Where DO the pirates get their music from?

Here’s a scenario for you. You’ve just spent days, weeks, possibly even months creating a new release. It’s been sent to a record label, and now it’s finally available for people to buy.

Great. Except you’ve discovered that it’s also up on the pirates websites, meaning that people can just go there and download your latest without paying a penny for it.

It’s happened to me quite a few times. So how are they getting hold of all this music? The average pirate site usually has almost all the releases you’d see on the likes of Traxsource or Beatport. Are they buying them legally themselves and then uploading them to file sharing sites?

The answer is almost certainly not. Some of the pirates in the early days might have done so, but that sort of mentality has long gone. Back in the days of blog house, such content was usually mixed in with other things – the pirates now offer no such pretences.

So let’s have a look at the process of getting a song released on the digital stores. The process can vary slightly from store to store, but they typically follow something very similar. It’s also worth pointing out from the outset that most retailers will not deal with artists directly in this process – it must be done through a distributor.

The label submits the song to the distributor, providing all the necessary metadata and cover art in the process. The distributor then sends them on to the stores, who duly put them on preorder if instructed to do so, then release them.

Somewhere in this process, the files end up in the hands of the pirates. Unless most of the record labels out there are part of some conspiracy where they’re deliberately leaking their records, that rules out the labels. And why would the likes of Traxsource hand over the product to pirates and reduce their own sales?

This leaves the distributors. There is no suggestion whatsoever on my part here that the distributors are engaged in widespread collusion with Internet pirates. If this was true, it would have been exposed long ago – not even our useless, supine dance music press could sit on that information.

In the absence of anything else, that leaves me thinking that the pirates must be taking advantage of a weak point in security somewhere in the chain. This is where the trail in my own enquiries on the subject goes cold.

Answers on this subject aren’t easy to come across either. Goodness knows I’m trying, but it feels like there’s someone out there who doesn’t want the truth to come out!


So, do you know what’s going on? Leave a comment below, or if you’d prefer to speak privately, simply send me an email through my Contact page. Anonymity is guaranteed.

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