Muzit: Treating Music Pirates as Fans, Not Criminals

I’d never heard of Muzit until I ran across this story in the New York Post:

Here’s some advice for Kanye West: If you can’t beat music pirates, play to them.

The rapper’s latest album, “The Life of Pablo,” was illegally downloaded more than half a million times within 24 hours of its Feb. 14 release — costing him as much as $10 million in record sales. Music piracy continues to cost US artists an estimated $20 billion a year.

But one marketing firm believes that bad pirates can be converted into good ones. Muzit is pushing a fan-friendly alternative to the anti-piracy efforts of the major record labels, which for years have tried suing music pirates into submission.

“The litigation model to end piracy just hasn’t worked,” said Muzit Chief Executive Tommy Funderburk, noting that illegal peer-to-peer file sharing continues to dwarf legitimate track sales by a factor of 20 to 1. “So we flipped the model upside down and, instead of considering pirates as foes, started treating them as fans.”

Muzit sees pirates as potential customers who might be willing to pony up for concert tickets, contests and merchandise — if not the music itself — when approached directly.

Interesting. But let’s see what the music thinks of this plan.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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