Narcis ‘Nachos’ Radoi: Music Piracy And How To Avoid It



Ed. note: read the original article HERE, and many thanks to Radoi (“your friendly neighbourhood music industry advisor and marketing consultant”) for offering this to BLURT.

What is music piracy?

It’s the illegal downloading of music for free that people in the music industry are trying to avoid like the plague. It is the worst thing that happened to the music industry since the invention of auto-tune. It is a good plug-in, don’t get me wrong, but if you can’t sing – don’t try.

What the music piracy problem brings is a really massive decline in sales and revenue for the artists and the labels. This causes independents to almost not exist and smaller labels to go bankrupt quicker than you can wave a stick.

How to stop music piracy? Long and short of it is – you can’t.

That is why I wrote this article – to help anyone in the music industry minimise the impact that music piracy has on their songs.

Best ways to minimise music piracy:

As you can probably tell by now – music piracy is very big with popular releases, so I have listed below some actions that labels or independents can take to minimise the amount of music that is downloaded illegally.

1. Running and hiding

Music piracy works by someone downloading the release from iTunes or similar digital download stores, or ripping a CD/DVD then uploading the song on a music sharing website or torrent website.

The most popular websites for this are zippyshare, 4Share, mp3olimp, downloads nl, kickass to, demonoid com, bittorrent, kazaa, vuze, hulkshare but there are many others and more pop up everyday.

You can find out what sites are storing your music by searching “artist name song name mp3″ with and without quotes. Please make sure you check at least 10 pages of search results if not even more.

There are a couple of ways to get these links removed:

a. Copyright Link Removal

If you go to the copyright removal page on the link above you can copy and paste all links that relate to your music being downloaded for free and submit them for removal on the base of copyright from searches by Google. Most major labels are already doing this – but there is a problem here.

This removal generates a notice from ChillingEffects that is actually a list of all the links that have been removed. This makes it easier for music pirates. To stop this from happening make sure you contact ChillingEffects and request the list not be displayed as this in it’s own is a copyright infringement. This also makes sure that links are actually not found at all.

b. Privacy Link Removal

“A recent ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (C-131/12, 13 May 2014) found that certain people can ask search engines to remove specific results for queries that include their name, where the interests in those results appearing are outweighed by the person’s privacy rights.” (Quote from Google Website.)

As the ruling states this is on a privacy basis and includes “the right to be forgotten”. This arguably implies that anything that infringes your privacy can be removed from Google Search Results.

I see myself justifying on this basis that on-line privacy means anything that you or your public image representative did not approve or upload, that you do not want to be found and can be detrimental towards you as a person, or an artist/label for that matter.

An example for this, and for what the ruling used as an example case, is a house owner that received a auction notice for the sale of his house. This infringed his privacy and his image on-line, as it shows that he did not pay his bills and can be a major concern for people wanting to rent/buy a house from him.

Applying this to the music industry this can mean that anyone searching for your artist name or you as a person, should not be able to find anything that can infringe your privacy. This means that any illegal download for your music, on-line articles or links that can be damaging to your on-line presence and others can be removed.

A good example how this can help minimise music piracy is getting all links removed that show up under your artist name and you don’t want them there. This also includes illegal download sites that facilitate music piracy. These make the artist/label look unprofessional, breaches privacy as he/she only wanted the links to appear for places previously approved – like digital download stores and is detrimental to their careers and on-line presence.

I am not a law representative – so please consult your music industry representative with the law as they could advise more on this.

2. Facing it head on and being in control

Music piracy is only there because someone uploads the music in the first place – but what if the label is that person and uploads the music to those sites intentionally…

“Put the music out for free download? Are you crazy?” (Quote from every record label ever.)

The way things are going now:

a. You are ready to do a major release for your single

b. You get your song done, upload it on iTunes or similar and promote it.

c. Someone takes it and uploads it to some free download website.

d. You remove the link from Google searches and continue your promotion for the release that is being sold,

e. Others upload it again and you repeat step d and so on…

Your investment just went down the drain by 80%

A better way to approach this:

a. You are ready to do a major release for your single

b. You get your song done, upload it on iTunes or similar and promote it.

c. You upload the song with a “free download buster” to free download websites

d. You remove the links you did not upload from Google searches, and since you uploaded most of them – this will no longer be a problem and continue your promotion for the release that is being sold as a full track in high quality without advertising the free links.

e.No-one uploads it again and you are in control over your release, minimising the impact music piracy has on your release, and since you can’t stop it – you are using it to promote other releases.

You are now 80% better on your investment.

How to upload it to prevent music piracy?

By a free download buster I am referring to the song in a low quality format with a anti-rip part in it.

This is already applied to a lot (if not all) the music videos where there is a part in the middle to prevent people from ripping the video and using the song. Adding a small glitch, a spoken part or a beat that is off to the song that is not noticeable enough for people to not want to download the song from your source, but is noticeable enough that you cannot use it for public play and would make you want to buy the good version.

You upload this song with the mp3 information edited specifically for anti-piracy adding a message to the song information to specify that they got it for free and they should buy the song.

Also upload this in a .zip file with a text file that has links to your chosen digital download store, promotional facebook page/twitter account and other digital media.

For torrents, please make sure that this zip file is seeded and available for a really fast download – as others will re-upload it if not and you will no longer be in control of your release.

Anything that is placed in the zip file can be used to promote the artist/label and in combination with digital marketing techniques can actually increase sales/revenue.

I hope this article helps artists, bands, labels and everyone in the music industry with their fight against music piracy.


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