On Make Music Day, PRA Remembers the Music Unheard

June 21st marked international “Make Music Day”, an annual celebration of the live performance of music. This day is also a great time to remember the important role of intellectual property rights in protecting the creations of artists and song writers.

With the rise of streaming apps that allow music to be played without buying a song or an album, there has also been a rise in the illegal streaming and file sharing of music. According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), over a third of global music listeners continue to pirate music. The most popular form is stream-ripping, which allows users to record the audio from music videos through easily available software.

To make matters worse, music-based piracy continues to grow. According to piracy data tracker MUSO, music piracy grew 14.7% from 2016 to 2017; comprised of 73.9 billion visits to music piracy sites worldwide. This growth in music piracy comes at the detriment of music creators around the world.

Illegal music streaming and downloads infringe on the copyright of the music creators. When these creators come up with a new song or beat, they are the owners of this intellectual property, and entitled to the profits created from its use. When it is illegally streamed or downloaded, there is no sale going to the artists.

Over time this could deter the creation of new music, particularly among the many supporting roles in the music industry. The band on an album is not just the one that is losing revenue, but so is the songwriter, the audio editors, and the production assistants for the music videos. Ineffective IP laws and enforcement can force these groups out of the industry through lack of revenues that ultimately result in no desire to create new ideas.

In celebration of Make Music Day, policymakers around the world should recommit to the important and imperative protection of IP rights, such as copyright, to ensure that music creators can prosper and contribute to society for years to come.

Photo Credit: Gord Bell