Just like digital retailers such as Beatport and iTunes were accused of killing physical sales in the noughties, streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music are now being blamed for the downslide in downloads. However, the BBC has found a more inconspicuous and malicious culprit damaging dance music.
At first glance, "pirate download stores," as they're called, look just like another digital retailer; they even have official things like privacy policies, terms and conditions, and security certificates. For a regular (i.e. monthly) subscription fee, these sites allow users to download as many tracks as they want. Sounds legit, but too good to be true, right?
It is: these subscription fees go straight back to the pirates—and labels, artists, and other creatives involved in the making of the release never see a dime. Mark Lawrence of the Association of Electronic Music told the BBC that these sites generate an income "roughly 10 times greater than the sum of Beatport, Traxsource, Apple, TrackItDown and Juno."
It also puts a hamper on creativity. According to Toolroom Records director Stuart Knight, labels are less likely to invest in new artists unless they're certain their records will be financially successful. So if you're mad about new tracks sounding the same because they're piggybacking on the current trend, and you're also going through backdoor channels to get your latest music fix, you might be part of the problem.
Read the rest of the BBC's article on pirate download stores here.