BIF and Matt Mason

Matt Mason Author, The Pirate’s Dilemma and ex-pirate radio DJ The Pirate’s Dilemma

Mason began his career as a pirate radio and club DJ in London, going on to become founding Editor-in-Chief of the magazine RWD. In 2004, he was selected as one of the faces of Gordon Brown’s Start Talking Ideas campaign, and was presented the Prince’s Trust London Business of the Year Award by HRH Prince Charles. He has written and produced TV series, comic strips, and records, and his journalism has appeared in VICE, Complex and other publications in more than 12 countries around the world. He recently founded the non-profit media company Wedia.

  • pirates can cause a lot of problems but a lot a lot of solutions; pirates are innovators
  • I grew up in London, fascinated by music, listening to the pirate radio stations.
  • I spent a lot of my youth as a pirate radio DJ, playing to London.  There are 150 at last count, about 10% of the audience tune in
  • it is illegal but sort of tolerated; the DJS are providing new audiences, new music.  In a different space.  The most popular tend to be the ones that are the most experimental
  • by day i worked in a record store and then got into advertising.  I found myself being approached to be the editor in chief of RWD…a music magazine with a terrible package.  All about pirates.  The mag acted as a pirate itself, in a different space to the other mags.  We gave the mag away for free but only in cool places.  We had a cool audience, so could charge a premium for advertisments.  Went from 5k to 30k
  • Then I got bored.  And something amazing happened.  I met a girl.  And got married.  And we moved to the US.
  • I was trying to work out what to do once I cold work; i started volunteering at a non-profit – trying to get news teams in Africa, Mali, etc, Action Against Hunger.  The mainstream media here all do the same big stories.   They all said that if they had footage then they would show it.  I then used my contacts to try and find a cameraman to go out there.  This email went out…I heard from 30 cameraman from 3 continents…(2 Emmy winners) we got people there and all the stations took it.  The media people were sating they never got to do it with the mainstream.   It was the same model as pirates..all these media people, all these non-profits.  We worked on bringing them together.  Wedia-  send news people all over the world.
  • I’m obsessed with the spaces outside the mainstream…where the people are.  where there opportunities.  Look at music and film piracy…it’s the pharmaceutical industry, look at the Indian market, providing affordable drugs.
  • Pirates are at the sharp end of innovation.  The usual response is to throw lawsuits..sometimes right, but what if it is not, if there is a real need.  They will keep coming back.  so the best thing to do is compete with them, use the opportunities
  • The Pirates Dilemma – to compete or not to compete

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