Were you one of the 7.7 million people who illegally downloaded music in 2010? These figures reported by the British record industry suggests that more than 1.2 billion tracks were pirated or shared costing the British music industry around £219 million.
British moguls and their American counterparts have been harping on about the amount of money lost each year by the rise in unauthorised downloading! Just the negatives! The breaches in copyright! The loss of huge amounts of pounds, dollars and the likes.
Fair enough, the music industry is losing revenue because one person decides to share a song on a site or a friend copies songs off another friend's iTunes. Does the latter sound familiar? It is the equivalent of what happens when one person finishes a book and hands it over to a friend or a charity shop! The author of the book gets nothing through that change of hands! NOTHING! So why should it be any different for the music industry?
Okay, maybe my last statement isn't completely true. The author does get recognition, and if the book is good, a full purchase may happen next time. That then brings me to the point that unauthorised/illegal downloads isn't all bad news for the industry. How so?
Well, like the author who gains a fan by free or reduced exchange, if an artist's album or single is exceptional then he or she may gain a following willing to actually buy their music legally in the future. Although that is dependent on what type of person you're dealing with; a greedy person will just keep downloading for free, no questions asked.
When illegal downloads are talked about you almost NEVER hear about what good it has done for music. Like reducing the exclusivity barrier within music! Not the way shows such as The X-Factor and Britain's Got Talent have cheapened it! But in the sense that people who actually work extremely hard can get their music out onto people's ipods [not just their family and friends] thanks to many media sharing sites.
Yes, superpower artists, the Kanyes, Beyonces and the likes,lose millions to these host sites but they have given young talent and unknowns (who may be on par or even more talented than these stars) the occasion to be recognised! So maybe music insiders should be saying thank you for pulling underground artists into the main stream rather than nagging about lost money (while in their Ferraris or Lamborghinis).
Or instead find ways to persuade us to actually cough out £8 (seems like a fortune for some plastic and a few pictures and words) and buy their music! Up your standards, because obviously the little pictures of yourselves in the booklet isn't enough [excluding Rihanna's Loud album, I went down to my local HMV to buy that, thanks to the rumoured raunchy photos]
The era of copyright breaches isn't going anyway anytime soon so you [ARTISTS] will have to give it a run for your money! LITERALLY.
Follow Chidubem Nwabufo on Twitter: www.twitter.com/awkwardSag