Big Machine Says Anti-Piracy Is Just As Important As Marketing

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One is all about control, stamping things out, and shutting things down.

The other thrives on organic growth, emotional connections, and word-of-mouth.  Yet Big Machine Records puts anti-piracy on the same level as marketing in its releases, as evidenced by a recent campaign for Taylor Swift’s Speak Now.

The anti-piracy policing starts pre-release. “Stopping pre-release leaks is as crucial as anything else we do to help make a new album a success, which is why we were so pleased with the way the leaks of Speak Now were contained,” Big Machine international director of marketing Brad Turcotte said, part of a recently-distributed IFPI report.  Turcotte is referring to Swift’s highly-successful, 2010 release, whose anti-piracy response looked like this:

(graph supplied by the IFPI, viewable at https://www.digitalmusicnews.com/stories/080211bigmachine )

As the chart shows, Big Machine not only spent considerable effort stamping out pre-release leaks, they also maintained night-and-day diligence on every pirated copy after the release date.   Most were taken down immediately, a response that requires huge resource allocations.

Those resources included the IFPI, which was a serious anti-piracy partner.  “IFPI’s team identified and removed the majority of the 6,500 illegal [pre-release] copies within hours of the links being found, ensuring the internet was not swamped with illegal copies of the hotly anticipated title,” the trade group described. “The album went on to become the first million-selling title in the US in the first week of release since Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter III in 2008.”

That proves the point – at least for the IFPI and Big Machine.