Q&A with The Music Mission | Label Worx
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Q&A with The Music Mission
Posted By : Laura Holness
|
Posted Date : April 29th, 2020
We've been working with our friends at AudioLock on an industry-wide campaign to help tackle music piracy. You may have seen some of our posts about it, but with over 250 supporters now signed up including Beatport, Traxsource, Juno, Defected, Toolroom, Axtone and Mobilee, we thought it was a good moment to speak to the team behind The Music Mission and hopefully answer a few questions that we've been asked about the initiative.

You can register your support for The Music Mission via their website

Let's start with the basics - what exactly is the aim of The Music Mission?

Della:
It was a common misconception within the industry that the advent of streaming would result in the decline of piracy. To the contrary, pirates used this opportunity to adapt their approach by creating professional-looking retail download stores which they diverted users to, and which became a direct competition with the legitimate download stores. This is the type of site we are targeting - our aim is to shut them down so that money being spent by consumers can be paid to the rightsholder.

How exactly do these sites work? How do they fill their 'stores' with so much music?

Ben:
They scrape metadata from legitimate stores and in most part are utilising the long-established pirated distribution routes to receive leaked 'Scene Releases'. Much of the following process is automated which posts the releases onto these sites.

The pirates obviously put a lot of work into the sites - how much revenue do you think they take from legitimate stores?

Ben:
Subscriptions range from $9 to around $45 - most sites offer no free access and we know the estimated traffic to these sites is reported as 11 million visits per month. We don't know how many of those 11 million visits equate to actual users, but if we take what we believe to be a conservative estimate of 35,000 users, and $20 as the average spend per user, that equates to $700,000 a month alone.

Wow, so this sounds like a big job - how can labels get involved?

Della:
This is a big job you're right, but we have put in the leg work over the past 6 months to get this campaign live, utilising data from work we did around 2017. It's not just labels that can get involved, anyone can support this campaign by sharing posts and spreading the word to the wider music industry. We ask rightsholders to register by visiting https:///themusicmission.net/register-your-support and simply adding your label and contact details. If you want to be shown on the supports page you can also link your logo and socials info!

That sounds pretty simple - what's the catch?!

Della:
There is no catch, it costs nothing to get behind this, but those who register we may ask for 15 minutes of your time during phase 2 of the campaign. (I can't give too much away for obvious reasons). We are doing this as it affects all of our clients, and this group effort is the only way to properly shut this down.

It looks like you've already got a fair bit of support - have you been happy with the response so far? What kind of labels are supporting the Mission?

Della:
We have been blown away by the positive drive and passion the industry has shown since we launched the campaign just under a month ago with continued offers of support. Quotes received from registrations clearly show how this cripples many labels who rely so heavily on their income from selling music - many relaying stories out of desperation from where they have tried to tackle this exact problem unsuccessfully themselves.

We are fully backed by Beatport, Traxsource and Juno Download, we have had over 250 rightsholders registered to date, and of course have the support of bigger industry names like Defected, Axtone, Toolroom and Ditto, not to mention Label Worx who have been avid supporters from the start. We are in active discussions with the wider industry and have also had a huge response from much smaller labels, who as I said before, are literally crippled by these pirate sites. But we need to double the 250 to complete this project and hit the objective.


Have you managed to get any sites taken down since you launched the initiative?

Della:
We are not at that stage of the campaign yet, however, we have previously successfully taken down 9 sites, all dance music free download or FTP subscription sites. There are a further 11 sites which are also still all offline, and whilst we worked on them, we can not be certain it was only our work which resulted in their closure.

What does success look like for The Music Mission? Is this something you can wrap up in a matter of months or is it more of a long-term project?

Ben:
Success - Primarily to be able to shut down these stores and keep them down. Redirecting as much of that money being paid currently to the pirate stores over to the rightsholders. The sooner we have the level of registrations required to action the next phase, the closer we will be to success. We also see success being through education within the industry, to help consumers to identify these sites going forward and choose not to purchase from them over legitimate stores. We want a quick short-term result for the rights holders now given the current COVID-19 crisis, and long term discussion needs to be started within the industry so that what consumers want can be looked at and if it is not currently being met, then how can this be met?

The Music Mission is taking on a lot of the work - is there anything that labels can be doing day-to-day to help minimise the risk of their releases hitting these stores in the first place?

Ben:
We find ourselves advising time and time again:
1) Make sure you know who each and every person is on your promo list - as a rule, less is more.

2) The sooner the full metadata of the release is shown online, the easier you make it for these pirates who scrape this information to add to their sites. (This includes on your own sites)

3) When you do put out previews, make sure you amend the name so it is not identical to the track i.e starting with 'early listen' this helps avoid other types of piracy from scrapping.

4) Keep previews on tracks online eg Youtube and Soundcloud short, as music can be stolen from these for more general piracy protection.

And finally, is there anything else our labels should know in order to help The Music Mission make this vision of a piracy-free world into a reality?

Della:
We can not stress enough how we need the industry to collaborate on this, it is so powerful and so much can be achieved from this initiative alone, not to mention the future campaigns it will lead to. If everyone who has already registered could encourage just one of their contacts to register, we could be at the point where we would be updating you all on the sites we have actually shut.

Please get behind this, follow our page for updates, share posts and just shout about it!
themusicmission.net/about-the-music-mission

 

Next Article : Announcing dance music's first Virtual Music Conference - and you're invited

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