Piracy is the new radio?

Piracy is the new radio. That’s how music gets around.
(Neil Young at the D: Dive Into Media conference, via allthingsd.com)

As much as I appreciate Neil Young as an artist, I very much don’t agree with this sentiment. For one, if a song is played on the radio, the artist gets royalties. Second, the radio, as opposed to pirated music, is not a substitute for a CD or a legal download (turns out home taping is, after all, not killing music).

Pirated music, on the other hand, is quite a good substitute, as the popularity of piracy demonstrates.

His point is that pirated music may help to promote music. But if music “got around” by piracy, very few people would still buy CDs or legal downloads.

It may not be a perfect substitute, but it’s good enough for most people.

Furthermore, for an established artist such as Neil Young the small number of people that would still buy CDs and go to concerts may be enough to pay his rent, but it would not allow newcomers to survive.