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Music Technology

Illegal downloading and Adele

Simon at No Rock’n’Roll Fun has written a typically excellent piece about the BPI’s latest sales figures.

Despite all this “chronic” piracy going on, Adele’s album has sold more copies in a year than any album has ever sold. More than a Michael Jackson album managed in a year, even the good one. More than a Beatles album ever managed to whisk out the shops in twelve months. More, even, than the third Charlatans album sold in a year.

So, how come Adele’s album was not only immune to the chronic piracy, but thrived in a world so stricken? Had there been secret umlauts sewn into the hemlines of the choruses, rendering it impossible to torrent?

Were any of the many pirate-busting measures deployed? Did the pre-release circulate solely on a tape glued into a Walkman? Was every copy watermarked? Did a fleet of fake files get launched onto the internet to foil downloaders? Did Derren Brown hypnotise the world so that if they typed ‘Adele 21 free’ into Google they’d die?

Nope. The success of Adele’s album seems to be nothing to do with avoiding piracy, and more to do with sticking out an album that people liked and wanted to buy.

Worth remembering the next time you see the entertainment industry demanding new laws and filtering to fight the menace of piracy.ikoni