Piracy Is Passé Anyway

Affordable alternatives to pirating content

by Published: Nov 13, 2013

Over the past decade, it has become unbe­liev­ably easy to down­load basi­cally any­thing we’ve wanted. Now it’s becom­ing eas­ier than ever to get these things legally.

The gov­ern­ment cer­tainly helped with its anti-piracy efforts head­lined by the take down of Kim Dotcom. Gone are the days of sim­ply search­ing “Katy Perry prism megaupload.”

More impor­tantly, there is the rise of stream­ing ser­vices. Now there are online radio sta­tions ser­vices such as Spotify and Rdio, which give users quick, easy access to huge libraries of music both cur­rent and classic.

Music isn’t the only media where stream­ing is ris­ing, either: ser­vices like Netflix, Hulu Plus and TV sta­tions’ own web­sites offer super-cheap out­lets for unlim­ited content.

With large amounts of media being kept in var­i­ous clouds now, pos­sess­ing MP3 or video files is becom­ing less impor­tant, as pos­ses­sion of phys­i­cal media once did. Downloading may be free, but it’s time-consuming. We also all have mul­ti­ple devices; the cloud can reach those, but down­loaded files must be uploaded first. By sim­ply putting up with a few ads or pay­ing a small monthly fee — often less than $10 — users can get right to the music or the movies.

Much has been made of how lit­tle Spotify pays artist in roy­al­ties — cur­rently rang­ing from half a cent to a cent-and-a-half — but that amount is still greater than a great big zero. Besides being more time and movile-friendly, these ser­vices also offer the own­ers two impor­tant things: some small amount of rev­enue and a bet­ter mea­sure­ment of their media’s reach.

There are more ways to help a cre­ator than direct money. Internet sta­tis­tics are grow­ing in impor­tance. YouTube hits count toward the Hot 100 now. Television net­works and adver­tis­ers are slowly fac­tor­ing DVR and online stream­ing num­bers into their deci­sions to keep or can­cel shows.

Every lit­tle bit helps, and those lit­tle bits are ask­ing less of us than ever. As an added bonus, they’re also legal.