Monday, 13 July 2009

Ownership versus access again

The guardian ran a report today saying (Reader's Digest version here) that piracy is down, streaming is up and everyone is happy.

Now this good news is the result of interviewing 1,000 people (out of the 59 million or so in the UK) and extrapolating an awful lot from what they found (as any good survey does).

The article raves on about services like Spotify and You Tube solving a music lover's needs without needing to resort to illegal P2P. This isn't 100% of the story, as the article also mentions the illegal download shift could also come as people copy each others' existing MP3s, rip CDs, etc.


TechDirt takes the article a little further and delves - rightly so - a little deeper into the asinine mechanics of the record labels. The shift from piracy to streaming is good for everyone. That's a given. Why, then are the labels trying to screw these legit services into extinction by demanding sky high licensing fees?

"This is how the legacy industry kills anything even remotely positive. The second that the industry sees anything that's working, it suddenly smothers it by demanding to get a bigger and bigger cut."

It's been an issue I've had troubles with for ages. Sure they want their money, but if the choice is NO money due to piracy, or reduced income from the likes of You Tube and Spotify, it seems like a no brainer.

The PRS here in the UK has already forced You Tube's hand and they have in turn banned UK viewers from watching music videos. Spotify's financial woes are also becoming more and more apparent as are Pandora in the US, who were recently saved by a lowering of the per song fee they're forced to pay.

The labels continue to wage an argument akin to "well these are the rates we'd get if a consumer bought a CD or it was played on commercial radio". They don't seem to get the argument is between piracy (no income) and legit streaming (some income).

One day this industry will wake up, realise that the consumer fuels the market, will cower to their demands and the world will be a better place. Until that time, they'll argue they're a business and need to make money and then complain when they go bust.

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