Digital Music

Are You Past The Whole “Music Piracy” Thing?

Piracy Last week, a reader confessed in a comment that it surprises them to still read about "music piracy" on Hypebot. They think it's an issue that we should've evolved past by now. Given that Hypebot is a news blog, there's a certain amount of piracy coverage that we must have. If a new and interesting research study or quote makes waves, it's our jobs to let you know about it. However, it's expected that long-term readers will grow tired of the topic. There isn't many new ways to spin piracy into a post and quite frankly, the conversation hasn't evolved that much in the last decade.

So I thought I'd ask a wider consensus of you if you think we should move past music piracy topics and in its place what things you'd like to read about instead.

Are you past the whole "music piracy" thing? If so, what would you like to read about more? (Please provide three topic ideas or make up a headline or two.)

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  1. Friends – quite simply, I can only hope this ‘debate’ does not die. If we allow those that ‘support piracy’ to dominate the discussion (which, unfortunately has been the case), arguably the most important ‘product’ our species makes (art….music) will continue to suffer. Yes, we all know that a teenager developed a cool way to share files in the late 90’s – I don’t think this should have been a license for every kid in college to access anyone’s creative work without compensating them. After decades of being relegated to ‘second class citizens’, artists are not only the last to get paid, but their voice has been drowned out. Of course, one can retort by suggesting artists now get paid in other ways, and music should be like water etc etc, but the reality is unless we get money into the pockets of artists, art will deteriorate…and spare me the philosophical argument that ‘art will always survive’. Of course it will…It’s a matter of how much of a voice we want to give art in our society. Indeed, art made by tweens backed by corporate interests (corporate artists or otherwise) may survive and bedroom producers/musicians will continue to grow, but those that require the time to learn their craft, push the limits of music, and develop as people (full time !)will be marginalized. Do we want this in our society?
    We can all pull statistics that support any argument, but I for one am deeply concerned that the art of music will continue to be marginalized as it becomes closer to a PEZ dispenser, then humanities greatest gift. If you have 10$ where will you spend it? If you spend it on specialty coffees and not at an indie music shop (online or in your community), we will have cities littered with corporate coffee shops and those that dedicate their lives to music manning the machines…..hmmm…this is already happening.
    Hypebot – you are the liaison between technology, art and people….suggesting you remove the topic of ‘piracy’, the very topic that has acted as a catalyst for the transformation of an entire industry (and more importantly, the artists that fuel it) should be reconsidered. Features on Artists views on Piracy, continued statistics/insights on the effects of piracy, and interviews with those ‘business’ people who are creating technologies that enable piracy are 3 ideas that may prove useful. As an aside, I am a massive fan of the writing and topics covered on your site, keep up the good work!

  2. Past it? It is still a vital issue that is constantly affecting this business, so no, I don’t think anyone should be “past it”. As long as it continues to be an issue, it should still get covered.

  3. To say that the Music Industry should ‘get past’ the whole Piracy issue is to say that educational institutions should ‘get past’ the whole plagiarism thing – it’s ridiculous.
    To ignore music piracy is to say that music has no value, intrinsic or monetary. It also ignores all aspects of intellectual property laws.
    Music piracy is a symptom – it’s a symptom of technology out-pacing business and legislature. It’s a symptom of a changing market, and a changing consumer mind-set.
    I would argue that music piracy is the driver of all music business innovation we have seen in the past 10 years! Yes, it is incumbent on the Government to address the legal implications, but it is up to us as a music community to make piracy undesirable and obsolete.

  4. I think this is relevant, so of course you’re going to post about it! If it’s still an issue, you should still report on it. The music industry has been attacked and in a terrible flux, and until that changes, it’s still a topic of discussion. I’m not a musician or a singer, or anyone that has a stake in the whole “stop piracy” agenda. I just think that news is news. And if you stop talking about it, people will forget about it, and think it’s no longer an issue. That’s that.

  5. Putting everything in its simplest form: If a band or artist wishes to charge for music they’ve created, that’s their right. If someone takes that music without paying for it, then it’s stealing. It’s really no different to shoplifting: taking someone’s products because you think they wont see you do it.
    Just because something is easy to do, doesn’t make it right. The music piracy debate is still as relevant today as it was when people were duplicating audio cassettes.

  6. The problem is the online forums have not so much reported “Piracy” but editorialized it. The short re-cap is this: “Anyone who thinks piracy is bad and can be changed is an imbecile and needs to adopt a new business model or suffer the consequences”. Add to this at least on mention that “Major labels are dead” and that some online service will help artists connect to fans and make money on the road and there you have it.
    This is short sighted and groups discussion topics together as rivals which serves no purpose. New business models must be discovered. Piracy is bad. These are not mutually exclusive discussions.
    Eliminating discussion of piracy because people are tired of it is akin to ceasing discussions about global warming, the destruction of the environment, the water crisis and other annoying subjects in favor of what seems to matter most, new gadgets and technological opiates that in the end solve nothing, while artists are having a harder time making music everyday and our planet dies and our culture right along with it.

  7. hahaha I obviously stand corrected, thus far, assuming you were mentioning my post.
    The point I was trying to make is that all of the posts featuring bitching & whining (w/no credible solutions), along with the constant harping on “The Death of the Music Industry” far outweigh pertinent music industry news.
    It seems at least one reader was lead to believe I support piracy! Readers of my own blog at, know this couldn’t be further from the truth.
    Whereas, I have long been an advocate of the freemium model, dating back over a decade, I agree that anyone taking your music without your specific permission is a criminal. But I’m not going to cry like a little bitch over something of which I have no control.
    Bands much bigger than we will ever be can’t stop it. Label suits and the RIAA with their fancy college degrees and high priced lawyers can’t stop it. There is no answer in sight and there won’t be, ever!
    Please explain to me the importance of covering the subject on a daily basis when there has been no real development over the last decade?!?!? News & posts about piracy can’t & won’t solve the problem. It’s album filler material, so to speak, that blogs of this magnitude are far above!
    If piracy is affecting your livelihood as a musician, Adapt – Innovate – Overcome!

  8. “…There is no answer in sight and there won’t be, ever!..fancy college degrees and high priced lawyers can’t stop it..”..hahahaha
    if you aren’t prepared to fight, then get out of the way – like a “little bitch”, and let others do the fighting. Your arguments are weak, I wont even bother picking them apart.

  9. Heh. Why would anyone stop writing articles about the single force that has transformed the hundred year old music industry as we know it?
    Each form of packaged music has had a new format that has come along and replaced it. Sheet music was the major revenue stream, then records, then tapes, and onto CDS. MP3s then came along and proved the most innovative invention of the the past ten years. It completely cut out most of the work used in making, packaging, shipping, and selling all other forms of music before it. The only problem was that in trying to make and sell a bigger and better product, they actually destroyed the only thing allowing them control to sell in the first place. The one thing the music industry forgot was that before the sake of sheet music there WAS one other form of music revenue made by the price of admission to concerts and live music events. The ONLY reason people paid for admission to these concerts ws because there was NO other way for them to experience music at the time and therefore HAD to pay! The inventors of the MP3 took ALL the controls away from the sellers of music, giving consumers no NEED to pay for their product. The confines have been virtually broken away!
    Yes, there are still people who pay for music, but either because they have been trained to most of their lives or they feel they share a deeper connection on some level. These are in limited quntities though and what’s trully put the format of music now over all others is the piracy aspect. It’s proving that realityis stronger than words and ideas that just PRETEND to be reality!
    Free album download at

  10. Wasn’t arguing Jake. Just trying to point out the fact that there is a way to survive without worrying about forces beyond our control. And the fact that there are more pertinent articles out there that are trying to help us do so,
    If you have the answer, please let me know! I will take up arms and follow you into battle. If you don’t, then you are not helping. You’re just arguing for the sake of doing so.
    “Little bitch” was a bit harsh, huh? My apologies everyone! 🙂

  11. Well, they’re definitely kicking my ass! hahaha This was a great idea, by the way. I hope you and the rest of the staff didn’t take offense. I can only assume my post was taken out of context. Piracy in itself is definitely a criminal act, but articles just seem to blow it out of proportion, like we’ll all die if people don’t stop stealing our music.
    As an industry professional who has made money on stage and behind the scenes, I would be more than willing to help those who have been stalemated by this dilemma. Music will live on, even without physical sales, if it comes to that!

  12. Music piracy is both still relevant but, at the same time, a dead horse. Personally, I prefer articles that show musicians making money and services making a positive impact.
    As far as piracy goes, I have to quote Martin Atkins: “Be more worried if no one is stealing your music.”

  13. I would like to see this conversation get even bigger and keep going for decades. Anything to distract the competition from actually competing is good by me.
    So yeah, EVERYONE should be VERY concerned about piracy. Write blog posts! Angry comments! Keep digging that hole, y’all!

  14. The problem is one of apathy, not piracy. Pirates are just not emotionally invested in the music they consume. I use the word “consume” deliberately. It seems to me that “Consumers” are the ones pirating the music and not the fans. The industry needs to realise the difference and so do most artists.

  15. ….Solutions are coming, im not concerned about that. Its only been 10 years and an entire industry has transformed, technologies are being churned out every week, and more people are producing and consuming music than ever before. We should be more concerned about peoples attitude towards disposable music. Support independent music and speak out against corporate music.

  16. I for one ask people to pirate my music. It’s a losing battle to ask people to not do it, as it is like a losing battle to talk to a brick wall… instead, I want to get something out there in hopes of getting great paying gigs and praying those fans that like the free stuff would like to support my premium quality songs that cost ALOT to produce. If not, then at least I could get my message out there and may change an opinion or view about life.
    Andre From Idlewood
    Please “LIKE” my page and support indie/local music

  17. Keep it going. Just because the piracy battle hasn’t been won yet doesn’t mean it’s a fruitless fight.
    The “industry” has adopted many new technologies that make piracy less appealing without destroying the economies of recorded music, while also turning their focus to punishing the assholes who profit from making that music available (via ads on their sites, etc.) but avoiding prosecution of individual consumers.
    Despite taking a few bad detours (DRM, mass litigation, ad-supported free services, paid on-demand services, etc), we’ve come a long way over 10+ years. All of these individual piracy topics have been very important and helped shape where we are today. If the piracy issue had been purely linear then the conversation would be stale. However, the evolution is (and continues to be) far too dynamic to ignore.

  18. Jake, thanks for that. This is my introduction to Hypebot, seems like a good place.
    As a emerging singer/songwriter I have struggled with and tried not to think of this too much for it scares me. On the one hand the technology that we have now is great for exposure – I currently have a new album online for free download (limited time). Being able to reach out and share my music with people and encourage them to share it with others, allows me exposure that will hopefully turn into a fan base… but then comes the question that causes me fear…. Is it actually possible to make a living as a artist anymore and in the near future.
    The very technology that could help me create a groundswell in more than one area could also be the things that keeps me working at a cafe (as you mention they will continue to boom, ah). Will we return to where artists and musicians can barely exist on their income as in the early 1900’s when they were nearly ‘lower class’… and though I would love to actually be able to make a decent living and grow in my craft as you speak of… maybe this sort of levelling out of the playing field is a good thing for the world. So then what…
    At any rate it is all a concern and I appreciate that there are people out there like you supporting and encouraging folks to spend money on music (as they do on coffee).
    Thanks again.

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