This weekend Vienna will host the sixtieth edition of the continent’s favorite musical talent show – The Eurovision song contest.  Much derided and parodied in the UK, the contest is known for its blatant politically-biased voting and some truly dreadful songs, but it is probably one of the only events that the Brits are happy to be considered as European in.  Even Australia are getting in on the act this year, invited as guests to celebrate the milestone of the contest.

For some acts the contest could well be a spring-board to a successful career with world-wide fame from their successful appearance.  The technological advances of being able to digitalize music and offer it in the most portable format for downloading or streaming now means that within hours of the song being performed, it could have been downloaded thousands of times in hundreds of countries.

Unfortunately, the popularity of a song, and the number of times it is downloaded does not equate financial success for the artists involved.  Piracy is estimated to cost the music industry over $12 billion according to the Black Market Analysis website Havocscope.  It is still far too easy to find music to illegally download, especially in markets where copyright protection is not seem as a major concern. 

As with illegally copied films, the quality of the music downloads is often poor and there is an increased risk of also downloading files that you certainly do not want on your PC.  This is one of the reasons why music piracy is actually declining in many countries as the increase in popularity of legitimate music streaming sites such as Spotify negates the risk of infecting your PC and delivers high quality digital files for a small monthly fee.  Countries such as Norway have almost eliminated the problem of music piracy completely.

It isn’t just the wide-scale usage of legitimate streaming services, but also consumer education, especially within the younger generations who are the biggest consumers of digital products.  Campaigns such as INTA’s Unreal project targets young children in the classroom and explains the consequences of music piracy on the industry as a whole as is having a real positive effect in the countries where it has been rolled out to.

But back to Vienna on Saturday night.  The current favourite is Måns Zelmerlöw from Sweden with his song, ‘Heroes’.  Electro Velvet will be hoping to do something no UK entrant has done since Katrina and the Waves in 1997, although the bookmakers don’t rate their chances, ranking their song ‘Still in love with you’ 11th out of the forty entrants.  But what do they really know? It’s all about getting it right on the night and so our money will be firmly on San Marino’s entrant, Michele Perniola & Anita Simoncini with their song, ‘Chain of Light’.