Piracy as a core business strategy

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

Tech Culture

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...

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