Five years ago, I was of the opinion that protecting your music from piracy on a case-by-case basis was a waste of time.
You could get a Google alert on Monday notifying you that some site had just posted your MP3s for free, and if you wrote to that site’s owners asking them to remove the music, by Tuesday there would be two more Google Alerts in your inbox.
Trying to address each instance of piracy could quickly become a game of whack-a-mole, and meanwhile you’ve got gigs to play and music to promote.
Besides, isn’t piracy a form of exposure? Shouldn’t you be happy that people want to download your music for free?
Well, that’s debatable, for sure. Some labels and artists have really been hurt by music piracy, while others have been able to build their careers around free music on torrent sites. Like most things in this industry, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for distribution, pricing, and copyright issues. It comes down to you, your fans, what you’re willing to deliver, and what they’re willing to pay for (and how and when).
If you see it as a plus that your music, even when unauthorized, is widely available for free online, great — no need to combat piracy! Hopefully those fans are compensating you in other ways (coming to see you live, telling friends, following you on Instagram, creating UGC videos with your songs, etc.)
But if you DO want to remove your music from pirate sites, things have changed quite a bit in the last few years, and you’ve got options… Read more »