Is Music Piracy Finally Dying?

Music piracy could be on its last legs, with music store Bandcamp says it is actively cutting down music piracy, and Spotify claiming it will overtake iTunes in two years.

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Music piracy could be on its last legs, with music store Bandcamp says it is actively cutting down music piracy, and Spotify claiming it will overtake iTunes in two years.

Bandcamp says it can compete with filesharing sites because it offers an easy way for fans to support artists, and because its online store offers a better user experience than traditional torrent sites.

In a new blog post, the company outlined several examples of illegal music searches which converted into sales:

"Just this morning someone paid $10 for an album after Googling 'lelia broussard torrent.' A bit later, a fan plunked down $17 after searching for 'murder by death, skeletons in the closet, mediafire.' Then a $15 sale came in from the search 'maimouna youssef the blooming hulkshare.' Then a fan made a $12 purchase after clicking a link on music torrent tracker What.CD. Then someone spent $10 after following a link on The Pirate Bay."

Bandcamp launched its digital music store in 2008, and quickly gained popularity among independent musicians thanks to its free service, powerful file format options, and a Radiohead-style 'pay what you want' option. Bandcamp claims that 40% of fans pay more than the asking price when this option is available. After building a dedicated audience, it started to charge a 20% fee on all sales under $100.

While piracy has ravaged the modern music industry, several companies have used digital technology to claw back revenue, with efforts led by Apple who pioneered an a'la carte model with fixed prices for singles and albums.

However, recent additions to the digital music business, like Spotify and Deezer, have opted for streaming subscriptions. Last night, Napster founder Sean Parker (who has since invested in Spotify) said that Spotify "will overtake iTunes in terms of the amount of revenue we contribute to the music labels in under two years" if it continues growth at the same rate.

Will the rise of revenue from digital music help quell fears from musicians that the business is beyond the point of no return? Have consumer attitudes changed too much, leaving music devalued?

Tool singer Maynard James Keenan seems to think so, according to a recent interview:

"I think part of the problem with most of that is just the foundation of respect or entitlement. I think 'entitlement' is probably the better word. I think, just in general, our society has gotten to the point where just you click a button, you get what you want when you want it. So until we get to a point where we realize you don't necessarily always get what you want when you want it, we're gonna have a problem."

151 comments sorted by best / new / date

    AlexBUltimateGuitar
    HARTATTACK69 wrote: after that Slash/child porn thing I'd imagine it halted completely
    People can usually see the content of torrents before they download them, or just look at the rating or comments to see if it's BS.
    Krieger91
    metallicaftwlp wrote: I was going to say no. But then Maynard said yes so yes. All hail Maynard!!!! (and I am catholic lol)
    You're definitely not the sort of fan he can't stand...
    zomgguitarz1234
    route_desperado wrote: the problem with buying music legally is the price... music is art, art should be available for everyone
    The problem with this logic is musicians don't get their gear for free, musicians don't get food for free, musicians don't get gas to go around touring for free, etc... Plus anyone can spew out bullshit like that and make themselves sound right, for example I could say "People don't buy music because people don't respect it enough" or "People don't buy music because they're greedy pricks" or a number of things, doesn't mean they're true but I'm pretty sure if you said that to a few retards you'd convince them.
    GreencldGuitar
    route_desperado wrote: the problem with buying music legally is the price... music is art, art should be available for everyone
    easier said then done...
    Offworld92
    I'm not going to spend money on something immaterial. When I purchase something, I expect it to be tangible. Little bits of invisible data are not worth my money. Thought out artwork, lyrics, booklet and package are. hence why I own close to 200 physical CD's.
    WhoCanSay
    Night_Warrior wrote: Do you know how many small bands I have seen who have made absolutely no money on tour? I was speaking to Powerglove on their tour with Sym X and they said they pretty much made nothing. And the fact that no one buys their albums makes it even worse.
    A power metal band who play songs based on the themes from retro video games? Surprising, I thought they'd easily generate income, based on the massive commercial appeal they must have...
    spiff-corgi
    route_desperado wrote: the problem with buying music legally is the price... music is art, art should be available for everyone
    Well that isn't true. Going to an art gallery is, generally but not always, free where you get to view the pieces and then go home. This is the equivalent to the radio, which we do get free. But if you want a painting hung up in your house... you have to ****ing buy it. So art is not free. Even saying "if someone loves what they do they don't care about the money" doesn't work because you can't do what you love if you don't even have the money to make it happen.
    chhang
    wait how does bandcamp know what people are clicking on and what their torrent searches are?
    iommi600
    And, if anything, record labels should get their asses out of their heads. The music industry has changed. In some countries, original CD's and stuff are ridiculously expensive. Not everybody can afford buying original stuff from their favorite artists. They just need to stop whining and find a way to fit their business in this new 'era'. While that doesn't happen, they can keep sucking my ass. And by the way, I still buy a lot of original stuff, actually all the time, but the music industry disgust me sometimes.
    14xjake
    route_desperado wrote: the problem with buying music legally is the price... music is art, art should be available for everyone
    people pay a lot of money for art...
    FlyingPirahna
    I pirate and buy music. Pirate first, enjoy, then purchase. You can try on a shirt before buying it, play a guitar at the store, watch a TV for free when it airs...so why not a try before you buy option for music to? (In before 10,000 downvotes.)
    Bassy-Justice
    MR.LZZYHALE wrote: people in america stop whining how much does a cd cost on amazon thats right between 10-17 dollars stop being cheap and buy them like good people! btw im american
    I knew that you were American before you decided to point that out. You want to know how? 1) Like most other Americans, you have absolutely no clue as to what communism is. Communism is the control of economic activity by the government with the goal of redistributing it equally throughout the population. A communist solution to the problem would be forcing all musicians to sign onto the government's own record label. 2) Your typing is atrocious. I am an American as well, and it saddens me that it seems like I'm one of few that actually knows how to type something out. Take some lessons, please, so you don't look like an idiot.
    iommi600
    Night_Warrior wrote: You say to go see them in concert, but how can they tour if they are not being funded by the label? Labels won't sponsor their tours if the album isn't selling.
    Many indie bands manage themselves to go touring without needing a record label...
    WhoCanSay
    route_desperado wrote: the problem with buying music legally is the price... music is art, art should be available for everyone
    Here's a new concept for you: the music business.
    iommi600
    I hope not. Recording companies can kiss my ass. People think that by downloading music, they will be stealing from the artists... BS. The only thing that those major labels and stuff do is to distribute the albums, and still they get most of the money for the sales. You want that artist you love to make some real money? Go to his concert.
    hitl
    main problem : People DON'T have money...give people jobs = money = they buy music.
    scott82
    MR.LZZYHALE wrote: Bassy-Justice wrote: MR.LZZYHALE wrote: people in america stop whining how much does a cd cost on amazon thats right between 10-17 dollars stop being cheap and buy them like good people! btw im american I knew that you were American before you decided to point that out. You want to know how? 1) Like most other Americans, you have absolutely no clue as to what communism is. Communism is the control of economic activity by the government with the goal of redistributing it equally throughout the population. A communist solution to the problem would be forcing all musicians to sign onto the government's own record label. 2) Your typing is atrocious. I am an American as well, and it saddens me that it seems like I'm one of few that actually knows how to type something out. Take some lessons, please, so you don't look like an idiot. I know what communism is son I have red animal farm so thats all i need to know to say that communism is horible
    Why don't you forget the term "communism" for a minute - if you're against a free service, that's ad supported, why are you using the UG website?
    Night_Warrior
    iommi600 wrote: I hope not. Recording companies can kiss my ass. People think that by downloading music, they will be stealing from the artists... BS. The only thing that those major labels and stuff do is to distribute the albums, and still they get most of the money for the sales. You want that artist you love to make some real money? Go to his concert.
    You say to go see them in concert, but how can they tour if they are not being funded by the label? Labels won't sponsor their tours if the album isn't selling.
    Night_Warrior
    Also, I love how people swarm to these posts to boast about how they steal music. They are so badass.
    Night_Warrior
    iommi600 wrote: Night_Warrior wrote: You say to go see them in concert, but how can they tour if they are not being funded by the label? Labels won't sponsor their tours if the album isn't selling. Many indie bands manage themselves to go touring without needing a record label...
    Do you know how many small bands I have seen who have made absolutely no money on tour? I was speaking to Powerglove on their tour with Sym X and they said they pretty much made nothing. And the fact that no one buys their albums makes it even worse. Do you think it's free to tour? No. Indie bands suffer the costs of touring worse than anyone.
    tennesseehild
    route_desperado wrote: the problem with buying music legally is the price... music is art, art should be available for everyone
    Someone's clearly never gotten a tattoo or bought something in the realm of a painting. Sh*t's expensive but it's "art"
    pwrmax
    Bout time. Seriously, if you have money then you have no excuse to pirate music that isn't freely available. If you can afford a computer and internet service then you can afford to shell out the cash for a new album every now and then
    ne14t
    You know back in like the 80s and crap in the music magazines there was sections where you could like write in to people send them a tape and they would send you dubbed music, pretty much no different then today except using the internet as the medium the music has reached a global scale. I doubt it will ever stop.
    Caustic
    "Just this morning someone paid $10 for an album after Googling 'lelia broussard torrent.' A bit later, a fan plunked down $17 after searching for 'murder by death, skeletons in the closet, mediafire.' Then a $15 sale came in from the search 'maimouna youssef the blooming hulkshare.' Then a fan made a $12 purchase after clicking a link on music torrent tracker What.CD. Then someone spent $10 after following a link on The Pirate Bay."
    So Google are not only tracking what you search for, but continue tracking you throughout the "secure" payment process, even learning what you paid for and how much? Err. Do not like.
    priestfan76
    MR.LZZYHALE wrote: priestfan76 wrote: MR.LZZYHALE wrote: priestfan76 wrote: I'm in 3 different bands, all with music online, and I'll gladly give it away for free,and I do every time. If someone wants to give us money for something that has no tangible benefits to them, then that's awesome and we should just say thanks and move on. No rock star that bitches about this is losing their lifestyle over some people downloading their album as opposed to buying it, they're just mad they aren't getting every red cent out of it, and I could honestly give a **** less. We're musicians, this is art, that's how it works, stop bitching and appreciate the fact that anyone even cares that you made an album in the first place. Pshh okay okay so your saying if your a professional band and thats your only job you shouldn't ask for money for your songs?! Dude wake up this isnt neverland people need money even and this ones a shocker musicians I'm saying pirating isn't killing them and they ****ing know it, they make their money from tours, and nothing about downloading an album discourages people from seeing a band live. Also, the term professional musician is ****ing dumb, they're just more successful and have access to better shit than the rest of us, there are plenty of musicians way better than the "pros" and plenty of "pros" that don't deserve it. And if your only job is being a musician, then I have zero sympathy for you, because you already have it made and unless you're an idiot with your finances, you're good to go for quite some time. Theres a reason why some bands are sighned to record labels and why some are stuck playing at bars! I want you to name a few bands better than a7x and halestorm
    You're missing my main point. I don't know why musicians are complaining so much about this affecting their lifestyle when it flat out doesn't. Can anyone name a band that went broke because people downloaded their album? For every 1 person that downloads, 3 buy the album, how do you think they keep charting on the Billboard top 200 and shit? How do they keep going old and platinum and triple platinum if pirating is killing the industry? I feel no sympathy for anybody in Guns and Roses or Kiss or any band like that who tries to blame me, when in reality maybe it's just that no one cares about them anymore. I've yet to hear one relatively new band complain, they're always willing to help you steal, so wheres the line?
    pinheadslts75
    Just gonna say that the average person doesn't give two shits about the band or the quality of the file, so if iTunes didn't stop piracy what the hell makes people think Bandcamp is gonna change anything?
    scott82
    Simple solution would be to create a site where the public can download (legally and free) music/films and financially support it through advertising. It would quickly become immensley popular, raising the value for advertisers even more. Money made is shared amongst artists for each download.
    zomgguitarz1234
    MegadethFan18 wrote: Like the person from the song Reborn by Slayer, even if you kill it music Piracy "Will see life again". When people believe it's their right to download it you can't stop them. At this stage more people download than buy, short of war their isn't really anyway to stop them.
    They probably could stop piracy if congress was half competent when it came to the internet, and the people defending the music industry where actually on this planet long enough that no one gives a shit about their industry and that it's the small time bands they should be worrying about. I mean congress is just ridiculous, when they where asked if they knew what the **** they where doing with sopa they said "I'm not a nerd (seriously they said this), but I find that this law makes the internet parallel real life laws" and they basically admitted they didn't know what the **** they where talking about or doing.
    Chronologo
    Pan-Tallica wrote: Checked. How is Bandcamp able to track what people have been Googling? :S
    Could it be because google's new privacy policy??
    cargath
    There will always be people to cheap to pay for music, but this is just further proof most are just lazy and the industry missed the trend of digital music.
    scott82
    MR.LZZYHALE wrote: scott82 wrote: MR.LZZYHALE wrote on 03/15/2012 - 12:47 pm / quote | pinheadslts75 wrote: MR.LZZYHALE wrote: scott82 wrote: Simple solution would be to create a site where the public can download (legally and free) music/films and financially support it through advertising. It would quickly become immensley popular, raising the value for advertisers even more. Money made is shared amongst artists for each download. Sound like communism and that shit is bad Nope, pretty sure that sounds like capitalism. Realy cuz communism is about sharing the wealth of the people with everyone and thats what that would be doing so maybe you should get smart b4 you coment Supporting/subsidising a service through advertising happens a lot - just look at TV for example. true but do they share there money with single program and what not
    Yeah, TV stars/producers/etc aren't volunteers. They make a show, and sell it to a TV station. The TV station hypes the program, shows the program, and sells little bit's of space (known as "ad breaks") to advertisers. Price of adverts is dependant on how popular the show is of course. That (indirectly) pays all of the "artists" salaries.
    COREYTAYLOR721
    Not sure if I am the only one who appreciates buying the actual album. I feel like I can relate to the band by hearing all the material and think about how they are thinking, if that makes sense. lol. Buy albums its good for you.
    littleguitar
    hitl wrote: main problem : People DON'T have money...give people jobs = money = they buy music.
    [uglytruth] Sure, but frankly, if you can't pay for it (and you're supposed to) then you shouldn't have it. Justifying music piracy with "I really, really want that album RIGHT NOW, but I can't afford it, so I'll download it" is wrong. Earn your money and pay for it![/uglytruth]
    FirstMateJepeto
    I disagree. If it wasn't of Youtube and The Pirate Bay, I wouldn't have bought half of the CD's and concert tickets and t-shirts I have. Free music, AKA sharing, helps discover and encourage artists. My opinion might be a bit crazy, but record labels should evolve and invest in sharing networks like The Pirate Bay.
    Cheesepuff
    lawl without piracy i wouldnt have found 90% of the music i listen to now eliminating piracy is putting major labels in charge of what the populace listens to, wchich is a horrible thing because the music that comes out is pretty shit.
    PeenieMcGee303
    Yes, hi, record industry. You charged me $25 for new CDs when I was a teen. Just raping your ass back. Have a good day.
    priestfan76
    MR.LZZYHALE wrote: priestfan76 wrote: I'm in 3 different bands, all with music online, and I'll gladly give it away for free,and I do every time. If someone wants to give us money for something that has no tangible benefits to them, then that's awesome and we should just say thanks and move on. No rock star that bitches about this is losing their lifestyle over some people downloading their album as opposed to buying it, they're just mad they aren't getting every red cent out of it, and I could honestly give a **** less. We're musicians, this is art, that's how it works, stop bitching and appreciate the fact that anyone even cares that you made an album in the first place. Pshh okay okay so your saying if your a professional band and thats your only job you shouldn't ask for money for your songs?! Dude wake up this isnt neverland people need money even and this ones a shocker musicians
    I'm saying pirating isn't killing them and they ****ing know it, they make their money from tours, and nothing about downloading an album discourages people from seeing a band live. Also, the term professional musician is ****ing dumb, they're just more successful and have access to better shit than the rest of us, there are plenty of musicians way better than the "pros" and plenty of "pros" that don't deserve it. And if your only job is being a musician, then I have zero sympathy for you, because you already have it made and unless you're an idiot with your finances, you're good to go for quite some time.
    HavokStrife
    I hate the way music sharing is labeled as "piracy" and every single thing about it was wrong. Granted, the person with zero physical albums owned and 100,000 unpaid for mp3's on his computer is not exactly the person I'm defending. But, a friend at work just saw New Found Glory. The band sucks, but she said the frontman basically said, download all our albums, go ahead, because we just played in Africa, and that would have never happened without people downloading music. Or about 10-15 years ago, my favorite band was AFI. I made a shitload of people -1- AFI CD. Each of them then went out, bought every CD they had out, including getting a legit copy of the album I originally burned them, then got merch, joined the DF, saw them 8 times, etc. I feel like I should get 20 bucks for each of those fans, but I guess I'm the ***** cuz I gave them burned music? It comes down to how good a band is, really. At least for me. Take for example All That Remains. Love the band, have all of their CD's. Except For We Are Many. Heard it was garbage, downloaded it, and it is garbage, and I won't be buying it. If they actually made a good album, I'd have the friggen special edition, and it would live in my car, and I'd probably wanna go see them when they come around. Now I don't give a shit, cuz their last album sucked. And I'll be downloading their next one, cuz I don't wanna waste money on garbage, too much of that happens in America already.
    MR.LZZYHALE
    boris6491 wrote: Not saying that I do this, but if I can get music free vs paying any money for it, why on earth would I pay money? Band loyalty is unfortunately not a big enough incentive for people to pay. When an avenue arrives, ethical or unethical, legal or illegal, which people can exploit to get something free, they will do so and there will be no turning back from there. Simple Economics.
    so buy your logic we should just steal everything.....
    guitar7masta
    chhang wrote: wait how does bandcamp know what people are clicking on and what their torrent searches are?
    that's what i want to know
    scott82
    Problem: how is the money shared among the artists? Are you saying every dollar of advertising revenue would be cut up into infinitesimally small pieces and given to every single artist? There would never be enough advertising money to actually support all of those artists. In addition, artists would have to cope with the money they earn for the service being given to other artists. Why should people like Fred Durst receive a paycheck for the advertising dollars MY music attracted to the site (as the advertising revenue and the music would be linked)?
    No, I'm saying revenue is shared proportionately to the amount of downloads for each artist. I know it wouldn't match selling CD's for 10 each, but the fact is that piracy is virtually impossible to police - might as well make some money out of it.
    stndrdprcdre
    Doesn't make any difference to me. My favorite musicians aren't putting out new albums anyway.