Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Possible Solution to Music Piracy (in the Philippines)

Music piracy has been an issue for so long and has been the source of frustration for most performing artists. It’s as simple as few clicks, a few minutes of download and before you know it, you’ve got a copyrighted music file on your computer… absolutely free.

Millions of people around the globe are into piracy, and they have several reasons for doing it. For instance, why do you need to purchase an entire CD when you only want a single song out of it? Why is there a need to pay hundreds of pesos when the whole album is already available online? And why do you even have to leave the comfort of your home to purchase a collection, when you can get it with an internet connection (which you actually often use anyway)? Whether it’s downloading from whatever site or ripping it off from a friend’s purchased CD, it is still piracy.

We do all these because we find it inconvenient and costly to go out in order to buy an entire CD collection, even if the local music store is one tumbling away from our house. Hello, all we want to listen to is Justin Bieber’s “Baby” and nothing else. Why care to purchase the whole “My World 2.0” album?

At present, there is no viable way to get legal music in the Philippines online. By that, I mean digital copy of the song and not the whole CD that needs to be shipped at home. Yes there is an existing iTunes Philippines and Zune Marketplace Center, but do they offer music and videos with a localized content and price for us Filipinos? No.

We lack and need an application that will allow us to browse through both OPM and foreign songs, and enable us to purchase them using our very own Peso currency. I’m not saying it should be iTunes or Zune, right, but as long as there’s no other company that can be at par to both of these stabilized brands, then better show us why it is worth using. Again, the point is to have a useful application for purchasing of songs locally.

In connection to this, local artists should also be ready to support the move of having per-song or per-album purchases online. If there’s an application, there should also be content ready; else, it will be useless. I can just imagine how our local music industry would shine again if this becomes a reality.

You see, downloading music illegally prevents the artist who created the music from making a profit from their work. By piracy, we are stealing music that betrays the songwriters who have put in long hours of commitment and dedication to create a masterpiece.

For composers and singers who consider music as their bread and butter, let us help them live right by not making piracy our career. Instead, let’s push to shift to the alternatives to music piracy, which are (1) purchase actual albums from local stores or (2) purchase online, even just the foreign songs (while we wait for a localized application).

If there will be a way to purchase songs digitally or online, would you still support piracy? I hope not anymore. I want to hear from you. Tweet me @GlennOng.

This article is my tenth contribution to Manila Bulletin -- one of Philippines' leading broadsheets -- published on April 04, 2011 (Monday) in the TechNews Section. You can view the PDF version here.

Photo Source: WithFriendship


Nice article. I've got same sentiments. I don't understand why labels, artists or music stores are pushing back on putting up online stores or tying up with established online stores like iTunes. There is a big opprtunity for them especially at this digital age to sell through the internet especially now that not everyone can afford to go to the mall or even buy an entire CD.

Yes! you are absolutely right! But there's a big change for the Filipinos.

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