Music Piracy: How Fans Are Part Of The Solution
Guess what? Fans are not only an integral part of the lifeblood of the music industry, they are a great tool in the fight against music piracy.
"With the notice and takedown system so broken, we need all the help we can get keeping music accessible to real fans. It's great to see true fans be part of the solution, looking out for the artists and songwriters they love." — Conversations in Advocacy #1
Taylor Swift's latest album, Reputation, released Nov. 10, sold more than 1.2 million copies in its first week. According to industry insiders, the incidents of album pirating were comparatively low.
While torrent-based album ripping tended to be the primary means of music piracy in the past, more recently there has been in a shift in how music gets shared illegally. Nowadays, music is prone to circulate illegally on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, as well as via stream-ripping, which is one of the more dominant forms of piracy worldwide.
To battle piracy, it takes an army — artists, managers, record labels, and industry trade groups — and, increasingly, legions of fans, who have taken to reporting violations as well. In the case of Swift, for example, when the track list for Reputation was released online, Swifities themselves flagged and reported the parties who posted the track list.
With a notice and takedown process that is labor intensive and a lot like playing whack-a-mole as illegal content proliferates across the internet, assistance from music fans is welcome. Instead of ripping music for free, fan communities are now becoming a huge asset to ensure artists get properly paid for their work.
"Fan armies care deeply about their favorite artists and actively monitor for instances of a song or album illegally posted," a spokesperson for the RIAA told Billboard. "Our 'report piracy' inboxes and Twitter feed are often flooded with emails and tips. It's not only helpful, it's a hopeful sign about the mind-set of modern fans and their respect for artists."
Read more about how fans are impacting the fight against music piracy here.
"Conversations in Advocacy" is your weekly digital tip sheet on the policies that affect music makers and their craft. New installments post every Friday.