Welcome to The Music in Noise.
'Piracy' is not Piracy - 2016/06/08
It's time to get into the very controversial subject of 'piracy', which some consider to be a very important issue while others believe it is actually a good thing. I will side on this, but first I would like to make something very clear, downloading information (music, videos, games, etc.) without paying for it is not the same as stealing. Stealing, at least how I've always known it, means that you take something from someone else so they no longer have it. Stealing would be I go to someone's house and take their CDs without permission and with no intention of returning them, while so called 'piracy' is where I simply get a copy of the information, whoever I got it from still has their copy, I just have another one. So regardless of your opinion on the matter, please stop comparing 'digital piracy' to stealing, they are not the same.
Now that this is cleared up, it's time to get into whether 'piracy' is a good or a bad thing, and I tend to lean towards it being a good thing. Many people might want to disagree with me, but I sincerely believe that 'piracy' is a good thing, not only for the person receiving the music, but also for the music industry and, most of all, the artists themselves, and looking at the issue from a larger scale, it even helps in terms of increasing lack of free culture (which you can thank large companies such as Disney for keeping works from entering the public domain so they can continue to have their monopoly over certain art forms).
The first group that benefits is obviously the person who downloads the information without paying, they receive the information and benefit from it for free. With this, they can expand their knowledge and easily be exposed to new ideas without the monetary limitation which gives an advantage to those with higher incomes. Now anyone with an internet connection and a device that can connect to Wi-Fi can obtain the same content as the person who can afford to buy everything. Also, take into account that this is very similar to a library, it's public information that everyone has access to, or have you never visited the music section of your own local library? Therefore it is good for the downloader because it sets everyone on equal grounds in terms of access to information.
The second group that benefits are the artists themselves, whether they be painters, musicians, directors, writers, or software developers. This is where most people get confused, because they don't understand how 'piracy' can help the artist if people aren't paying for information/content. This is because even though people aren't paying for the artist's content they will be willing to pay to see a musician's live show, or pay to see a film in the cinema (if they would bring those damn prices down, there have been many studies on how people don't go to the cinema anymore, not because of 'piracy', but because of high cinema prices). The fact that more people have access to the same content means that they there will be more people willing to go to live shows and see movies in the cinema (once they lower the prices), and this is even more so considering that in most cases the artist's main revenue comes from events such as these. In the case of a musician the record label usually takes a large chunk from the sales of music, so the musician receives a lot of their revenue from their live shows, hence why if a famous musician is low on cash they usually solve their problems by touring, not making a new album. If anything the new album would simply be hype for a tour. Therefore the artist also benefits from 'piracy'.
The third part about piracy is that it forces the artistic industries such as the music industry to modernize and make their works more free (free as in 'libre'). This kind of movement promotes free culture and allows for works to be edited, redistributed, and constantly improved. This also gives artists a chance in this new industry to center the focus of the industry on them and not the distributors (record labels, production studios, etc.). Taking advantage of this, if artists choose to take the first move rather than the corporations the artists can take control over their situation.
So, who doesn't benefit? I think that's rather obvious, the distributor, the record label, the production studio, the publisher, etc. That's why a lot of these negative ads against 'piracy' come from them, they are the ones suffering the most from this. Remember what I said about musicians and how they make their money from tours because labels take a large chunk of the album revenue? Exactly! What happens when there's no album revenue? The distributors start to feel insecure and panic. The artist is barely harmed, if anything it helps them.
So, in conclusion, I say fuck the distributors, let the artists take control over their industry. This may even improve the music industry, letting artists create music how they want to because they like it instead of a label saying "We need a new album by next year.". This is something that the technology industry has been taking advantage of for a while now with the Free Software movement, where programs that are Free Software start to compete with the traditional commercial and proprietary alternatives, and artists can do the same thing if they would just stop bitching about 'piracy' and adapt to how thing are turning before their distributors do and their stuck the same shitty situation again.