Friday, 4 September 2009

The light dawns. Artists speak out.

There's a really interesting piece in the Guardian today that's picked up by both HAX and Michael Geist. It covers vocal opposition by artists groups in the UK to recent government proposals to retable 'three strikes' and internet bans for persistent filesharers.

The article is interesting on a number of levels...

Firstly it's welcome to see artists coming down on the side of their public and opposing the demonising of non-commercial sharing - and the equally welcome conclusion that sterner legislation is not the answer.

Secondly, it highlights the changing balance of power between artists and distributors (the record companies) which it attributes to the falling value of recorded music - You could see it another way too... with reproduction and distribution on the Internet being so cheap (free...?) the value of a distributor disappears - not just the value of the product.

Thirdly, it highlights evidence that tour revenues are up significantly - showing that there is healthy interest in seeing live music and real sources of income for bands in doing what musicians do - make music.

The recording industry meanwhile are cast in their traditional role.... in full support of the government proposals... while trying to lock in their artists to '360 degree' deals to take their slice of artists income from tours and other promotions. No one likes losing control.....

Last but not least of course, its great to see the insights of the mainstream press beginning to see the music industry in the same light as The Pirate Party and Piratpartiet. The internet makes it all but free to distribute all forms of 'digital' culture. Businesses need to adapt to that new reality. You can't put the genie back in the bottle - and legislating to protect outmoded ways of doing business is not the answer - not least when it means private policing and infringing peoples rights to privacy in the process.

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