Kanye West recently broke the internet (again) by tweeting a picture that appeared to show the 21 time Grammy award-winner using Pirate Bay to rip software. As if a 21 time Grammy winner pirating synthesizer software (retail value: $189.00) wasn’t strange enough, the debate that followed saw the Twitter’s current rant king squaring off with Canadian music producer Deadmau5.
As it turns out, Deadmau5 (real name Joel Zimmerman) wasn’t just looking to start beef with Yeezy but was standing up for his friend and collaborator Steve Duda, who created the Serum software West allegedly ripped from Pirate Bay. Duda appreciated the support, but he’s no stranger to seeing his software jacked. He told Inverse that over 90% of the users of his software have downloaded it illegally through file-sharing sites.
Kanye has subsequently denied that it was his computer in the first place, and insists that it was all a big joke. And while that sounds like the coolest story ever, even if the world takes Ye at his word, software creators like Duda are definitely feeling the pinch of lost revenue due to illegal downloads.
For Duda’s part, he understands there will always be illegal downloading, and even acknowledges that he would rather have people who can’t afford the software illegally download it than not have it at all. Yet considering how much money Duda potentially loses due to pirated software, he’s understandably irritated by sites like Pirate Bay that make ripping his software so easy. In a sense, the convenience those sites offer is a bigger problem than their non-existent price point.
“It’s particularly disturbing when professionals find it acceptable to download software illegally,” Duda explains. “I’ve seen cracked software on billion-dollar film stages here in Los Angeles.”
When asked if perhaps there was a silver lining in the Kanye kerfuffle in terms of extra exposure or even an increase of legitimate paid downloads through his website, Duda admitted that there had been a slight uptick in sales and an increase in web traffic. Yet contrary to the saying, not all publicity is good publicity; Duda would prefer to let his product and the support provided (for paying customers) do the talking:
“I am incredibly thankful that there are enough people out there that see the value and can justify the expense of my products,” Duda clarifies. “Thanks to Serum’s popularity I’ve been able to release more than 40 updates this last year and a half. Updates are always free to registered users, and I pride myself in taking support seriously, usually responding within minutes if I’m not asleep.”
And while Duda prefers to leave the Twitter beefs to the pros, he couldn’t help taking a tongue-in-cheek dig at Kanye:
“I’m not sure of the long term, but it’s not the sort of attention I wanted. I was having a great week out on tour with Deadmau5. Now I know how Taylor Swift feels.”