A little story on Sonic State recently debated the age old problem with so called media "pirates". There has been enough ink spilled on this subject already, though sufficed to say I agree with the basic premise that people deserve to get paid for the work they produce.
When music is concerned, publishers should be
all over technology to further the market for their product. From the
very first wax cylinders that stored the first music (transforming
music from a performance to a reproduced and marketable commodity) to the bits and
bytes of MP3, formats have only ever been a positive thing for
artists to have their music heard of by a wider audience and for both
publisher and artist a source of income separate from performance.
I think the tipping point that we saw with the
Napster age says it all - we live in a time when anything can be
reproduced and distributed cheaply to any computer with an internet
connection. And literally anyone can do it - just download a client
and off you go. First with music, books and film and now more
recently whole objects on Pirate Bay's 3D printing blueprints, it
takes power away from the publishers with their traditional methods
of distribution. In a world where production can scale instantly to
fit demand (just look at popular magnets and torrents), it's a rare
thing to have scarcity of product except for very obscure things.
It is therefore no surprise to me that people
who would usually buy a copy of Game of Thrones see no alternative
but torrenting when the only way they can watch an episode is to buy
a broadband or cable television service. Given that this is usually
on a subscription or contract basis this seems unreasonable to buy if
only to get access to one show. It's a similar thing with the wait
for DVD releases after film or tv series screenings, although I have
noticed a large majority of titles coming out only two months after
screenings (sometimes even when the show is still running in cinemas).
it's good to see this artificial scarcity being broken down,
though the cynic in me sees it more as a way to recoup original production costs as soon as possible.
Which brings me back to my original comment.
People should be entitled to payment for their work and I think
musicians are starting to get back on track. While digital production
and distribution means anyone can release a track online, it has
devalued individual track releases somewhat. The fears that iTunes
would drive down the price of MP3 have been realised but again, those
who were clamoring for higher prices were those taking the biggest
cut - the publishers. However this does no end of good for tracks
featuring on mix and compilation albums, further spreading the name
and music of the artist.
While it still irks to have music taken and
spread, today's thriving music scene is proof that home taping never
killed the music industry it is bow come to the point where people
are more willing to see their favourite acts live, building on the
marketing power of music spread quickly through blogs and social
media. It's almost as if it has come full circle where live
performances are more profitable as an impermanent form of someone's music - here one minute and gone the next.