Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The battle against piracy is already lost, so what next?

There has been considerable buzz about piracy over the past couple of weeks. Ed O'Brien supports it, claiming it displays a genuine interest an artists work. Lily Allen abhors it, saying that if this continues our only medium for getting music will be through mainstream television shows.

Yes, the record companies have been losing money from record sales alone. They have been forced to a cookie cutter business model that allows for virtually no artist development. But trying to fight piracy is like trying to fight underage drinking. It is illegal, it is punishable by law, but it is not going to stop.

Bands need to and have found other mediums to make money. They tour, they sell merchandise, they pull advertisements on their websites. Argue that this is not enough and I don't disagree, but there is a legitimate way to counter piracy, and Quietus did a great job of covering this issue.

I completely agree with this perspective. The second a band completes an album, sell it online. Both parties are happy; the producer gets their moolah, the cosumer get their product. It's a pretty simple business model.

HEALTH put out an interesting method of selling their newest album, Get Color. The band sold their LP online, and with it they provided fans with a coupon to download the album one month before the release date. I had no problem buying the LP-- I would get the product as early as anyone else. I would not have to wait an extra month for the fucking label to send me a hardcopy. I would not feel cheated.

So when Vampire Weekend (who I love and hate) released details of their second record, all I could think about is how I could get it before the January 12 release date. How about this XL: the second you announce the title, album art, and tracklisting for a long-awaited sophomore album, why not give fans the ability to pay .99 a track immediately?


  1. I see your point. If you can pay to get a copy of the music the instant it's announced then there's little incentive to go through the trouble of obtaining an illegal version.

  2. It seems painfully obvious. The music industry's model is broken and they seem stubborn to fix it. You have to be forward looking when approaching business problems to stay competitive.