8 July 2008

The music industry...

Normally i wouldn't write on things outside the game industry but i'll make an exception here for a topic i feel fairly strongly about. Basically the BPI (British Phonographic Industry) are trying to clamp down and ban 'file sharers' (inverted commas due to the fact that the person paying the bill might not be the one file sharing music, also IP spoofing etc). I wrote this as a comment to the BBC article that i had read but i doubt it'll get published due to the length and number of responses they'll get.

I haven't received a letter and I don't download music - nor do i buy it due to my disgust over the music industry's actions over the last few years. There is only one thing that i believe is true about their campaigns - they're shooting themselves in the feet.

Historically music demand and distribution is down to social sharing of that music. You go for a night out and hear a good song at a club - you listen to the radio and again, hear an artist you like. You visit a friend and they share their own collection with you so you can see if you like the music. It's called the playground effect: people see things they like that other people have and they go away and buy them. It's the cheapest and most effective type of marketing and is highly sort after by marketing campaigns... i.e. good word of mouth.

The music industries are stopping all of this with their constant litigation and persecution of their customers. They are displaying a serious lack of understanding of how the music industry became so powerful and rich - which wasn't really until this last century.

They're suing people in garages for playing music too loud - god forbid people hear music! They're stopping file sharing rather than offering alternatives. They're stopping internet radio from being profitable by asking for exorbitant fees... Next thing you know they'll require music to be listened over headphones only so that every person has to pay to listen to the same track (much like the cinema industry likes to do). Pretty soon, without any way of being able to find new music for free, no one will buy music and we'll be back to the pre-industrial times of local musicians and stage performers.... or we would be if the goverment hadn't made that law stopping the ease of bands performing in pubs and stuff.

I hate to be a doomsayer but we're potentially on the edge of a dark age of music and the musicians and publishers in their mindless greed don't seem to see that.