Piracy online: A love song to Lily Allen

Songstress Lily Allen caused a stir recently when she said that piracy was killing music, or more specifically, up and coming musicians. There have been several interesting discussions of her idea, but none so effective or imaginative or just plain groovy as this one.

I like Lily Allen and I think she has a point, although in one respect I’m ambivalent: I imagine exposure through downloads might help bands, new and old. But I’ve also used services like Spotify without buying music as a result. And you have, too, I suspect. Evidence would be useful: how many people go on to buy after illegally downloading music tracks?

It seems to be that the music industry is having similar problems to the newspaper industry, where their existing business model no longer works because of the internet’s capacity for capturing and sharing. The issue isn’t about whether we should or shouldn’t be filesharing, though – not even DRM will stop it – but how the music business will react when they want to make money. Who said we do not live in interesting times?

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