Knowledge Bank

news category created 17 July 2014 written by shona wright

Piracy and the Worth of music

I’ve just stumbled upon a great article on piracy and the world of music:
http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/2014/07/fifteen-years-utter-bollocks-how-generation-s-freeloading-has-starved-creativity

These quotes really sum it up for me:

“Piracy may feel like victimless “free culture” to the user, but they are in fact participating in a digital black market. It’s not about information wanting to be free, but rather it’s about exploitative black marketeers and willfully blind tech companies wanting to get rich.”

“It’s only common sense that the devaluation creative industries face is having a sustained negative effect on the investment available for sustainable artistic careers.”

How do we get away from the “free” culture and reinstate a perceived “worth of music” in the public? This is one of the most important tasks in my opinion, as if the devaluation of music continues, it will destroy our industry.


As you know Stevan the worlds apparent view on the ‘worth’ of music is something that concerns me greatly.

Aside of the ‘everything for free’ culture we live in. I think there is also a perceived view that artists, producers, labels (and studios for that matter) are all minted. After all if you own a studio you must be mustn’t you!?! The ‘they can afford it’ attitude creeps in.

There needs to be a global education into the time, effort, care and cost that goes into making a record. I still think most are niaive to the process and think a band turn up, we press record and bingo – there’s the record made.

In my days as a maths teacher, my students (most of whom ‘loved their music’) had no idea as to what went into making a record. Once I’d explained the process they were all astonished and all promised to ‘buy’ records from that day onwards (I’d like to see how many did but at least the intention was there.)

They had no realisation that a record is the culmination of hours and hours of honing a craft by the artist, producer and engineer. Of course there are some fantastic records that counter this and have been made very coarsely and quickly from start to finish but we all know it’s not the usual way.

A great case of this lies with a band I worked with recently, who had put everything they had into recording. They have a pretty good fan base. Their last single gained thousands of views on YouTube in an extremely short space of time along with the usual ‘love it!’ comments. However, this simply didn’t relate to the number of units the band sold. The amount was pitiful and soul destroying for the band.

It pushed them to the point of disbanding as they couldn’t financially support themselves or the band anymore – they all have other jobs, which of course is very common these days.

If a small number of their fan base who viewed and ‘loved’ the track on YouTube had paid their 79p to show their love, the band would have been in a much better position to carry on.

If people don’t realise the worth, then artist/band development will diminish even further and the industry will consist of debut artists or legacy artist.

The music everyone ‘loves’ may not be made.

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