5 REASONS WHY BUYING IS BETTER THAN PIRATING
As we all know Singapore has passed the bill to enforce copyrights by denying access to websites that promotes piracy. While this is well-intended, we all know that it is futile and ineffective. Workarounds like VPNs or virtual private networks or other new forms of technology will emerge to enable consumers to get free music, movies and ebooks illegally. Here are 5 good reasons why paying is more rewarding than getting for free.
1. Artistes get fairly paid to continue creating more works for us to enjoy.
Let’s be honest. We all need to eat, we all have bills to pay, we all have financial commitments. Artistes are no different. The arts are important because they present important topics like politics, religion,social issues and other things that affect us in a song, a movie, a book or any other media in a way that we can understand. It takes talent, time and hard work to create such works, and it also requires money, not just for the artistes, but also for things like equipment and training. The effort and time to compose, play and record a song that sells for 99 cents is much much greater than what it takes to make a plate of chicken rice that sells for $3.50. If you can afford and are willing to pay $5 for a meal, you definitely can afford to pay for a download that cost less than that.
2. We give hope to our children to pursue the arts as a viable career.
We send our kids for piano classes, ballet lessons, and other arts enrichment classes. While we know the benefits of music have in improving their intellectual development and academic performance, it’s hard to motivate them to enjoy the lessons as there is no real future in being good in music or dance. The joy and satisfaction of seeing our kids at their first recital, taking the stage confidently and performing is magical, yet we are reluctant to support them to pursue their talent beyond a certain point, as we are pragmatic beings. Study hard, get a good and useful degree so that you can get a real job with good pay. If we start paying for music, ebooks and movies instead of pirating them, wouldn’t being a musician, film-maker or an author be a good-paying job too?
3. We will feel less guilty about “stealing”.
Many of us are rational human beings. If things can be gotten for free, why should we pay for it? Yes, we do feel guilty, at least for a moment, when we download stuff illegally. We won’t admit it openly because we feel guilty of cheating the artiste of a sale and deserving payment for his works. Sure, you can argue it is not stealing, but the fact remains that the artiste did not get paid for providing you with something you consumed. Try ordering and drinking a coffee at a cafe, and walk off without paying. It’s the same thing. Well, maybe some of us won’t feel guilty. In fact, we may even feel smug and proud of ourselves because we did something bad and got away with it. We may even pat ourselves on our back for being clever and outsmarting the system. This is true, but what if doing so is NOT the smartest thing to do? What if getting it for free is NOT the smartest thing?
4. We can make good money out of buying and sharing.
We have seen the evolution of music and movies - from cassette tapes to DVDs, to CDs and now everything is digital. Streaming services like Netflix and Spotify is the current model, but piracy wins, hands down. The next evolution is mind-blowingly brilliant, and it has just started. Now, when you buy music, you can earn multiple rewards when you share the link given to you with your purchase. To make it hugely rewarding, a startup called Tell My Friends has systematised the reward system to track and reward virality. Every share and subsequent buys and shares earns the consumer up to 10 tiers of rewards. These rewards are in the form of credits which can be used to buy another song, movie or ebook - or it can be cashed out. Using a network marketing model, anyone who buys music and spreads it from one to another can earn as much as 10 times the price that they spent on buying it. So the game changes - getting free is good, but getting paid is better! Instead of holding fans hostage by denying them access until they pay up, Tell My Friends share revenue with fans who buy and help spread the word around. We are already doing this when we read articles or watch videos online, so why not reward those who buy and share as well? Here’s an example of how much a $2 song can generate for customers who buy and share it with 5 friends who also buy. That’s definitely a bigger payout than piracy!
5. We can invest in intellectual property and retire rich!
For those who want more out of the system, they can invest in the rights of music, ebooks and movies, and earn royalties for each sale. Royalties are like rent or a private tax owners impose on people who buy or use their intellectual property. If a song that you bought the rights for goes viral with a million downloads, you can be a millionaire in a matter of weeks! This makes it worthwhile to fund the arts. Some artistes don’t really care about the financial aspects. They just want support to create their works, so you can negotiate with them for the rights of their works in return for funding it. For example, you may want to invest $10,000 on an artiste or band who wants to record an album of a few songs. If you find that the music is good, buy the rights of the recordings for $10,000, or maybe even split the royalty shares with the band if you want. By putting the music on Tell My Friends, there would be an added incentive for customers to buy the product - commissions!
We Are Changing!
After much delays and trials, we are finishing our long drawn development. Finally, Tell My Friends is almost ready for business!
It has been a long journey. So while we are waiting for the final push (like giving birth to a baby), here's a look at the Tell My Friends Story in pictures.
Phoebee Ong recording the first song for Tell My Friends in 2012. We needed some songs to try selling on our system, to test the idea of rewarding people who buy songs and share them with our links.
We put together a young talent with a veteran producer/songwriter, ???.
It was indeed an experience and learning about the recording process and how the industry works. Still completely self-funded, founder Ben Looi spent quite a fortune building a small library of new recordings and the platform.
Gilbert Baldoza and Amanda Colliver collaborated to record "Sometimes When We Touch" and "Everything I Own".
We got a blanket license from Music Publishers Singapore to trial a few songs with this new model. We are thankful for the blessings and leeway from the representatives of the major labels for allowing us to cover some of the more well-known and market-tested songs. Of course, along the way, we did get some "demands" from COMPASS, but hey, we've already paid our dues.
Recording She's Gone by Gilbert Baldoza. It is THE song for those who remember Roomful of Blues at Prinsep Street. Saturday nights are not complete until the band does She's Gone. With the closing of Roomful, we felt we should preserve this with a recording to remember one of the best watering holes and live music pubs in Singapore.