A large billboard in Times Square formerly occupied by American Eagle is currently cycling through the following phrases:
Piracy is progress. Piracy is freedom. Piracy is harmless. Piracy is inevitable. Piracy is robbery. Piracy is evil. Piracy is selfish. Or is it a fad?
It’s part of an advertising campaign by a Brooklyn-based band called Ghost Beach that is asking all of us to choose a side: are you for piracy, or are you against it?
The billboard directs the public to its Artists vs. Artists website, where you can choose to either buy Ghost Beach’s new album on iTunes, or simply download the entire album for free.
The website also asks you to tweet where your true allegiance lies with the hashtags #artistsagainstpiracy and #artistsforpiracy. Tweets that have gone out in support of piracy outnumber the latter by a factor of 20 to 1.
The purpose behind this experiment, reminiscent of when Radiohead gave their fans the option of downloading their album In Rainbows for any sum of money they wanted on their website, is to alert the music industry on what the public ultimately wants.
“By giving music listeners the choice to buy, stream or download free from the artist,” band frontman Josh Ocean tells TorrentFreak, “everybody wins and music is shared in a way that is convenient for listeners and respects the artists intellectual property.”
The band doesn’t support piracy by any means, but hopes that the music industry will realize that piracy will remain a more convincing option until fans are given more “modern choices” when it comes to the consumption of music. For now, it seems as though a majority of their fans think that “modern choices” equates to free.
Still, a conundrum remains. The big record labels won’t budge a bit on their current pricing models as long as piracy continues. No amount of online piracy will convince the record labels to bring prices down. What consumers need to do, if they feel as if they’re being robbed by the record labels, is to embrace the new forms of music consumption that are out there.
Music streaming services like Spotify, Pandora, and to a lesser extent Rdio are doing well because of the freemium model they’ve employed. On these services, you can legally listen to as much music as you’d like as long as you don’t mind ads, and if you want ads gone, all you have to do is pay a small monthly premium.
Of course, now it’s time for you to take a side. Click here to be taken to the band’s Artists vs. Artists website and make your allegiance known.