When Kim Dotcom launched Mega a year after his Megaupload online storage service was shut down, there was inevitable suspicion from creative-industry rightsholders.
Yet eight months on, Dotcom has shifted his focus onto another project – music distribution service Baboom – having appointed Vikram Kumar as CEO of Mega. He’s been speaking to Music Ally about the company’s strategy, including why he believes rightsholders are realising that Mega isn’t a haven for copyright infringement.
“The way the copyright owners work is they send automated takedown notices and what we are seeing is that Mega tends to get between 3,000 and 5,000 takedown notices a month,” says Kumar.
“Putting that into context, Mega has about 300m files, so 5,000 takedown notices is really a drop in the ocean. YouTube gets 15m every month. The people who are infringing copyright don’t like Mega because of its business model. Objectively speaking, all the fears that the copyright owners had when Mega launched are not happening at all. They are aware of that. They have backed off quite clearly.”
Kumar says that Mega now has 5m users, with its recently-launched Android app having “led to a 30% increase in our customer base”. An iOS app is “coming out in a few weeks”, with Mega already popular in the US, France, Spain, Taiwan and Mexico among other countries.
Kumar says he’s not privy to any secret information about Dotcom’s plans for Baboom (“I get to know more from his tweets…”) but points to a focus beyond rightsholders to independent content creators.
“I think every time technology has changed in the past 100 years, the content industry – when they found ways to monetise and control the technology – have benefited hugely. When we get the content creators making money from successful insights from technology this whole thing will just simply go away,” he says.
“There are some very smart people in the content industries who understand that the technology is actually their friend; all they have to do is figure out how to control it and make money out of it.”
The full interview with Kumar will be published in this week’s Music Ally report.