Piracy as a core business strategy

Could piracy be a key differentiator in driving a band's success?

I don't think piracy is the salvation of the entertainment industry, but I think there's an interesting germ of an idea in this TechDirt article about Show of Hands and its dependency on piracy to drive business. As one band member suggests:

You may call this process "piracy" if you wish--for me it is an act of generosity and it both increases our audience size and record sales. And as I always say on the night--if you're going to do it anyway you may as well feel good about it! I believe the official term is "viral marketing," and we depend utterly upon it.

Thom Yorke of Radiohead has questioned whether its "pay-what-you-wish" model would work for small bands, but I've got to think that a small band must depends on piracy (and any other means) to drive revenue. For a small band, or any software company trying to disrupt incumbent vendors, adoption is the first order of business .

Piracy is a way to drive adoption. Obviously, piracy only works if someone cares about your product in the first place--otherwise, why would they bother stealing it? But perhaps it's a compelling strategy for some? It certainly seems to work for Microsoft in emerging markets like China ...

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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