Technology

Anti-piracy app launched by music industry

Filesharing in action
Image caption Downloading has declined thanks to good legal alternatives

The latest tool in the war on music piracy is a free app which allows users to take on the role of managing an emerging band.

The app is designed to give young people an insight into the modern music industry and to educate them on the effect of piracy on artists.

Music Inc is a collaboration between UK Music, the Intellectual Property Office and Aardman Animations.

Much of the recent effort to stop music piracy has focused on site blocking.

A letter-writing campaign which the government had intended to launch against hardcore pirates is still caught up in legal wrangling.

The campaign was to focus on educating pirates about legal alternatives.

Education remains an important part of the battle, think those behind the app.

"Our goal is to give young music lovers a taste of what it's like to work in the music industry and convey a message about the value of creativity in a fun and interactive way," said Jo Dipple, chief executive of UK Music.

Minister for Intellectual Property Lord Younger said he hoped the app would encourage young people "to think about copyright and its importance to the creative industries".

Old battle

The game allows players to:

  • select an aspiring artist from a list of hopefuls
  • shape the image of your artist
  • compose tracks from a roster of song-writers, producers and studio technicians
  • balance the books by keeping an eye on how radio play, streaming and piracy impact on profits

Music analyst Mark Mulligan is not convinced it will be a hit.

"It is obviously part of their role to educate but I'm not sure it is a battle that needs fighting any more," he said.

"The awareness that piracy is hurting artists has grown in the last three years," he added.

Legal alternatives have also meant that there is less reason for people to pirate music, he said.

One thing that playing the game may reveal is how small a share of the music-pie artists receive.

"The amount of money that an artist receives for recorded music is roughly 16%," said Mr Mulligan.

The free app is available from 5 February for iOS and Android devices.

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