Let’s admit it….nowadays the marketing strategies employed by most labels allows fans to download and stream a substantial amount of music prior to the release of a new album. Fans get multiple tracks when they pre-order an album digitally or can even go stream them on a service like Spotify or YouTube, without paying any money. So, truly, it is difficult to understand, even from a fan’s perspective (and I am a music fan first and foremost), why there is such a need to try and find and download music illegally on piracy sites and blogs which has not yet been officially released.
Moreover, you need to keep in mind that these “pirates” are actually making money off of other’s backs here. While you download for free, probably thinking you are smart because you are saving your own money, you are doing two harmful things. First: you are taking away the compensation due to the artist and the record label who have spent significant time and financial efforts to make that music available for you (but, probably you could care less about that). Second: you allow the very people that put the music out for free to make themselves REAL money by selling advertisements on their sites and blogs. Some of these “pirates” are so persistent with their uploading of illegal materials, that you have to assume that this must be their full time job, especially considering the amount of time that it is needed to rip and re-upload full albums on the web, when their own sites/blogs get shut down by the providers after takedown notices. And all this goes on when there are popular, easy to use, LEGAL streaming services like Spotify, Deezer, YouTube, etc. available that give everyone the easy convenience to stream music while paying very little or even nothing at all for the privilege.
I really would love if everyone could understand and agree that the promotional needs of a label are such that we can no longer constantly face the risk of having an album leaked prior to the release. Considering that systems such as watermarked MP3 downloads and watermarked CDs do not prevent these leaks from happening all the time, it is no surprise to see that many labels decide to postpone releasing priority releases to journalists until the day of the release. We will now be one of those labels as we feel we must take a serious and strong stand against these leaks. Further, we will not be allowing any more promotional downloads of our albums, regardless if it is watermarked or not. It is just not right, nor respectful to everyone’s valuable time, hard work and efforts to keep going like this, so we have to ask for everyone’s respect, cooperation and understanding here. Unfortunately, one bad apple spoils the whole bunch and now this is what happens.
It is 2016 and journalists – who use their “ink” all the time to push for progress and technology – surely can understand that the world is moving forward and abuses of technology to work against the creative process are something we can’t facilitate.
Pardon the rant and keep on enjoying the music – BOYCOTT pirate sites and blogs!
Mario de Riso
Head of Label Management / Legal Affairs