Impact Of Piracy on the Music Industry

by | Jan 22, 2022 | 0 comments

For many decades – especially in the 1980s, music was stored and distributed in the form of vinyl records until cassettes and CD sales took over in 1988 and 1991 respectively. Back then music production was done manually; But, the advent of the internet gave rise to new distribution channels and reduced the cost and time with regards to production. While distributing music in traditional modes slowly became outdated, content was now easily accessible to everyone through their smart devices with an active internet connection. However, all this convenience came at a cost; rampant piracy. Unauthorised copies are either bootlegged for below-market prices or traded without payment.

Jubin Nautiyal, who became famous for The Humma Song from Ok Jaanu and Zindagi Kuch Toh Bata from Salman Khan’s Bajrangi Bhaijaan was devastated when his new single, Haaye Dil got leaked online a few days before its release. He said that while he was getting ready to perform at the concert, someone started playing it from the adjacent building. He said he was depressed and even filed a complaint.

When Madonna’s 2015 album Rebel Heart got leaked online, she told the New York Times” I felt raped, there are no words to describe how devastated I was.” When Jai Paul’s debut album was leaked online, he disappeared from the public for six years because he was feeling distressed, suffered from a breakdown and withdrew from life.

According to an article published on Jun 04, 2020, in The Economic Times, it was estimated by the 2019 International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) that the music industry loses about Rs. 1,000 crore a year due to piracy. Out of which, Indian Music Industry (IMI) makes up for 67% and average global piracy constitutes 27%.

All that a pirate needs is just one copy, that’s either acquired legally or illegally, to make thousands of copies and sell it online for a less price. They don’t mind facing legal charges and they’re even finding new ways to get around media locks. In fact, consumers prefer downloading music from third-party websites since it’s available for free as compared to purchasing from streaming platforms like Spotify or iTunes.

Another medium of piracy is P2P network/file-sharing networks; since file-sharing can be done directly among individuals there is a need for few servers or none at all. Many music file-sharing services like Napster emerged with features like a search index for available content. Through the provision of incentives, they even encouraged users to share their files. Well, Napster was later sued and shut down for illegally distributing copyrighted material. WhatsApp groups and Telegram is also an attractive source for Indian content.

Music piracy creates a hefty loss especially for struggling artists and producers trying to make a career, it affects their livelihood; hence Indian copyright laws must be upgraded further to curb digital piracy. Here are some other ways to deal with piracy:

Remove Incentives: Offering good products at a fair price can stop the consumers from looking for pirated content. Other features like good quality content with zero buffering and listening to music offline can also help reduce piracy.

PR and Education: Consumers who download unauthorised content might not always be aware that it’s illegal and that it’s a crime. Therefore, necessary steps need to be taken to educate them about the copyright laws, rules and consequences of piracy.

Technology: You can’t fight against piracy unless you know where the infringement actually took place. But, with technological interference at the pre-transmission stage, it is possible to monitor and tackle piracy.

While we can’t completely stop piracy, it is possible to control piracy  to a very large extent and plug revenue losses in the music industry. AiPlex is India’s first antipiracy company with decades of validated experience. In its fight against piracy in all its forms, it has helped take down infringed content across various platforms, delete millions of infringing URLs, detect fake websites and is a trusted content protection partner for over 200+ content owners. Drop us a line to know more.

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