Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Music industry: Your questions obfuscated

Lawks-a-lordy! The BBC news website has gathered a panel of senior music industry experts and allowed us, the nefarious underworld master criminals who spend hours bringing record companies to their still-highly-profitable knees by downloading Avril Lavigne B-sides, to put some questions to them. Let's investigate the main points:

1) Making personal copies of your CDs isn't really illegal, after all*
First we were told that home taping is killing music. Then we were scolded for making back-up copies of our own CDs (it's illegal, you know). But suddenly it's all okay because iPods are, like, way cool.

John Kennedy of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry says; "This is an area where common sense has prevailed - to my knowledge no-one has been punished for this kind of personal copying."

So it's official: you can copy your own music and nobody will come round to stick a truncheon up your nighty at three in the morning.

*(except the law still says it's illegal)

2) Record companies are ripping us off and they don't care who knows it
The panel were asked if the cost of downloads should come down, because record companies no longer have to pay for manufacturing, production and distribution.

"A-ha," said the panel, "that's where you're wrong, numbnuts." Apparently, the major costs of bringing out a record are in A&R and marketing (and paying lawyers to sue the pants off children and grannies who've downloaded an Eminem single).

But if the cost of physically manufacturing a CD is "insignificant," as Peter Jamieson of the British Phonographic Industry argues, is there any reason for a CD to retail for twice the price of a download? No, of course there isn’t, and we're being ripped off.

3) We should buy eighteen copies of every song, just in case
John Kennedy boasts, "There are now at least 10 ways in which you can legally enjoy music - the list includes: ringtone, master ringtone, phone download, phone stream, a-la-carte download, disc, subscription, online stream, UMD music for PlayStation, kiosk and video."

Hang on a minute, though. You have to buy each of these separately! You can't transfer your online stream to a UMD disc, for example. The 'electronic licenses' known as Digital Rights Management actively disallow from sharing music between all the different formats you own.

Peter Jamieson agrees, but he's not concerned. He just wants the extra cash. "It is the same as when CD arrived and many people decided to buy albums they already had on vinyl on the new format."

And anyway, who actually enjoys music (legally or otherwise) in ringtone format? I challenge you to find one single person who doesn't want to take a rusty chainsaw to any mobile that plays a plinky-plonky bontempi organ remix of "My Humps".

4) The music industry still don't really know anything about downloading
Asked if they'd ever taped music off the radio, the panel was thrown into paroxysms of denial and twisty word-bending.

Peter Jamieson of the BPI takes the standard party line: "There is a world of difference between recording the Top 40 onto a C90 and distributing perfect digital copies of songs over the internet to millions of people - and that's exactly what file-sharing is."

Has Jamieson ever used Kazza? If he had, he'd know that 90% of the tracks are poorly encoded, recorded from radio, with the beginning and the end mysteriously cut off. File sharing is only killing music because the music is rubbish. And the record industry is only scared because it can't understand why no-one wants to buy Sheryl Crow's new album (answer: it's a woeful, saccharine piece of crap).

Bizarrely, the rest of the panel sidestepped the issue and talked about healthy eating instead. John Kenendy of the IFPI says, "you simply aren't comparing an apple with an apple." And Brad Duea from Napster exclaims, "we have been working hard to provide a carrot."


  • Read all the answers to all the questions on the BBC News website

    Labels: ,

  • << Home

    Newer Posts ::: Older Posts

    © 2014 Discopop Directory | Contact | Go to the homepage