Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Arrrrrr! Listen, mateys! But casually, please.

I just ran across a new term - "dinner party pirates." I found it in this New York Times article:

Record company executives say there are three kinds of music fans. There are those who buy music, and those who get a kick out of never paying for it. And then there are those whom Rob Wells at Universal Music Group calls “dinner party pirates”: the vast majority of listeners, those who copy music illegally because it is more convenient than buying it.

Well, we know what the RIAA's solution is to the whole mess, but the record companies themselves, as well as some musicians, are taking a different tack. The article names several services that are trying to cater to these dinner party pirates by offering music fixes:

Legal services offering free, unlimited streaming of music, rather than downloads, are proliferating. According to a survey published last week, they are taking some of the wind out of the pirates’ sails.

“Consumers are doing exactly what we said they would do,” said Steve Purdham, chief executive of We7, a service that says it has attracted two million users in Britain in a little more than half a year by offering unlimited access to millions of songs. “They weren’t saying, ‘Give me pirated music’; they were saying, ‘Give me the music I want.”’

The music industry has high hopes that the growth of sites like We7, whose investors include the former Genesis musician Peter Gabriel, can change the reputation of Europe as a hive of digital piracy. Similar businesses include Deezer, in France, and Spotify, which was started by two Swedish entrepreneurs and has grown rapidly in Britain and elsewhere. All of them are licensed by the music industry and hope to make money from advertising....

Spotify says it has two million registered users in Britain and another two million in Sweden, Spain and France. Paul Brown, managing director of its British arm, said it wants to expand to the United States by the end of the year.

There, it would go up against a number of digital businesses that also offer free music in various ways, including MySpace Music, Imeem, Last.FM, Pandora and others.

More here.
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