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Music piracy paves way for streaming

Pat Foley

Pat Foley

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Piracy, although an illegal activity, has changed a lot about the music industry. While the effects have not all been negative, it’s a stepping stone to how the music industry should ideally be.

When piracy started to take shape in the early 2000’s, it threw the industry into a huge problem. Music listeners could now download as much music as they want, free of charge. Despite piracy being illegal, it was hard to prosecute, causing mostly record labels to lose money.

Meanwhile, the reaction from the artists was mixed. Some artists such as Lars Ulrich of Metallica famously opposed it, and demanded piracy sites and the fans who pirated the music to be prosecuted. Others such as Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails felt that piracy led to more music discovery and more appreciation of the music. Reznor also felt it was better for the record labels to lose money, as they had become too greedy and corporate and less about the music. He even went as far as asking his fans to pirate his album.

While piracy has largely shaped the music industry in both positive and negative ways, it is illegal and is taking away money from the artists, and listeners are aware of this. People pirate music because they can’t afford to purchase large quantities of music. If the music was cheaper at large quantities, many people would consider the artist and buy the music. This is why music streaming is ideal.

Services such as Spotify offer unlimited free music for only $10 a month. Other services such as Pandora offer free internet radio supported by advertisement. The low cost for the large amount of music has shown to lower music piracy. For instance, Spotify lowered piracy in Sweden by almost 25%.

However, there is the concern that Spotify does not reimburse the artist fairly, just as artists like Grizzly Bear have said. And while it’s true that the average artist gets about .004% of one cent for every play they receive on a program like Spotify, one has to realize that music streaming is still a young idea. Streaming has a lot of room to grow with more users to acquire. If streaming services grow, they will get more money, which means, in return, they can afford to give more money to the artists.

Overall, piracy has made its mark on the industry, but it’s time for it to go, and music streaming is the ideal solution.

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Music piracy paves way for streaming