Digital Music

Guilt Takes Center Stage In Latest Anti-Piracy Efforts

If you can't beat 'em, at least make them feel guilty.

Two music industry trade groups, The U.K.'s Music Matters and The American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), are leading a shift in the tone of anti-piracy efforts from threats to a focus on reminding fans of music's value and file sharing's negative impact on the musicians they love. Even the RIAA approves endorsing the initiatives calling them "important" and "compelling" on its official blog.

Music Matters is a UK based collective that includes artists, retailers, songwriters, labels and managers, formed "to remind listeners of the significance and value of music".  This video from Sigur Ros is a good example of their approach.

Music Matters – Sigur Ros (22-3-10) from Music Matters on Vimeo.

U.S. indie label trade group A2IM took a more playful approach with its Why Stealing Sucks campaign as in this PSA video:

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  1. I think this is probably a better way to go, to be honest.
    We all know that everyone can get free music if they want to. the main problem now is that many people still think that by taking free stuff they are ‘sticking it to the man’ or somehow punishing Warners for their 1970s/80s/90s excesses by depriving a 22 year old indie artist of sales.
    the more we can draw a link between ‘paying for music’ and ‘supporting the artists’ the better, I’d say – get people to buy music because they want to, not because they have to….

  2. In direct response to this The Bastard Fairies give you another option.
    If you create good music it will generate true fans who in turn buy your music even if its free!!!
    We have tried and tested this formula, and as a result of giving away our music for free have independently generated far more fans and sales as a result.
    Musicians need to stop whining and get creative.
    Robin Davey and Yellow Thunder Woman
    The Bastard Fairies.

  3. File sharing is NOT stealing. File sharing is radio play for artists that can’t afford radio payola. No one is depriving the major labels of anything by sharing music. They’re trying to claim that an accounting term known as “opportunity cost” is the same as “theft.” Often when people hear music in what used to be called “mix tapes” they go out and buy the whole cd. Filesharing is promotion.
    I’ve already bought my record collection twice when we changed formats fro LP to cd. I’m not doing it again.
    Any of us can buy used records or cds and still deprive the labels of income AND the artists that made them and no one can say that is stealing.
    Boycott major labels! Buy the music of indy artists artists directly from the source! Dream of bankruptcy for the RIAA!!

  4. I’ve bought far more music in the last couple of years than I ever did before I started downloading music. Very little of it is the stuff the labels push though, because that’s bland pap. I support artists directly wherever possible, rather than giving 99% of the money to a record company. Perhaps if the labels stopped screwing the artists with tiny, late royalties people would feel less righteous about screwing them in turn.

  5. Let’s be real here…
    If every musician started giving out their music for free, don’t you think that fans would be overwhelmed with all this free music?
    This whole idea of giving all music away for free is simply not going to work for everyone.
    We are at one of those moments where everyone just needs to chill, and regroup; think this through, and stop listening to tech bloggers; WHO DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT MUSIC, the solution to our these problems can only come from a musician, who understands musicians and music fans; NOT A TECH BLOGGER.

  6. Thank you Bastard Fairies for facilitating people of all incomes to access your music! Thank you! love it!
    another true fan of music not money.

  7. Amen! Making music actually does take work, and it’s sad to see people with great potential having to half-ass it because they need a day job. If I could say anything to the file sharers out there, it’d be “do what you gotta do, but if you really connect with a band, please support them”.

  8. “overwhelmed with all this free music”? As opposed to overwhelmed with all this for-pay music?
    Your statement contributes nothing to the conversation other than you think non-musicians have nothing to contribute to the revenue model discussion. One could easily say musicians have no clue. Of course, some musicians have gotten smart embracing where the market has moved rather than stomping their feet complaining!
    For years now the best idea I’ve heard is setup a PayPal (or the like) where fans can send $5 (or more if they can afford it, less if not) if they like an album they’ve downloaded from wherever. Gotta be more than the paltry residuals the industry gives them on a $12-16 USD record sale! The Bastard Fairies are embracing that quite well and will likely see not only revenue from distribution but all increased tickets & consignment sales as new fans go to shows.
    Not everyone pirates because they want to save money, the fact that every day people buy bootlegs on the streets of NYC proves it’s not money.
    We don’t need the mega-corps with their bricks & mortar. All that’s need is artists, technology and some technically inclined people to produce quality the matches or surpasses the junk major labels throw at as daily.

  9. Trouble is that so many bands see it as an us and them situation when the reality is we are all on a level playing field. When you make a true fan they respect you, show them respect in return and you have forged a bond.
    They will then download your album for free, buy the T-Shirt, download the bonus tracks for a small fee and buy the physical album with the bonus DVD, but best of all they also tell their friends about you.
    We are not victims as musicians, it is the narcissistic attitude and entitlement issues that so many musicians display that is killing music. People only listen to music if it means something to them, not if they think it means something to you. If you are good enough they will find you and they will pay for it too.

  10. most of what I hear here is the same old rhetoric being spouted for the last few years…’stick it to the man’…’major label crap’ and so on…from where I’m sitting, I feel so non-connected to major labels anyway that I don’t really even care about what they do. Their product speaks for itself. Disliking what they sell and their motives are not reasons to feel entitled to someone else’s creativity and hard work. Yes, musicians can always choose to give their music away and that is awesome, but that isn’t the point. The point is that we, as a society believe in rewarding others for their labours when we benefit from it…this should be especially true for artists because there aren’t many who will stand up for them and what is right. Musicians are not greedy; in fact most would probably give you a free record if you liked their music and were short on cash. Buying a t-shirt is great, but you are buying the t-shirt…a record is a record. Support the art you love, support the artists. If an artist gives you their music, thank them for their generosity but do not take it for granted. When a society stops looking out for those who work hard to add beauty to people’s lives, we have failed. We may not see it now, tommorrow or even next year, but one day we will.

  11. I applaud reading about new ideas here versus the same bull that everyone has been ranting about for 10 years. Face it, the internet has caused a flood on the supply side of music because barriers have been broken down and virtually anyone can upload and download. I was lucky to have made money doing music but even in the “old days,” bands didn’t make money off selling records. I sold quite a few and made infinitely more money on the publishing, live shows and merchandise. Never recouped the deals and so I may never make money off of the masters period. The essential question to me is not how to put the genie back in the bottle, but how to get anyone to listen in the first place. Piracy is what it is. It has become the way millions consume music. I am not advocating stealing but how does anyone expect to gain an audience now without people virally spreading your music? Like most of you, this issue makes my head hurt. Gain fans anyway you can. People will support you if they believe. The beauty and tragedy in this is you can find an audience if you are good and work at it hard enough but with a more level playing field comes a price. Artists and labels at this point can’t have their cake and eat it too.

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