Offering more free content is a start to combat the huge piracy challenge in Asia

Music Matters session at All That Matters sheds more light on how companies are cracking down on piracy
Piracy is a huge challenge in Asia

Copyright owners will be rejoicing once the proposed amendments to the Singapore Copyright Act are enforced, blocking sites such as ThePirateBay by the end of this year.

But there is only so much suppression the government and media monitors can do to snuff out piracy, especially when it comes to music, because when there’s a product that doesn’t correspond with the needs of today, people turn to the illegal.

That is according to Deezer head of markets, Mathieu Molinero, who was speaking at a Music Matters session at All That Matters in Singapore.

Haldanes partner, John McLellan, who was also one of the panel speakers, said that the bottom line is that people won’t pay for services as long as there are free illegal alternatives. He suggested that for people to use content legally, legitimate content providers should start off with offering free services that eventually convert to a paid subscription.

Stamp out piracy

Piracy is a huge challenge in Asia

“There has to be a free model that’s pervasive enough that leads to a service that people will pay for. If you consider the amount of money people pay for their mobile phones, that little bit of money to pay for a music service should not be that big a problem,” McLellan said.

Google head of music partnerships, Ruuben van den Heuvel, claimed education is a very important element when it comes to piracy and joked that people think the idea of copyright is the right to copy (that’s some good word play there).

Microsoft Asia-Pacific entertainment director, Jamie Robertson, added that the best way to prevent piracy in Asia is for content providers to work with telcos, because they have a far greater consumer reach that content providers.

“There will be a lot of experimentation around these sort of stuff in the coming months, and a model that works will emerge.”

What does all this talk mean for us? We can definitely expect a decrease in illegal downloading sites and an increase in telco/content provider partnerships. Though you should be seeing more free content, it's a bait that leads to paid subscription. On the bright side, you're not forced to subscribe, it's optional and you choose to pay for good content.

But let’s hope such subscription costs, which are borne from free trials, won’t burn a hole in our pockets.

READ MORE: People are glued to their mobile phones instead of their TVs