We’ve seen the battles the music industry has fought against piracy. Surely, it is a gruesome war, and it not only happens with music. Piracy exists within all content and products; we see it very often in the Android ecosystem. We tend to look down on it, as it is considered stealing. But is it always a bad thing? Rovio CEO Mikael Hed does not think so.
We could learn a lot from the music industry, and the rather terrible ways the music industry has tried to combat piracy.Mikael HedRovio CEO
There’s no doubt that the Angry Birds creators would prefer customers buy apps and products legally. But they simply don’t believe it’s worth the millions of dollars and effort to fight against it. Mikael Hed made a rather controversial appearance at the Midem music industry conference in Cannes, talking about how badly the music industry has handled this business.
Piracy may not be a bad thing; it can get us more business at the end of the day.Mikael HedRovio CEO
In fact, Mikael claims Rovio sees the court route as a pointless solution, with the exception of times when pirated products are harmful to Rovio. But if such unofficial products are not harming the company’s image, Hed mentions it could work as a booster to create a bigger fan base. The idea seems weird, but look at it as “free advertisement” and it should make more sense. The company may not be making any money from pirated products, but more people playing and more people having Angry Birds plushies will make more people aware of the product. This creates a fan base that will help Rovio earn profit in the future.
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.Mikael HedRovio CEO
Undoubtedly, Rovio has a much different business than the music industry. We’re sure it hasn’t lost as much money, either. But this philosophy may be the answer for many companies out there, because we’re also sure Rovio hasn’t spent even a third of the money music labels have trying to fight piracy.
Mikael Hed mentions that they are in fact trying to avoid piracy in other ways. For example, as you may have noticed, they use their own apps as a channel to their store. This might drive more legitimate sells in the future. But they have found a way to use the “bad boys” to their advantage.
As for pirating, we suppose you can feel a bit less guilty if you’ve ever illegally downloaded a Rovio app. But we’re not condoning any type of piracy. These guys work hard at what they do, and we believe they deserve the few bucks they ask for.
We often see a reverse psychology effect. For example, I tend to be much more dedicated to any assignments when I know the assigner is a bit more open, because there’s some kind of bond created — like a thankful appreciation. That responsibility to do right, because you’ve been treated right. This could be something that Rovio takes seriously. What do you guys think? Should more companies adopt this philosophy? Would it simply bring more chaos?