The Double-Edged Sword Of Piracy: 6 Bad And 4 Good Things About Music Piracy

Why did I chose more bad than good? Because at the end of the day, piracy is a bad thing. Still, it has positive things, and I admit myself that I wouldn’t know as many artists as I know now if piracy didn’t exist. But the fact that piracy kills music remains.

The Bad Things:

(in alphabetical order)

1) Bad for the artists.

Only from their lives what they earn. Although back in the day, people were still into piracy, by using unwritten CDs and casettes, but it wasn’t as popular as it is nowadays. Because of this, only each artist’s loyal fans will buy his/her/their records. The rest will just download his/her/their material.

2) Bad for the music labels.

Music labels don’t gain any money from piracy as well. One day music companies might collapse, and music will be distributed exclusively via internet, if we keep things that way.

3) Bad for the music stores.

It’s a chain reaction actually. See reasons #1 and #2. Anyone who has a career based on music is financially destroyed because of piracy.

4) It’s against the music tradition.

Music tradition suggests you should go to a music store, look for albums and buy them. Downloading (or taping them in the older days) goes against the music tradition.

5) It’s illegal.

And this is coming from a guy who isn’t the lawful type. But what I notice is that many of those who are lawful (those who bow down to the law, without giving it second thoughts) download A LOT. Piracy is illegal, if nobody told you. Do you make it legal because it benefits you?

6) Losing your collection is much easier.

One day your computer might shut down permanently, so as a result you will lose all the files you had. Sure your house might be burnt down and you will lose any vinyl/CD/casette,etc. you had in your collection, but sure thing is, there are more chances of having your computer being shut down permanently, than having your house burnt down.

The Good Things:

(in alphabetical order)

1) More space in your home.

Everything is stored in a computer or in a phone. With physical albums, you have to store them in boxes, wardrobes, etc.

2) Music is more accessible.

Certainly you can discover more artists, without having to pay.

3) Music sharing is easier.

You just give the link now. Before you should invite someone at your home and play your suggestions. Or send a record by post.

4) Your collection won’t get damaged easily.

Files in your computer cannot be physically damaged, unlike vinyls and CDs where you have to take good care of them.


Most Helpful Girl

  • See, I believe it's wrong when you're doing it because you're too cheap to buy music. I have friends that do it because they simply can't afford music (I have one friend that actually felt so bad she sent one band 20 bucks and an apology letter after the fact, because she had downloaded a few songs when she had been unable to buy them (abusive father, controlled everything) and the band sent her back a letter saying "that's way more than we would have gotten from you buying them off of iTunes. Thank you for the honesty, it's people like you that make music worth it" and sent her a guitar/bass pick from each member and one of the drummers spare drumsticks"

    • Oh very nice coming from the band members. Which band was, if you don't mind sharing?

    • All Time Low. Nice guys. I've met them twice, once at their recent gig with Blink 182, they just wandered into the audio pit and I happened to be sitting behind them. Got the bassist and one of the guitarists picks, and got a selfie with the drummer

Most Helpful Guy

  • I happen to come from the country where internet piracy is legal. That's right, Switzerland is the only country in the entire world where it's legal to download music, movies, videos games etc. :-). The only restriction is that the downloaded material must be used privately and non-commercially (so you're allowed to make a copy for a good friend but you're not allowed to sell tens of copies on the street).
    Personally, I think that's a very good approach and I don't feel bad about downloading things. In fact, two Swiss universities have made independent studies about this topic and found in both cases that contrary to what the music and film industries claim, piracy does not significantly hurt their business (at least not in Switzerland). Even though Swiss people download material, the studies found that the same people also still buy CDs or DVDs from time to time. Upon these findings, the supreme court and the parliament decided that internet piracy for private use should remain legal (despite pressure from other countries). I don't know how people do this in other countries but the studies are completely correct in my case. I download AND buy material at the same time. In the case of movies, I practically only download them. One reason for this is that DVDs are completely (and unnaturally) overpriced in Switzerland. You can easily pay 40 USD for a movie DVD and as a Uni student, I'm just not up for that. In the case of music on the other hand, I exclusively buy it. I don't think I've ever downloaded any music. I like the feeling of owning a lot of CDs. I like looking at my CD library. Most people I know are similar. My mom buys everything because she's not good with the internet. My dad buys some stuff and downloads other things. The same goes for my best friend or my girlfriend.
    I do have a strong feeling that the industries (especially the music industry) totally exaggerate when they're crying about their losses. I'm pretty sure they still make millions.

    Another reason why I don't find piracy problematic is because it mostly affects the big names. Shakira is much more affected by music piracy than some local emo-punk band in Budapest. Shakira however already owns tens (if not hundreds) of millions of dollars and she earns millions of dollars every year. I really don't feel bad about decreasing her income a bit. Besides, when you get into the music job, you know you might never become rich. People do it out of passion, not to become millionaires.

    • Except it doesn't only affect the big names. The people hit hardest are people like sound engineers and small artists. Many people who were able to earn a middle class living no longer can. A lot of them are no longer in the industry at all, or they do small projects as freelancers to supplement their income, with their main income source being teaching or something completely unrelated to their skills.

    • Show All
    • folk and blues music and so I mostly listen to fairly smallish and unknown bands and artists. And yet, they all still exist. To give you just one example, you might know "Beirut". That's one of the bigger, more famous bands I listen. They've been making music for years and still make music now.

    • Nope I don't know them. I'm mostly into Hard Rock/AOR/Glam Metal genres.

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What Girls Said 0

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What Guys Said 12

  • I'm very against the modern piracy markets. I suppose it's a matter of definition, but I see a difference between bootleg copies and pirated copies.

    A bootleg is making a single copy, like we did in the old days. You would know someone with a vinyl album, then make a cassette or reel-to-reel copy of it. Or maybe make a cassette copy of your own album to play in the car. It could easily take over an hour for just one copy for one person.

    The modern piracy market is mass distribution of millions of copies. That puts it in a whole different league. The record companies de facto allowed the individual bootlegging, but they aggressively go after the mass piracy markets.

    Some people justify downloading illegal copies with claims that buying a legal copy just makes some CEO rich. Many of them actually believe it. In truth, the CEO would only get a very tiny fraction of that money. If you buy a CD at a brick and mortar store, the cashier who checks you out gets considerably more of that money than the CEO. The person who stocks the CDs gets more. The janitor who sweeps the floor gets more.

    This is not just about musicians and other entertainers. It's about all forms of intellectual property. The many millions of engineers and programmers also create intellectual property. I made my living for many years working in engineering. Just because the results of my labor could be stored in digital format doesn't mean it's OK for people to simply take it.

    Why would a company pay me to design something if there is no protection against Joe Pirate coming along and building that product them self? Why would investors spend tens of millions of dollars to pay engineers and programmers at a startup company with zero income, when another company doesn't spend a cent on R&D but reaps all the rewards? They wouldn't. That product is far less likely to be developed. You are far less likely to be using that product. And I would be out of a job along with millions of others.

    People seem to think that the cost of making a CD or DVD is pennies. They ignore the millions of dollars that are spent up front. They also ignore the fact that the money doesn’t just pay for the original R&D. The revenue from Gen 1 funds the development of Gen 2, which in turn funds the development of Gen 3. If that weren't true, as soon as Gen 1 was developed all the engineers and programmers would be laid off. But that's not what happens. The company hires even more engineers and programmers.

    • There is a very good reason why we have intellectual property laws. That's because without those laws in place, we'd be living in a MUCH less advanced state of technology and entertainment.

      Are there problems with the system? Heck yea. But you can't throw the baby out with the bath water. You try to address the specific problems, and leave the bulk of the system in place.

      There is another thing to consider. I agree that some entertainers make outrageous amounts of money, while other very talented people barely scrape by. Consider a music store. It's a place where you can flip through thousands of artists. You might like indie music and hate the pop artists. But the pop artists are the bread and butter of the music store. If it weren't for the pop artists, you wouldn't be able to flip through all those obscure indie bands. In essence, the pop artists are supplementing the indie artists.

  • I think 4 and 6 contradicts each other somewhat. Either way, my point is that these days with modern technologies such as "cloud" and "online storage" backup or "off site" backups data such as music and audio files such as MP3s can be backed up in multiple locations, and if all of your computer files are synced up to them then the back up copies of your files and folders become identical 1 to 1. And all of those files can be backed up else where in multiple locations besides your current physical one, then there will always be backup copies of your files despite something such as situations where your house might be burnt down.

    Your computer may crash and the whole thing might wear out over time, but if there are backup copies of your files even as basic as something like OneDrive or Google Drive you can recover them back onto a newly purchased computer.

    The downside is the more space you need to backup your files, then the more it will cost. Other than that swap, trade or make backup copies and share with friends. That way they have your stash of files and you have theirs, and if either of those cases happen you can recover your files very quickly by copying them back onto your new computer or a portable hard drive.

  • First of all. Some artists are greedy bastards. Look at Tidal. It's owned by artists. They charging quite a lot of money. This is amount what they want to get. It's too much. So as the result of that Tidal is in huge debt. They are against Spotify. Because they don't get as much as they want. In this case I would blame Spotify. Not because they don't pay much, but because their management is totally useless and they are not able to sell adverts. If you listening Spotify for free, the only advert you can hear is : Spotify premium.
    It's arguable how much money generate selling albums. Most of the income, artists has from concerts.
    It's also proven that "pirates" are more likely visit concert of their favourite artist. And as I said earlier, concert makes more money for artists.
    About albums : I never heard any album from any artist where I liked all tracks. I believe that albums should be kind of propagation of particular artist, not the main source of income.
    That's why I don't like Taylor Swift (among the others) because she proved several times that money it's all that matters to her. I believe that this behaviour can generate more cash in short period of time. But in the long period she will realise that she actually lost.
    I'm not saying pirating music is OK. I'm not doing that. I'm paying Spotify Premium. I'm just saying that pirating is not so big deal.
    And another reason for "pirating" In some countries music CDs are too expensive. In Czech Republic new released album of Kylie Minogue cost 900 czk. About £30. In London, the same album cost £5.

  • Yeah it's Double-Edged Sword. But I'm against music companies and records. They barely give the artists 20% of the total profit. I wish the artists could earn 100% and that way, we'd have cheaper content too.

  • In the good old days of vinyl a real "Collector" would buy two copies of the album - Keep one in its cellophane mint condition and one for playing - One of my friends was like this, you would get a heart attack when asked to put it back on the shelf , it was alphabetical order, within the same band chronological studio albums then chronological live and greatest hits albums. He collected albums and books, he had one room on his house with 5 bookcases full of albums and books.

  • Looking back... CDs and cassettes were SO overpriced back then! I actually LIKE the modern movement of the corrupt, evil record labels having their power diminished, and artists having more control over their art form!

  • "Music tradition"? Owning recordings is only a century old - prior to that, you had to go to live performances or learn to play yourself.

    • Correct, so to put it better "Recorded music tradition"?

  • They gouged album prices in the 90s and thought you had to buy an entire crappy album for one good song. Can suck it for all I care. There were vocalists in chain gangs who made up their own s***, never heard them complain about intellectual property theft and compensation.

    Some of these artists have waaay too much money anyway. Complain about all the pressure, can't handle the luxury, then turn around and complain about destroying their careers and cutting their profit. Boo hoo.

  • Please write your local congressmen to support the Songwriter Equity Act at:

  • Good reason number 5. People with rare music that isn't sold in stores anymore can easily share the content for everyone to enjoy.

  • There's nothing right about pirating music. People who do it are either entitled pieces of shit or entitled pieces of shit

  • Lol, yeah, piracy sure hurts the companies that, you know, make BILLIONS from other people's work.