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Moby: Music Industry Shortsighted Over Piracy Approach

Posted by: , 20:44 AEDT, Sat November 30, 2013

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Musician Moby takes music industry to task over their "shortsightedness" in not recognizing the importance of creating new fans, even if these fans come via piracy
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Musician Moby has spoken out against the music industry's approach to the piracy problem, urging them to obsess over creating great music, rather than over piracy.

Speaking to Music Ally, Moby explained his opinions on piracy, and how it's different to how the industry thinks about piracy.

For one, Moby thinks much of what the music industry has done on piracy has been ineffective, even though he willingly agrees that the industry's criteria for evaluating the effectiveness of their anti-piracy policy is different to his.

"For the past 15 years or so, the major labels have been incredibly bent out of shape about piracy and they haven’t accomplished anything ... A major label’s criteria for evaluating things are certainly a lot different from mine. I don’t want to criticise or judge too harshly their perspective, but at some point there has to be an empirical look at the effectiveness of their approach. What the major labels hopefully learned a while ago is that punishing listeners is not the way to go," says Moby.

Speaking of his recent partnership with BitTorrent, in which all the songs, short films, art and even stems from his most recent album, Innocents, have been made available for download on BitTorrent for others to enjoy and make their own music with it, Moby says the controversy over BitTorrent is what made him first interested in a partnership.

"When I met with them [BitTorrent] and they explained to me what their platform is, it just seemed in line with the ethos I have with regards to the distribution of different types of digital media," Moby added.

And on the touchy subject of Spotify, a fan favorite but recently accused of not being a money earner for artists, Moby says he finds it strange that some musicians can't seem to understand that Spotify isn't that much different to how radio has always worked.

"If it’s coming off the radio, they get very excited; but if it’s coming off Spotify they get all worked up [regarding the lack of revenue]. From my perspective it’s the same song being listened to by the same people on the same speakers. How can you malign one delivery vehicle and applaud another delivery vehicle?"

And Moby says that as long as musicians create great music, all of these problems, and including the piracy problem, will take care of itself.

"There are hundreds of millions of pieces of music floating around in the world online. For any person to make the effort to listen to something that I have done is so flattering. It’s such a compliment. So I can’t really be worked up about how they are listening to it. For me the focus is on the music itself and the relationship that the listener might have to the music.

"If every musician, label and manager really focused on making the best possible music that they could and doing whatever they could to really focus on and enhance the relationship with the listener, the rest would probably take care of itself," says Moby.

In the end, Moby says, whether it's a legal platform like Spotify, or an illegal one like Napster, as long as people are listening, the money will come eventually. Not only in the form of music purchases, but also merchandise and live concerts. And it's this concept of creating new fans (and new potential revenue sources), whether it's initially via piracy or legal means, that Moby says the music industry doesn't get. 

"I feel like the music business hasn’t benefitted from taking a fairly shortsighted view to piracy in the here and now compared to a much happier and rosier long-term picture. I understand that a lot of these companies are beholden to shareholders and quarterly results but I feel there has to be a better and more effective way to see things in the boarder long term rather than in the narrower short term," Moby explains.


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