“Home Taping Is Killing Music” — A 1980s campaign by the BPI, claiming that people recording music off the radio onto cassette would destroy the music industry. Nearly 30 years later the debate still goes on.
Lily Allen, Gary Barlow and James Blunt have declared war on illegal file-sharing.
Forty billion music files were downloaded without payment in 2008, global music industry body the IFPI said, meaning 95% of all digital music was downloaded illegally.
Radiohead guitarist Ed O'Brien, Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason and Blur drummer Dave Rowntree are part of the Featured Artists' Coalition (FAC), a pressure group set up a year ago to speak up for artists' rights.
They say there is no point fighting file-sharing because it would be practically impossible to find a failsafe way to track copyrighted material and penalise the perpetrators. Doing so would also be a major invasion of privacy and turn thousands of fans against the artists and the industry, they argue.
Worldwide album sales have halved in the 10 years since the original mass file-sharing software, Napster, appeared however, the music industry seems to be in good health.
Hear are my views:-
The music industry is no different to any other business in so far as it needs to adapt to new technology and the changing world. A generation ago you couldn't stop kids lending their LPs for friends to tape, holding the mike of your ‘reel to reel’ to the radio on Sunday night for the chart countdown with ‘Fluff’ Freeman and you can’t stop today’s youth file sharing over the internet. As soon as you block one avenue two more open up.
Yes, the artists deserve to be rewarded for their creativity but there are many income streams.
Let’s suppose that the artists gave away downloads of their music for free through official channels (as Radiohead almost did allowing customers to pay what they wished to download In Rainbows). Several side affects can take place. Firstly, enough music may be downloaded so that it enters the charts. Then the radio stations pick it up and royalties will flow. You make the video and MTV and the other TV stations start showing it and more royalties flow. Perhaps, some people want a ‘hard’ copy and there are some sales of CDs.
A tour is demanded and you start to sell tickets, you then sell the merchandise and then overseas markets pick up on your success in the UK and everything escalates.
So there you have it. A whole new business model based on free downloads. Of course if not enough download it in the first place the rest wont happen but then it wouldn’t anyway if people didn’t buy the CDs!
So, worldwide album sales have halved but the live music and merchandise sales have never been healthier. Look at the success of the O2 centre in London (and the others opening up) - the new venues and their sponsorships – HMV forum, HMV Apollo etc. the success of the Festivals this year - the advent of associations with other products Becks, Budweiser and Arthur’s (Guinness) Day last week, the Barclaycard Mercury Prize and so on.
Yes, the sale of music may be declining but the rest of the industry is alive and kicking.
Please let us have your comments
From Larsson B
1.2 million downloaded the In Rainbows album from Radiohead paying whatever they felt it was worth. No one know the average paid but would a charge of say £1 mean that people download legally as for £1 they can't be bothered to find a file share? If half of those 95% paid £1 the artists would sell 10 times more and end up with more money.
The record companies are ripping off the public!!!!! Most bands would give their music away if they could.
From Slash (I suspect not the G n R one!)
Why should music be free???? We spend a lot of time and money creating it so why should we just give it away. True fans will buy it so we don't give a toss about those who steal it. They're not the people we care about. There should be more prosecutions against those STEALING music.