What Piracy? Music Industry on the Rise in 2009 - The UpStream

What Piracy? Music Industry on the Rise in 2009

posted Saturday May 1, 2010 by Nicholas DiMeo

What Piracy? Music Industry on the Rise in 2009

We covered a couple months ago about how total music sales were down as well as piracy use from 2007 to 2009 but that was only for the United States. Here's a global stat: 13 markets worldwide saw an increase in music revenue for the year of 2009, including Australia, Mexico, South Korea, Sweden, the UK and Brazil. They all claim, however, that this means there needs to be more stringent anti-piracy laws.

IFPI, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, said, "South Korea and Sweden in particular saw striking returns to growth...showing how an improved legal environment can help impact on legitimate music sales."

This may be true, but the data doesn't show that. Sweden did approve a new law in 2009 that gave rights holders a court-dictated way to get named of accused piracy infringers, which caused The Pirate Bay admins to go on trial. But we've used those tactics here in the States for years. So why did we suffer but Sweden didn't?

The IFPI is big on escalating the punishment depending on the amount of piracy, going even as far as to disconnect a user's Internet, but the data doesn't prove that this is a punishment to fit the crime, or even that it will halt or slow down the illegal file-sharing.

South Korea has adopted a "three strikes" rule that will disconnect Internet as well. However, in the 30,000 infringement warnings that were served last year, not one connection has been severed. Revenue, though, is still up. So where is the growth coming from?

We can safely say that the laws and practices in-place has helped a little bit, but new business models are also impacting sales. Spotify, for example, is a European ad-supported music service that is very popular in Sweden. The IFPI has admitted that "the launch of popular legitimate services" has helped growth as well.

It all makes sense. Places like Hulu, Netflix and Spotify help slow down the amount of piracy that takes place, because for a minimum amount, users can watch and listen to their hearts content, making would-be pirates sail the legal oceans. It doesn't hurt that mobile devices, like the iPhone, are also carrying streaming services like Rhapsody.

In all reality, that's the route to take. Internet disconnections will just force the issue and anger more users. The industry needs to stray from this option and move to more viable solutions, like Hulu, to achieve the results their looking for.

So to wrap up: music revenue is up due to a combination of anti-piracy laws and better, more affordable streaming and downloading services.

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