Pharrell Williams: Illegal Downloading is “Just Taste-Testing”

Pharrell Williams: Illegal Downloading is “Just Taste-Testing”

Tells audience at MIDEM, the world’s largest music industry trade fair, that technology has increased consumer options and choices and that record labels are to blame for its struggles with digital music for trying to ignore it.

Pharrell Williams, Billboards’ just declared producer of the decade, and Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, told an audience (Jan 23rd Video) at MIDEM (short for Marché International du Disque et de l’Edition Musicale), the world’s largest music industry trade fair, that artists and record labels need to embrace technology if they want to succeed.

“Technology is just getting better not by the year, but by the moment,” he noted. “It can be effective if you know how to harness it, but if you don’t know what you’re doing you’re gonna get left behind. I think that that is the new struggle is for us to keep up with the new technology that exists.”

He observed that record labels have erroneously tried to control technology and and digital music only to find that it cannot be controlled.

“A lot of them really ignored it and thought ‘you know, we have a huge monopoly and we can just do whatever we want to do,'” he said.

“I think Steve Jobs has sort of made it very clear that it’s all about technology, and if you are the one that’s riding that horse then you’ll get to your destination,” he added. “If you’re walking you’ll be behind, which makes you a follower.”

As for P2P specifically, he questions the whole notion of it harming artists being that the only reason they’re downloading your music in the first place is because they’re fans – they appreciate your work – and that they’re really own “taste-testing” your work much as they do with anything else they consume.

“Is it really hurting you if a person really loves you and they really love what you do, you know?”

He described illegal downloading as “just taste-testing,” comparing it to the hors d’oeuvres handed outside restaurants to entice people inside, and that it doesn’t stop you from buying, but instead gives you a “taste of what could be so great by buying.”

“People have so many options and choices, we should allow them to taste-test, to decide if that’s something they wanna be involved with – from technology to products to food,” he said.

So what advice does he have for artists starting out today?

In a related article on the BBC he says that he recommends they “market” themselves and chase advertisers rather than record labels.

“I would probably build a site, a home for my music, a destination where people could come and see me and what I do and what I’m thinking about,” he says. “And then I’d probably assemble a team of kids that would go and bug the hell out of advertising agencies and marketing companies to use my music.”

Sounds like a good way to take control of ones music and embrace technology to me.

Stay tuned.

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Stay tuned.

[email protected]