In January of 2012, the FBI arrested the mastermind behind Megaupload, Kim Dotcom. The raid and the aftermath became a sensation in the news. At its peak, Megaupload accounted for 1% of the internet traffic in the US and nearly 2% in Asia-Pacific. Although the arrest and raid seemed over-the-top but normal at the time, soon turned out to be more convoluted.
At the time of the arrest it seemed that Mr. Dotcom was being arrested for his involvement and profiting from piracy. But even at that time, the rumours were that his arrest involved ulterior motives – Megabox.
Sure, what he did with Megaupload was completely illegal. But then, why arrest just him and shut down his website while letting other file sharing websites untouched (File Sonic shut itself down in fear of similar actions). Behind the scenes, Dotcom was working on a revolutionary new platform, Megabox, which aimed to destroy the music industry. A platform which connects music artists directly with their fans, completely by-passing the record labels. A platform where young talented musicians could sign up and sell their music. A platform on which artists get to keep 90% from the sales as opposed to say 8% – 25%.
Given the size of Megaupload and the following that it had garnered, the music industry did have something to fear. Which culminated in the ostentatious arrest of Kim Dotcom. Now, as it turns out, the warrant for the arrest was illegal and the Prime Minister of New Zealand has stepped up to apologise to Kim Dotcom.
So, Megabox is not dead yet, and the whole investigation/arrest debacle, in my opinion, has made Dotcom look like a victim rather than a villain. It has already managed to sign up artists such as “The Black Keys,” “Rusko,” “Two Fingers” and “Will.i.am”. Will it be able to disrupt the music industry, I don’t know. But if it’s not Megabox, then someone else will surely.