Sometimes roundabout logic does makes sense. A BBC feature article published today is arguing that illegal file sharing has exposed a generation of artists to a infinity of influences that makes today’s bands better, strengthening the music business.
Robin Pecknold, who is the lead singer of the band “Fleet Foxes,” told the BBC that file sharing helped him discover music that inspired him–music which he may not have otherwise heard. “As much music as musicians can hear, that will only make music richer as an art form,” Pecknold told the BBC.
I can’t argue with him (well, aside from the stealing part). The Internet has revolutionized music discovery. It is shocking that the music industry never envisioned that broader exposure to music through the Web could yield some positive developments. Where were the music lovers in the business when the industry stood opposed to the Web?
Don’t get me wrong, something had to be done about Napster. There was a substantial loss of intellectual property happening, and piracy is not excusable. However, there was another way: The industry could have embraced the medium instead of going to war with grannies.
That tactic has been successful before. DVDs are a good example of copyright holders working in partnership with technology companies. It’s an obvious conclusion, but the music industry has made some major missteps with how it has handled the Web. Maybe the pirate artists will help save it.