A license to listen
Paper Edition | Page: 10
Call it destiny. Audiophiles have triumphed over musicians. Every second, almost 100 local songs are downloaded illegally via the Internet.
However, several online music stores are beginning to offer a more legal approach to downloading.
One of the online music stores, melon.co.id, has applied the Digital Right Management (DRM) system to its sales. DRM is a file type that gives protection against unauthorized duplication. The distribution portal also sells songs in mp3 format but offers the DRM format at a lower cost.
“Purchasing music tracks through melon.co.id is legal. We have the official permit to distribute music collections from our label partner,” Hari Usmayadi, the head of marketing Melody Online (Melon) Indonesia Co. Ltd., said.
He added that registered users can enjoy hundreds of thousands of music tracks through the website. Currently, there are 57 labels, both local and international, working in cooperation with the company to distribute songs.
“The tracks can be downloaded to personal computers or laptops before being transferred to mobile phones. To purchase the songs, users are able to use several methods of payment.”
Commenting on how well people have responded to the website, Hari said that melon.co.id has scored an annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1,817 percent in terms of total registered users during 2011.
The website was launched at the end of 2010 by Multimedia Nusantara (Metra) Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of Telkom Indonesia. The website’s system was adapted from melon.com, a creation by Korean-based telecommunication operator, SK-Telecom. Both companies collaborated on the Indonesian website with an agreement that
51 percent of the shareholding was to be held by Telkom.
“Ninety-eight percent of the registered users use the DRM method.” Hari said.
In contrast to what is being experienced by melon.co.id, there are fewer music enthusiasts who buy music tracks using digital protection through importmusik.com.
“Most of the musicians in importmusik.com chose not to use digital protection, although we can facilitate [the method]. It is because the desire to be listened to by wider audiences is far greater than getting income,” musician Abdee Negara said.
Independent Music Portal (IM:Port) was co-founded by Slank guitarist Abdee Negara, songwriter Anang Hermansyah and jazz virtuoso Indra Lesmana. They received assistance in the creation and management of the website by several IT specialists before it was launched at the end of 2005.
Abdee said that he often hung out with Anang and met many talented musicians who were unable to release songs through major labels.
“Drawing from our own experiences; we wanted to create an open vessel, especially for independent musicians, to release their creations. The digital distribution method is easier and cheaper than publishing music on CD or cassette,” he said.
Now IM:Port facilitates 7,000 songs from 2,000 performers, with many of the artists on offer signed to indie labels.
Abdee said that the Internet became a positive booster for independent performers because it enabled accessibility to a larger audience. However, he said, the virtual network also has a negative impact; which is the ease of which music can be pirated.
According to Abdee, many musicians signed to major labels do not receive royalties from the sales of CDs or cassettes because of piracy, especially as there are dozens of websites whose sole purpose is to enable the sharing of pirated files.
Heru Nugroho of Heal Our Music, the campaign group against music piracy, estimated that around 7.92 million Indonesian music tracks are being downloaded illegally every day, the equivalent of 92 tracks every second.
Heal Our Music tracks websites in and outside of the country that allow users to download pirated music and records how many times Indonesians songs have been uploaded and downloaded.
“We value each music track at Rp 5,000 [52 US cents] and with this fee in mind we have calculated that illegal downloading is costing the music industry up to Rp 39.6 billion every day,” Heru said.
Heal Our Music was founded at the end of 2010 and is currently working with Generasi Indonesia Digital, Co. Ltd., to develop musiklegal.com, an online music distribution platform.
Selected comments will be published in the Readers’ Forum page of our print newspaper.