youtube new age of pirate radio stations
Piracy has always been around, and will always be around. That’s just the honest truth of the matter. In fact, for the past 3 millennia, pirates have evolved to meet the needs of a flexible, ever-growing market for one reason alone. Simply put, bureaucracy thrives in an environment where “there’s never enough” and one has got to “pay for something”.

As harsh as this might sound, this model is what has elevated the defiance of piracy. A few centuries ago, pirates roamed the seas in a bid to steal and smuggle goods; selling them in areas whose plight had long been forgotten or ignored by the government.

In turn, not only did this become a booming symbiotic relationship between pirate seller and less-fortunate buyer, it also opened the gates to less glamorous dealings. All thanks to having one shared interest; defying a government that prohibited free trade.

The Boom of Pirate Radio Stations

Today, piracy comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes. From counterfeit, to second hand, to the real deal from a unanimous seller leaking products within organization XYZ. Interestingly, one form of piracy seems to be thriving, against all odds, on a platform that one would least expect; YouTube.

A loophole in YouTube’s algorithms is leading to the blooming of hundreds of unlicensed, radio stations on the video sharing megalith. A situation reminiscent of the ‘90s age of underground broadcasts that were literally being started in garages and attics!

The loophole

digital media in youtube
So how does this strategy work? Unlike the structure of unblocked music streaming websites, Dozens of independently run channels are streaming music continuous, having videos that combine playlists holding hundreds of songs with captivating animations. Surprisingly, these animations are used from anime films without the consultation of copyright permissions!

Live streams come in different forms and genres. One of them has particularly caught the attention of these unlicensed radio stations. Known as lofi (low-fidelity) hip hop, music played is mellow in nature, and would have fans the likes of Nujabes and J. Dilla.

Hanging on a thin thread

These channels normally operate in a precarious nature, hanging on a thin line between YouTube’s copyright policy and its algorithm. This draws a somewhat similar structure to the unlicensed radio stations that thrived in the ‘90s when the digital sphere was experiencing unprecedented growth.

Despite YouTube competitors such as Spotify gaining considerable ground in the market, YouTube still remains the largest streaming site in the world according to recent figures released by the Music Consumer Insight Report

Only time will tell

However, YouTube’s eagerness to forcefully impose intellectual property rights, not matter how casual, has led to some streaming stations collaborating with their own artists to stream music.

sharing content youtube
Which begs the question; will the new trend of unlicensed radio stations on the platform survive? With its surging growth and the impressive income it brings. It all depends on whether YouTube will decide to support these stations or close them down altogether.

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