Has the rapid evolution of technology along with data sharing trends really hurt the music industry? That’s the question that the Virgin Disrupters will debate live on October 28th!
At first, when music began to go digital, no one really considered the scale of things like piracy and the streaming of copyrighted content. Sure, piracy existed before the digitization of music, everyone had their third date slow jamz mix cassette (right?) and while this was illegal,your collection of timeless slow jamz had very little effect on the music industry. But as time went on and file sharing programs like Napster and Kazaa were created and then used by the masses piracy started to become a real and unavoidable issue. After all the main function of the internet was and is the ability to share information worldwide; with millions of individuals passing data to one another is the idea of piracy really that jarring or unexpected?
To combat piracy the music industry has been forced to make purchasing and listening to albums as easy as possible (to make it simpler to buy then to steal) through services like Google Play and the iTunes Store, and Spotify; most songs are available in an instant. Even with the invent of these programs piracy remains to exist. The industry has been forced to entertain the fact that piracy might be here to stay and while piracy obviously hinders profit from album some benefits are the fact that a wider margin are listening (including theoretically those who can’t pay etc.) this means more fans, which in turn means larger concert turnouts.
The struggle between evolving technology and the music industry is by no means an easy issue on either side. On one hand there’s some kind of beauty in the idea of freedom of information, it reminds me of the communal Native American idea that “everything belongs to everyone” but the reality is that artists deserve payment for their hard work. If you’re interested in hearing more about the ever changing battle between technology and the music industry be sure to listen firsthand to musicians will.i.am, Amanda Palmer, Scooter Braun, Imogen Heap and Zoë Keating debate live on Virgin.com/Disruptors on Monday October 28th at 19.30/GMT in Central London.
This post is sponsored by Virgin.