Angry Birds boss: Piracy helps us 'get more business'
Slams music biz's 'terrible' attempts to crush pirates
Music industry chiefs must have been pleased to hear that the maker of pig-squishing iPhone game Angry Birds has learned from its mistakes in combating piracy.
Contrasting the music industry's ignore-then-crush approach to piracy to his own softly-softly approach with Angry Birds, Rovio chief Mikael Hed told assembled music insiders at the Midem Music Conference in Cannes that things could have worked out better if they had only chilled out.
"We could learn a lot from the music industry, and the rather terrible ways the music industry has tried to combat piracy," Hed said in a speech reported by the Guardian.
Piracy may not be a bad thing: it can get us more business at the end of the day...
... We took something from the music industry, which was to stop treating the customers as users, and start treating them as fans. We do that today: we talk about how many fans we have.
If we lose that fanbase, our business is done, but if we can grow that fanbase, our business will grow.
Though the speech has been reported as a "hey piracy's okay" statement, it's worth noting that the piracy that the Rovio bosses tolerated was around merchandise in Asia – small-scale stuff that Hed said it would be "futile" for the company to pursue through the courts.
"We have some issues with piracy, not only in apps, but also especially in the consumer products. There is tons and tons of merchandise out there, especially in Asia, which is not officially licensed product," he explained.
Though a few thousand fake plush toys could help win new fans to the franchise, in cases where Rovio felt like the pirates were harming the Angry Birds brand, or were ripping off its fans, he said it would be prepared to act. In other words: where the piracy actually affects Rovio's core business model.
Hed's comments on piracy were an aside at his Midem speech, which was primarily to announce his interest in doing content deals with music labels and getting music tracks into Angry Bird games:
Already our apps are becoming channels, and we can use that channel to cross-promote – to sell further content. The content itself has transformed into the channel, and the traditional distribution channels are no longer the kingmakers.
Finally somebody who subscribes to the argument that piracy can lead to actual sales and not every pirate item had is a lost sale.
Music/film companies must hate him right now.
Quite a refreshing attitude.......
Not the same cup of tea
Angry birds is/was a fun and original concept that was interesting to play. It was free on Android and payable on iStore, even the wife bought and she is definately not a hard core gamer.
The major difference being that
A : It was original.
B : It was amusing.
C: It was free or very cheap.
D: it was available on almost all platforms.
E : I didnt feel cheated.
In my humble opinion the music industry is suffering because it has almost nothing substantial left to offer. They are churning out "pop stars", they are not producing musicians. Pop Stars with no apparent musical talent, their talent lies in their capacity to simply "produce" what the Music Company dictates.
Music companies dictate who they want to be succesfull but that dictatorship has no long lasting effect and thereby is a poor source of income. Rovio didn't/doesnt need to dictate, it is simply a good product at a good price.
The golden era is coming to an end for the major film and music companies. It is now time for the small and independants to surface and allow us access to where the real music/talent lies.
The unfortunate side is that if some music wasn't pirated we would never even know that it existed because the majors do not publically make it available. "They" have deemed it to be less interesting, read *profitable".
It's not piracy per se
It's not piracy per se that makes AB so popular, but there some are similar effects between piracy and the AB model -
1) It's cheap
Piracy is generally free, but even buying the AB app is pocket change.
2) It's so darn easy to get a hold of
Piracy is sometimes that much easier (and quicker) to get hold of something than buying it thru proper channels. AB (altho this holds true for all mobile apps) is just as easy (if not easier) to get from the "proper" channel than to pirate it - fire up your phones app store, a few clicks, enter your pass, fire the thing up.
If music/video was cheap enough that ppl thought "meh, what's £x? May as well get it" they'd get less profit per item, but would likely increase total sales substantially (compare 'berry app prices and sales with Apple app for example - who the hell pays £5 for a phone app?!)
Try before you buy would likely help too - taster apps with a few levels to get you into the game go a long way to giving ppl a reason to buy your app.