In 2009 the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) estimated 95% of all digitally downloaded music was obtained illegally. This leaves only 5% of potential revenue to be distributed between all those who play a part in today’s music culture, including the most affected group, songwriters and music publishers.
While some opponents dispute that number, few serious observers would dispute that piracy has cost the industry billions of dollars. The outcome of this piracy is more harmful than most people truly understand. There are currently over 70,000 U. S. jobs affected and 2.7 billion dollars in earnings lost in music and related manufacturing and retail industries, according to a recent independent report. More precisely, it has been estimated that the total impact of illegal downloading and piracy equates to 12 billion dollars of direct and indirect revenue lost annually in the U.S. economy. Something must be done to protect the art, industry, and creators of music from this threat.
Because of this dilemma, my client, Save the Music America, was formed and plays a increasingly influential role in spreading the word of the harm that is caused when people download music illegally. STMA is a new non-profit organization whose mission is to educate the public and create awareness of intellectual property protection and copyright laws. The goal of STMA is to produce future generations with a conscience, preserving the arts and the constitutional rights of people within the creative industries, as well as the history of American music. On their website, STMA states its purpose as:
“…[to] raise money through celebrity endorsed events and media platforms and to educate the public to the impact of illegal downloading, creating public support for the cause. STMA will use PSA’s (public service announcements), print and online media, social networks, and educational media to raise awareness and demonstrate the repercussions of illegal file sharing. STMA also plans to create short documentary dramas to illustrate the very real tragedies which have struck those once who were supported by the music industry. These stories will help give faces and personal testimonies to the loss of income and career for the ‘everyday’ people who make up much of the infrastructure, such as audio technicians and marketing personnel.”
Starting next week, a series of PSAs entitled “Please Share and Download Music Responsibly” will begin airing on GAC and CMT. More than forty artists, producers, managers, songwriters, and other music industry professionals gave their time to help with these PSAs and include names like Jerod Neimann, Billy Dean, Wayne Mills Band, Julie Ingram, and Joe Bonsall just to name a few. Here is one example of the PSA’s that will be airing:
Mark Dryer, co-founder and head of productions for STMA, stated: “I am thrilled at the momentum we have gained this year, after talking with over 200 people about piracy everyone agrees it is a huge problem and willing to help in some way .I believe the right company will align with us to help fund our efforts very soon. We are looking forward to the bright future to make a difference”.
Check out their website at savethemusicamerica.org and be sure to have your channel set to either CMT or GAC next week to catch the first series of PSAs released by Save the Music America!!!