TuneSecure – “Let’s Drive Music Piracy Underground, Make It Hard To Download.”

image from It's still good to know that some tech-companies still have their thinking caps on.

The solution to music piracy is to make it hard for the average person to download.

This revolutionary idea comes by way of the Australian tech startup TuneSecure.

We've heard this one before.

They figure that file-sharing is all about convenience and if the practice was driven underground, the average person wouldn't bother with it. Too much work.

Rather than doing something like – I don't know – letting Google sell digital music in their search, the record industry just needs to keep flooding the network with fake files and making it so painful to download music that people give up. Gosh, parents and kids alike will surrender to the wishes of the major labels and start buying music from iTunes if it's easier than downloading it illegally. These people won't like – I don't know – learn how to rip MP3s from YouTube videos or capture songs from Pandora streams. They'll just mindlessly go back to buying music.


Labels don't need to update their product strategy and create products that are actually relevant to the young and the digital. No, if we make it hard to download songs, these people will learn to love and pay for digital music. Hell, they might even start a CD collection. Music doesn't need to enter the cloud; it doesn't need to be an experience; nor must it be repositioned in the minds of fans. None of it.

Paid music services are a joke. Spotify is wishful thinking. And on and on.

Luckily, one music industry veteran spotted the holes in this logic and added a touch of history. "I'm old enough to remember what it was like with pirate radio in the sixties when all these stations were broadcasting from boats," Stuart Coupe told "They'd get one boat and close it down — (the pirates) would go to find another boat. It's not complicated." People will find another way to do it.

What TuneSecure forgets is that, “Human beings are complex creatures who are going to do whatever it takes to make themselves as well off as possible,” writer Charles Wheelan explains in his book Naked Economics.  “Sometimes it is easy to predict how that will unfold; sometimes it is enormously complex.” This is what economists call the law of unintended consequences. Steven Levitt, author of the book Freakonomics, explains, “Even when you have someone clever designing the rules, the incentives, with thousands or millions of people with something at stake – scheming on the other side – they almost always figure a way around whatever system you set up.”  Levitt continues, “The most powerful idea of [this law] is that anyone who thinks they can set up a set of rules, thinks they are smarter than the market, in some sense, usually loses.” Music piracy can't be driven underground. At first, the average person might be detered. They may give up. But someone else will come along and figure out an even easier way to do it.

It's not complicated.

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