Lynne d Johnson



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01.09.08 01:31 AM

Piracy and the Future of the Music Biz

Matt Mason recently sent me a copy of his book, The Pirate's Dilemma: How Youth Culture Reinvented Capitalism, and I have to say it's a must read especially in the times we live in when the RIAA's policy is:

"[T]here's no legal "right" to copy the copyrighted music on a CD onto a CD-R. However, burning a copy of CD onto a CD-R, or transferring a copy onto your computer hard drive or your portable music player, won't usually raise concerns so long as:

The copy is made from an authorized original CD that you legitimately own

The copy is just for your personal use." [Threat Level |]

Matt says: "As piracy continues to change the way we all use information, how should we respond? Do we fight pirates, or do we learn from them? Should piracy be treated as a problem, or a solution? To compete or not to compete - that is the question – that is the Pirate’s Dilemma, perhaps one of the most important economic and cultural conundrums of the 21st Century."

Matt's book came out Jan. 8, a day after my former colleague Adrienne Day's Ripped to Shreds appears in New York Magazine. (The article has officially been up for a week, but the issue is dated Jan. 7.) Is this coinkidink? Probably not. It's the rising tide.

Adrienne's piece focuses on how leaks are hurting the music industry, but also explains how the leaks often come from within the industry, as well she shares a few highlights on ripping crews.

She raises an excellent point:

"It is increasingly difficult for the music industry to wage its war against leaks without risking a lot of collateral damage, if not self-destruction. Leakers are everywhere. Rooting them out is difficult and costly and can divert energy from finding more creative solutions to the problem. Like, for example, the model Radiohead pursued this year: After a failed attempt by front man Thom Yorke’s record label to strong-arm OiNK into removing his solo album from the site, the band changed strategies, inviting fans to pay whatever they wished to download their new record, In Rainbows, or drop $80 for a lushly packaged, high-fidelity physical album. One estimate puts their first-month online sales as high as $2.74 million."

I couldn't even attempt to do this topic justice with Matt and Adrienne's work already bearing truth to light. So with that said, I leave you with this video presentation of a talk that Matt gave at BIF (Business Innovation Studio) -3 Collaborative Innovation Summit.

Video: Matt Mason, Author, The Pirate's Dilemma

More on The Pirate's Dilemma and Matt Mason:

The Pirate's Dilemma tells the story of how youth culture drives innovation and is changing the way the world works. It offers understanding and insight for a time when piracy is just another business model, the remix is our most powerful marketing tool and anyone with a computer is capable of reaching more people than a multi-national corporation.

Mason began his career as a pirate radio and club DJ in London, going on to become founding Editor-in-Chief of the magazine RWD. In 2004, he was selected as one of the faces of Gordon Brown’s Start Talking Ideas campaign, and was presented the Prince’s Trust London Business of the Year Award by HRH Prince Charles. He has written and produced TV series, comic strips, and records, and his journalism has appeared in VICE, Complex and other publications in more than 12 countries around the world. He recently founded the non-profit media company Wedia.

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