Present-Day Pirates: A Most Ingenious Paradox
February 26, 2016

In honor of Monday’s Leap Day (known to some of us as ‘The Pirates of Penzance’ Day), it seems fitting to get a nitty-gritty look at today’s modern pirate.

You know the type: roguish disregard for the rules, exploits the weak merely to increase their bounty/booty, treacherous when crossed, cavalier with their beloved(s), snorts at social etiquette, always up for a cheap trick or great publicity stunt.

Our crosshairs are thus sent upon Tr@mp Creativity Pirates. Music. Movies. TV. Photography. The 57 million that presently guzzle from the teat of Greed.

It starts off easy, simple really. A dodgy app off iTunes. A slick website “sponsored” atop a Google search. Massive swaths of unmonitored YouTube. Someone’s handling the licensing stuff when it comes from a ‘legit’ source, right?streamripping music watch

Next thing they know, the “badquirers” are flagrantly streamripping Kayne West off TIDAL.

But much like our dear Pirates of Penzance, the modern pirate is a bit of a paradox, according to MusicWatch’s recent survey of 1,000 real-deal pirates (blarmy!) of music.

For starters, they actually buy 70% MORE music than you do (assuming you’re not a pirate). Ha HA!!

music watch complete music update piracy infographicIndeed. MusicWatch’s survey found that music pirates heavily try before they buy (beyond legit 30-second samples, obvi).

They also hate being without their fave music when offline, so buying/pirating allows them to access their music without WiFi or data charges. (There’s gotta be a way to satiate this try-it-offline-a-bit desire legitimately, don’t you think?)

Then there’s stuff that still makes you wanna walk them off the plank. Because ultimately they are crafty pirates. Like streamripping. That’s just a big ol’ f@ck you to the artists, isn’t it?

Hmmm… yet if they’re really spending 70% more buying music than those of us free streaming off Pandora and Spotify and YouTube and TIDAL and… oh. Wait. Does that make us part of the problem?

Yes, in fact. It does.

Just like the Major General’s daughters, we’re flirting with the pirates without even knowing it. We’re practically in bed with them (actually, some of you might be already).

By using the race-to-the-bottom-royalty music streamers, by letting your work play on YouTube (who doesn’t pay royalties on any music running 30 seconds or less — including advertising), by throwing your hands up because “that’s just the way it is now” and joining in the swashbuckling fun, we both condone and join in diminishing the very arts we’re ever-hungry to explore.

Here’s more on the new world order of Creative Piracy. And definitely don’t miss this bit.

Whatever. It’s cool. You’re just gonna go with the music industry flow.pirates of penzance kevin kline rex smith angela landsbury cutlass

Yeah? Right on. Here’s some screaming deals on tall boots and LARP cutlasses, while you’re at it.

Wanna be a “Slave to Honor” and buy music from the artists themselves? Good.

And for heaven’s sake, MAM Family: pay attention to your client contracts, MRAs, and when your PRO begins to list to one side. No ‘poor wandering ones’ ye shall be!

It’s time to demand verified, hard-numbers data transparency from the music industry’s new distribution channels: online conduits, branded apps, PRO and direct licensing deals.

pirates of penzance kevin kline king rex smithKnowing where the money and music are really flowing is where the true battle begins.

Oh, and those “real” pirates we mentioned earlier? They’re dastardly, no doubt. But at least gangs of them are quietly slipping the artists cold hard coin in the long run.

Enjoying the ‘Pirates of Penzance’ clips, by the way? Yeah, those are all pirated. Just sitting out there on YouTube. ‘Exclusive for friends’ use only,’ per the channel’s owner. Which makes you… yup. A PIRATE, too! Arrrrrgh!

No worries. Do as Present-Day Pirates do. You’ve tested it out: now go rent the movie or see the musical!


Leave a Reply