BSM alum’s label, Afternoon Records, sees both sides

Kale Walch

Studies show that the average teenager’s iPod has an estimated 800 stolen tracks on it. In this Internet age, musical piracy is almost universal; whether accidental or intentional, most Internet users have stolen at least one song while online.

With these estimations, many assume that record labels are suffering great losses, while others disagree. Afternoon Records founder and BSM grad Ian Anderson has experienced firsthand the controversies surrounding digital piracy, and understands that piracy has a positive side.

Ian Anderson founded Afternoon Records at the age of 18 while still attending BSM. “I started it because I was the nerdiest among my friend group, and I was the one who wanted to figure out the music industry; how to find new bands, and how to package and release albums,” said Anderson.

Through his determination and hard work, Anderson built Afternoon Records into the powerful, nationally-recognized indie label that it is today, boasting such artists as Pomegranates, Sissy Wish, Yellow Ostrich, and Anderson’s own band, One for the Team.

As an independent record label owner, Anderson understands the effects of piracy on his business. “Piracy is a difficult thing. There are two sides to piracy. Yes, it’s a bummer that the person who’s downloading isn’t paying, but would they have been downloaded in the first place if it wasn’t free?” said Anderson.

Anderson continues, looking at how piracy directly affects record sales. “How big of a problem is it? Because people still buy records; over the past decade, as illegal downloads increased, so did album sales, ticket sales, vinyl sales, and so on. Are they downloading illegally and then falling in love with the band they stole from?” said Anderson.

In fact, Afternoon Records gives away free music on their website, “We always give two or three songs away with every release. Without it, the bands would never get exposed. Most people steal music just to get a taste of the band, and they tend to follow up with a positive response, buying an album, or going to a concert for example,” said Anderson.

Afternoon Records doesn’t do much to stop music piracy. “Once again, some piracy promotes business. We have sent out a couple emails asking to take down free music before the album was even released,” said Anderson.