There's no shortage of reports showing that pirates are in fact some of the biggest fans, of movies, bands, authors and so on. The latest, ordered by UK's OFCOM, shows that pirates spend three times as much money on content than non-pirates.This despite a huge, ongoing, fruitless doomed campaign to eradicate online piracy, a campaign that is getting more and more extreme.
Being the biggest fans doesn't necessarily mean being the biggest spenders, though this is what this latest study showed.
It is a bit counterintuitive though, why would fans pirate or, put another way, how could people that don't pay for the stuff they consume call themselves fans?
It's obvious though, if they're pirating a song it's because they like it or like the artist putting it out.
They want to hear it as soon as possible and most of the time, unfortunately for the recording industry but precisely because of them, this means pirating the song rather than buying it.
Even if the pirates buy the song, if they like it and the artist, they're more likely to go to concerts, buy the t-shirts and, yes, eventually even buy it on iTunes, if it's available in their country. They're also the people who are more likely to pay for something like Spotify.
That's not to say all pirates are fans, there are plenty who would not pay anything for what they're getting for free online. But even among those, few are the ones that would not pay out of principle.
Most simply don't care, they grab the latest Hollywood popcorn flick off of BitTorrent, enjoy their 80 minutes and forget about the movie they saw the next day.
They don't really care what movie they see, who made it, who's in it in and so on. Of course, that's Hollywood's fault for making the same generic movies over and over again, but that's another discussion.
These are the people that either used to pay when they had no alternative or simply didn't watch the movie at all. And now, if suddenly they weren't able to grab it off of BitTorrent, they'd find something else to do, but they won't pay for the same thing.
No amount of education or threats is going to make them pay for the stuff they consume if they simply don't care that much about it. The solution is to either start making stuff these people will care about or find something they will pay for. Neither the recording industry nor Hollywood seems too keen on either of those.