Piracy strikes a bad chord in digital music sales

With digital music on the rise, growing a whopping 20,900 percent since 2003, it’s no wonder the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) is making such a song and dance about piracy.

But now actively tuning into the debate, world governments are also stepping up to the plate, and finally starting to make illegal downloaders face the music. In an industry where digital sales accounted for 27 percent of revenue in 2009, artists and labels are still finding it difficult to eke out a fair profit, as overall global sales fell for the tenth year running. 

 “Even the success stories … will struggle to survive unless we address the fundamental problem of piracy,” explained IFPI CEO John Kennedy in a recently published report whose underlying message was that “Digital piracy remains a huge barrier to market growth.”

Kennedy is not striking a bum note either. Statistics cited in the report show that just 18 percent of U.S. internet users aged over 13 regularly buy digital music (NPD) – and only eight percent of Europeans.

Meanwhile, while as much as 70 percent of music is acquired digitally in the U.S., UK and France, only 35 percent makes up any revenue. A sad song indeed.

Despite the fact there are now 11 times more songs available for download than there were some six years ago and over 400 legal digital music distributors, still, it would appear, being an artist today is something you’ve got to do for the love, because the money just aint forthcoming.

The IFPI is doing its utmost to turn up the volume when it comes to piracy, even trying to lobby the movie and book industry to get in on the campaign to stop it. 

And some countries are taking notice. Sweden’s crackdown on the likes of Pirate Bay and illegal file sharers is said to have dissuaded some six out of 10 people from pirating music. France, the UK, New Zealand, South Korea and Taiwan are also exploring similar options to reign in their digital melody thieves.

But it occurs to us here at TG Daily that it was really Warren G who summed it all up nicely, way back in 1996, a full three years before Napster was even founded and before digital downloading was even much of an issue. 

What’s Love got to do with it?

“Now for these labels tellin’ fables,

Makin’ the messed-up deals under the tables.

You think that you smart, but, fool, I’m the smartest.

You can’t make no money if you can’t keep an artist.

Sign the dotted line, put ’em on the shelf.

Break ’em off some crumbs, keep the rest for yourself.

I know how it goes, treat an artist like you know,

Fly cars, gold, clothes, but no dough.

Since it’s all business, I’m-a handle mine,

Keep track of my stack down to the very last dime,

‘Cause in this rap game, it’s all about the buck.

You bend over for the label and you will get bucked,

Like how we run up in the skirt, and then you’re through.

The record label do the same thing to you.

90% business, 10% show.

Ain’t no love in this game , ’cause it’s all about the dough.”