Module 5: Disrupting the Music Industry

This week I will start by defining one key term that one must know in order to understand this week’s theme. “Digital piracy is a type of copyright infringement—is a global phenomenon that allegedly contains grave economic consequences for intellectual property industries. Its pervasiveness has produced a global piracy subculture”(Steinmetz, Tunnell, 2013, p.53). In today’s society digital piracy is very present. “The development of the information-based ‘New Economy’ is due in large part to the growth in industries that trade in intellectual property. These industries have been a leading sector in US economic expansion for the past two decades, and currently account for over $40 billion of the US gross national product” (McCourt, Burkart, 2003, p.333). That is a major part of the United States economy and is a lot to potentially lose. Therefore fundamental of the entertainment industries. “It suffered a slump in the mid-1990s as catalog sales reached saturation and the novelty of a new delivery system (compact discs) wore off”( McCourt, Burkart, 2003, p. 335). Supporting this industry is therefore of great importance and therefore should be taken very seriously. In the same article, the author suggestions a way in which this can be done. “Subscription prices would need to make up in volume what is lost in profitability, suggesting cost pressures and even price wars among music services. Subscriptions also would penalize chain music stores and retail outlets, which now account for 80 percent of sales in the popular music market” (p.344).

On the other hand, downloading music is a large part of our culture. It seems like everyone now a days downloads music, movies etc. In the reading “Under the Pixelated Jolly Roger”, Steinmetz and Tunnel states a study found that pirates have multiple motivations for engaging in piracy. These reasons include “a desire to share digital cultural artifacts with each other, to sample content before making a purchase, an inability to afford digital content and a desire to circumvent or undermine copyright law and the digital content industry” (p. 65).

Now to answer this weeks question. I personally do not choose to download free movies or unauthorized music downloads. However in High School I used to. I always found that my computer was affected by the spam that come with the music. I have been through a number of computer because of this reason and this is the primary reason why I do not download anymore. Something needs to be done about all the illegal downloads. I-tunes is a great effort for music to be bought legally. Nonetheless, there are still sites that allow illegal downloads and there something needs to be done about them. I personally thought the ideas brought up by RIAA recording company had the right intentions, but they went about it wrong. I would suggest that a movement like this one should be done again, but done targeting the right individuals.




McCourt, T., P. Burkart. (2003). When Creators, Corporations and Consumers Collide: Napster and the Development of On-line Music DistributionMedia, Culture & Society. 25 (3), pg. 333-350

Condry, Ian. (2004). Cultures of Music Piracy: An Ethnographic Comparison of the US and JapanInternational Journal of Cultural Studies. 7 (3), pg. 343-363

Steinmetz, K., K. Tunnell (2013). Under the Pixelated Jolly Roger: A Study of On-Line PiratesDeviant Behavior. 34 (1), pg. 53-67