal costs, and unwanted goods may easily be disposed of or delisted.” (Burkart & McCourt, 2003, p.335). The Internet has heavily affected record sales, but at the same time has provided record companies with a tool to distribute new music. Many of my favourite artists have seen this tool, and use it to their full advantage. I believe the way to help both sides meet in the middle on this issue, is regulating the delivery of free music, straight from the artist.
Many artists now provide fans with free albums, straight from their own website. For instance, the rap group Odd Future, has released several albums for free on their website www.oddfuture.com. Providing fans with free music makes them feel appreciated, connecting with the artist. Having provided their fans with free music directly from the source, artists can now sell their major album releases, through their record labels, and use this as a means to convince fans to buy their record. Artists use the free music provided as a way to sympathize to the fans, telling them we have given you all this free music, now please purchase this album in order to balance the situation. I believe this tactic works very well, as when Odd Future released albums through their record company, it sold very well. If you provide fans with free music, they will feel appreciated and in return purchase the music when asked. This is the direction the music industry is leading towards, and I truly believe this will help the two extremist sides meet in the middle.
*Image is of one of the many FREE releases provided on http://www.oddfuture.com
McCourt, T., P. Burkart. (2003). When Creators, Corporations and Consumers Collide: Napster and the Development of On-line Music Distribution. Media, Culture & Society. 25 (3), pg. 333-350
Steinmetz, K., K. Tunnell (2013). Under the Pixelated Jolly Roger: A Study of On-Line Pirates. Deviant Behavior. 34 (1), pg. 53-67