Some Questions For Lily Allen

from the once-more... dept

Lily Allen has continued to post statements from various artists on her blog against file sharing, and most are of the "yeah, file sharing, it's bad!" variety. While she still doesn't quite seem to realize what was hypocritical about her decision to copy a Techdirt post while claiming that copying was bad, she did recently post something where she tried to "answer some questions" that others seem to be having about her effort. The problem is that the "questions" she's answering aren't really the questions that people have been asking. Her explanation is that she's trying to show what file sharing is doing to new artists. Furthermore, she complains that comments about people getting cut off from the internet are misguided, since the proposals are no different than cutting someone off for not paying their bill. Then she attacks the concept that music could be free, saying:
"It's not free to make, so it can't be free, can it?"
And goes on to say that not enough people are paying for music, so that's "threatening new music." Anyway, her "answers to some questions" mostly raise more questions from me, so I'd like to present them here. If Lily Allen is serious about dealing with these issues (and serious about being "sorry" -- even if she apologized for the wrong thing), then it would be great to see her directly address these questions, rather than responding to some made up questions.
  1. You claim that file sharing is harming new music. Yet, at the same time, a recent study has shown that more new music is being created today than ever before in history. Partly, that's because new tools have made it cheaper than ever to create and record new music. But those same technologies are also making it cheaper to promote and distribute that new music. All of those factors seem to outweigh the "piracy" issue. So, how can you claim that it's harming new music, when the evidence suggests more new music is being created than ever before?
  2. You claim that "not enough people are paying for music." However, just a few months ago, the economists employed by PRS, which is a big part of the UK music industry, released a study suggesting that the music market was growing, not declining. They agreed that retail sales have dropped, but that live show attendance and other offerings (merchandise, etc.) have outweighed the decline in music sales. In other words, people are spending more on music, it's just going into different things -- just like 50 Cent said. Given that the economists who represent your industry are saying the opposite of what you claim must be happening, can you support the claim that not enough people are paying?
  3. According to many reports, you benefited greatly yourself by promoting your music via MySpace, which allowed people to listen to your music for free. Other reports have suggested that you have complained in the past that your record label does not give you much, if any, money from CD sales. Given that you seem to have used "free music" to your own advantage in the past, how can you say that "music can't be free"?
  4. You are posting your blog on a Blogspot.com domain, which is provided by Google to you, for free. It cost Google money to create this service, and all of its services, and yet it has been able to create a business model whereby it makes money by giving away certain aspects of its business for free. Google is one of the most successful companies in the world. Why do you insist with such certainty that using free as a part of a business model is a bad thing?
  5. There are a growing number of artists -- big, medium and small -- who have learned to embrace file sharing, and have found that it has helped them to better connect with their audience, and when combined with a smart business model, makes them more money than in the past. Given that's the case, is it possible that the problem is artists choosing a bad business model rather than "piracy" being the problem?
  6. Despite your shading of the issue, there have been and continue to be proposals in the UK that would lead to people being kicked off the internet -- yes, for a limited time, but still removed from the internet. Can you explain how that makes people any more likely to buy your music?
By the way, it's also worth noting that many of the ideas for these questions come from the comments to the post on Lily's blog. While there were some nasty and childish comments on some of the earlier posts (such as the one where she copied my post), going through the comments on this particular post show that the vast majority of them are well thought-out, well-argued and thought-provoking. And most of them disagree with Allen's statements.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Poster, Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 1:19pm

    Silly Techdirt. You really think Lily's smart enough to comprehend the concept of "questions"?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Peter Thomas, Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 1:19pm

    Lily Allen distributes copyright music by famous acts...

    Look at this 2006 blog posting here, describing a 'mixtape' MP3 by up-and-coming young artist Lily Allen... http://whatbecameofthelikelybroads.blogspot.com/2006/08/finally-lily-allen-mixtape-2.html Can't be true, can it? Well, check the link out in the entry. It's on the lilyallenmusic.com domain. That's her EMI-funded website. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I do believe we have caught Lily Allen in the act of MUSIC PIRACY. She's even more of a hypocrite than ever before! Don't worry Lily, as you say in the title of your latest album... Everyone's At It!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    zenasprime, Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 1:36pm

    Re:

    Lilly Allen - The Fear

    I think this says just about all we need to know about Lilly Allen.

    "I want to be rich and I want lots of money
    I don’t care about clever I don’t care about funny
    I want loads of clothes and i want fuckloads of diamonds
    I heard people die while they are trying to find them

    And i’ll take my clothes off and it will be shameless
    Cuz everyone knows that’s how you get famous
    I’ll look at the sun and I’ll look in the mirror
    I’m on the right track yeah I’m on to a winner

    [Chorus]
    I don’t know what’s right and what’s real anymore
    I don’t know how I’m meant to feel anymore
    When do you think it will all become clear?
    ‘Cuz I’m being taken over by The Fear

    Life’s about film stars and less about mothers -

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 1:37pm

    Re: Lily Allen distributes copyright music by famous acts...

    What the hell? Is this for REAL? Or are all the musicians listed under her same label, so there's some kind of agreement in place making this non-infringing?

    Otherwise [forehead slap]

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    BulmaRO, Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 1:57pm

    and this is why sometimes its better to get info and more info before starting an argument with someone who DO know what he/she is talking about.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    Designerfx (profile), Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 1:58pm

    Re: bingo

    The phrase is called "don't argue with stupids".

    Mike, I don't think Lily Allen even writes that blog, so I'd find it equally skeptical that you find it worth your time to respond to her.

    Honestly, there sure are a lot of posts for someone who is a musician/on tour/whatever. They are not very smart posts in general, it's more like what I'd expect of a 14 year old writing a blog, really.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Derek Reed, Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 2:03pm

    RE: Re: bingo

    Are you suggesting that this Lily Allen fellow doesn't write and think like a 14 year old girl? Because I think that pretty much everyone else is assuming that she does, and based on what I've seen of her so far, I don't think that's an unfair assumption.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    icon
    LostSailor (profile), Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 2:04pm

    Choice

    Given that you seem to have used "free music" to your own advantage in the past, how can you say that "music can't be free"?

    It's her choice whether she wants to give away some of her music or not. It's not yours or anyone else's. It may or may not be a bad business decision, but it's her's to make and she's free to change her mind.

    You are posting your blog on a Blogspot.com domain, which is provided by Google to you, for free.

    The fact that Google has decided to provide the service without charge is their decision (which they, too, could change at any time).

    These are pretty silly points, Mike.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 2:07pm

    Re: Choice

    Reading comprehension is fun. Lily is insisting that music CANNOT be free, not that it shouldn't be.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Poster, Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 2:08pm

    Re: Choice

    Look, there goes the point, sailing over your head. Doesn't it look nice?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 2:10pm

    Re: Choice

    "These are pretty silly points, Mike."

    No, there not, and you know it. If you read the post, you would see this gem from Lily:

    "It's not free to make, so it can't be free, can it?"

    She's using free services that according to her, simply can't exist. Don't feign stupidity. Just make sense if you disagree.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 2:10pm

    Re: Choice

    "These are pretty silly points, Mike."

    No, there not, and you know it. If you read the post, you would see this gem from Lily:

    "It's not free to make, so it can't be free, can it?"

    She's using free services that according to her, simply can't exist. Don't feign stupidity. Just make sense if you disagree.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    icon
    Designerfx (profile), Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 2:13pm

    Re: Lily Allen distributes copyright music by famous acts...

    I'm saving that for posterity just in case they now take it down.

    As noted, its a single giant mp3, so that's definitely in the more likely realm of mixtape material.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    icon
    grannelle (profile), Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 2:16pm

    Lyin' Lilly

    I've known about this chick for less than 48 hours, and one thing is becoming painfully apparent: she is no different than some of the most crooked televangelists of the past. She beats the drum of high ethical standards, casting dispersions on the "wicked", and doing it all, using whatever means necessary to justify the ends, to further her own agenda. The saddest things? A. She's getting a tremendous amount of free press (there's no such thing as "bad" ink), which equates to mileage, out of all of this, and B. she's a 'butterface' (as in not a bad looking girl, but 'er face...).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 2:16pm

    Re: Choice

    It's her choice whether she wants to give away some of her music or not. It's not yours or anyone else's. It may or may not be a bad business decision, but it's her's to make and she's free to change her mind.

    Heh. Funny. I don't recall you complaining that it was 50 Cent's choice to not go after file sharers when Lily scolded him for destroying the music industry in doing so.

    Wonder why.

    But, as others have pointed out, she was the one claiming that music can't be free. And yet, she showed that it could be.

    The fact that Google has decided to provide the service without charge is their decision (which they, too, could change at any time).

    Indeed. But Lily was scolding other artists for offering stuff for free. Is this really that complicated?

    These are pretty silly points, Mike.

    Or dead on points.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 2:17pm

    Re: Lily Allen distributes copyright music by famous acts...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    fred, Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 2:27pm

    Fed Up

    Is it just me or is this just getting completely ridiculous.

    To answer your questions and have a grown up debate:

    1. Yes, it could be argued that perhaps there are lots more people making music, great!-it could also be argued that it is easier for us to hear about them because of the digital evolution, but that there has alwasy been a significant interest in music. It is a universal language which everyone can connect with. Either way, it doesn't make it all good. It important to value artist development and those that work at the very heart of the creative industry. There is a lot of crap to wade through. How much of Myspace is actually good - a handful of people are discovered there? You may be able to create music in your bedroom and for free (and granted some of it may still be good), but if you want to use experienced musicians/producers or an orchestra for example - then you wll need to pay them - or do you want them to work for free too? Otherwise the most fantastic of music may never have been produced and all that gets churned out is Xfactor - that is why you need to support people when they say it is damaging the investment in artist development. There is NO artist development these days!! It is a handful of people who make it past their first album.....there are fewer career bands than ever before. It comes down to investment at the end of the day. You pay peanuts, you get monkeys!

    2. People may not pay for music - fine, their choice, some people will never change. But it is narrow minded to think that everyone benefits from merch, live tours even if this is showing an increase from previous years. It really does show how ignorant people can be to think that all artists are performers -what about songwriters! Not to mention that most will have failed to understand that most tours get shortfall- by wait for it record labels! Otherwise these development acts may not have such extensive touring schedules! Pull that funding and you will not get so many acts in the smaller towns/cities - so how does that figure? Maybe you will think twice where you get your music from next time.. if you care about music at all - because lets face it - this is why we are having a debate!

    3. It is up to artists what they choose to give away or not - or did you write the tunes as well -what gives you the right to dictate what people do with their music or not! It may well be wise for them to give away some promotionally so people can test it - but honestly, if they didn't do that - you would complain as well! You have to draw the line somewhere - there has to be a balance!
    4. Google - we love it, great - genius. It may not have occurred to anyone that there are actually services out there which already use this free model - ie adfunded streaming services for music, all you can eat subscriptions (okay so there may not be enough yet) - but give them a chance But I suppose it makes a better read to slate everyone else for not doing anything......

    5. I dont think anyone would argue that easy access to music has opened up peoples interest in a wider range of music genre/back catalog etc. Something to be celebrated. It is also right that this should be harnessed in a way by which everyone can benefit. But, if it was that easy it would have been done by now - i dont see anyone else be successful in signing/developing acts and distributing music ? We need to support the services in development out there which are trying to be more consumer focused and support the ongoing investment in the creative industries - it is wrong to suggest that no-one is doing anything to think out of the box. I dont think anyone can dictate how anyone should consume music, but we should educate people on legal alternatives. These arguments do not help anyone and we all lose out in the long term.

    6. Re: UK proposal of kicking people off the internet - I think if you read what it actually says, it says it is a last resort. But frankly, this is not the point - the real argument surrounds the value of music. People can do what they like - but you really need to ask yourself whether or not you actually care about music at all. There is a lot of talk, hot air - call it what you like. The most important thing in all of this is music and lets face it - who can honestly live without it!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 2:32pm

    Re: Lily Allen distributes copyright music by famous acts...

    Thanks for the FREE mixtape, chica!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 2:35pm

    Re: Fed Up

    Gee, yet another person who doesn't have the brain cells to understand #3.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 2:42pm

    Re: Re: Fed Up

    So i guess with all your brains you done something amazing to boast about?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    PeteProdge (profile), Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 2:42pm

    Re: Choice

    "It's her choice whether she wants to give away some of her music or not" That is 100% correct. However, given that I discovered Lily Allen is distributing the music of The Kinks, The Specials and Jay-Z directly from her website, and reported it to this very blog, can you tell me how it's her rightful choice to give away the music of these artists? I like Lily Allen's music, but boy, she's proven herself to be a complete hypocrite.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 2:48pm

    Re: Re: Choice

    t's her choice whether she wants to give away some of her music or not" That is 100% correct. However, given that I discovered Lily Allen is distributing the music of The Kinks, The Specials and Jay-Z directly from her website, and reported it to this very blog, can you tell me how it's her rightful choice to give away the music of these artists? I like Lily Allen's music, but boy, she's proven herself to be a complete hypocrite.

    Fair point if that's true. But I dont speak on behalf of Lily, i think it only fair that anyone who writes music should decide what they want to do with it - ie give away free or choose to earn from their work. Thanks for your comment

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    icon
    PeteProdge (profile), Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 3:03pm

    Re: Re: Lily Allen distributes copyright music by famous acts...

    The tracks from SL2 and Dizzee Rascal there were distributed by EMI, under an agreement by Beggars Banquet subsidiary XL Recordings. (I'm a fan of both.)

    The Specials' back catalogue is also tied in with EMI, but the band themselves aren't supportive of this, it was basically a gun-to-the-head situation. To be fair, Lily has sung on stage with the Specials, who are ska legends here in the UK.

    The Kinks aren't EMI as far as I know. Castle Communications, I believe, handles their stuff.

    Jay-Z I'm sure isn't EMI either.

    I really really hope this story flies. I hope she's in big trouble for it, because I can't stand hypocrites. Thing is, the media here are talking about her decision to "quit music" in that very blog. Please spread the news about her own MP3 piracy as far and as wide as you can! :-D

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    icon
    Ben in TX (profile), Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 3:03pm

    Re: Lily Allen distributes copyright music by famous acts...

    Dude... EPIC WIN, +1 quatrillion or so.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    zenasprime, Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 3:38pm

    Re: Fed Up

    1. "Either way, it doesn't make it all good. It important to value artist development and those that work at the very heart of the creative industry. There is a lot of crap to wade through."

    "Good" is subjective. Personally, I find the highly refined and "music by way of corporate committee" that has been endlessly churned out by the mainstream music industry like parts from an assembly line to be completely inadequate and utterly horrible as far as an artwork. In my opinion, expensive mastering and exceptional (though debatable to some) audio fidelity have very little to do, at least in my opinion, with "good" music. So let's set the record straight here, in the name of an honest debate, the mainstream music industry does NOT hold a monopoly on the creation, discovery, marketing, nor production, of "good" music. It simply markets a PRODUCT that it deems worthy of investment. What their criteria are for determining what is a good investment does not necessarily equate to "good" music.

    2. "Either way, it doesn't make it all good. It important to value artist development and those that work at the very heart of the creative industry. There is a lot of crap to wade through."

    The "very heart of the creative industry" has nothing to do with all the worker bees buzzing about performing their assigned duties. True creativity comes from the heart of the creative individual. A work of art is something more then just the product and the reward for such is greater then any paycheck can provide. Art does not disappear outside of capitalism. In fact, it is my opinion that it flourishes despite it."

    " Pull that funding and you will not get so many acts in the smaller towns/cities - so how does that figure?"

    Again, big industry funding has little to do with musical performance. Before Clear Channel and the big name acts that they bring into the city, Philadelphia had a thriving local scene, with a multitude of venues that one could go to to enjoy a wide variety of music. One by one, most of these venues were either taken over by Clear Channel, put out of business by restrictive laws and licensing, or in the case of the more underground scenes, harassed into oblivion by local law enforcement on the behest of the powers that be. So, in essence, big industry has done little to promote local music and on the contrary have done much to establish their own monopoly on live music performance. So forgive me if I don't get how you figure.

    On the other hand, music is a personal endeavor for most, and sharing it intimately with friends and family has been a long held tradition, longer then the advent of the music industry as we know it. Getting together with friend and family as someone plays the guitar or piano or heading out to see a friends local band is a much more enjoyable experience, at least for me and the people I love and care about, then any fast food style concert put on by the music industry corporations. These types of event are not cost prohibitive nor do they need any fancy promotion. I've been to many events that were strictly promoted by word of mouth, that had very good acts performing on a traditional stage or venue. This is able to happen because music is more to most people then teenage hype and if those who are interested in it want it to happen badly enough they can make it happen.

    5. " Pull that funding and you will not get so many acts in the smaller towns/cities - so how does that figure?"

    But it IS being done! Here's just a small list of links of music that I have an interest in that doesn't require anything that you seem to suggest it needs...

    http://12k.com
    http://notype.com
    http://magnatune.com
    http://www.webbedhandrecords.co m/
    http://www.observatoryonline.org/
    http://www.fragmentmusic.net/
    http://www.midinetterecords.ne t/
    http://www.zymogen.net/splash.php
    http://www.tonatom.net/
    http://micromusic.net/office.php3
    h ttp://mp3.tbtmo.com/
    http://earthmantra.com/
    http://justnotnormal.wordpress.com/
    http://www.darkw inter.com/index1.html
    http://www.scape-music.com/
    http://www.thecasualdistractions.com/
    http://ww w.8bitpeoples.com/
    http://www.second-sun.net/

    ... and the list could go on and on and on...

    6. "the real argument surrounds the value of music."

    Nobody is arguing the value of music because it's obvious. People value music, so much so that they are willing to defy those with power and guns to obtain it. They value it so much that they desire to share it with thier friends and family, and even strangers, in order to spread it's "message" so to speak. Music is so valued, that artists create it even though they could be doing something else that would generate income for them. They value it enough that truly creative musicians will find a way to create what they love and be "successful" against seemingly impossible odds and often times despite those forces which seek to abuse and take advantage of them.

    I value music so much that I don't just take what's force fed to me by the big industry but rather go out of my way to find what truly touches my heart.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    icon
    lavi d (profile), Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 5:01pm

    Re: Fed Up

    Otherwise the most fantastic of music may never have been produced and all that gets churned out is Xfactor

    If a person cannot make money selling recordings because of today's technology, then he/she should not try to sell recordings.

    No one is owed a living.

    It doesn't get any simpler than that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Felipe Tavares, Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 5:04pm

    Good questions

    I want to see Lily Allen answering that. How can she be so stupid?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    icon
    Matt (profile), Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 5:15pm

    Re: Fed Up

    To the degree I understand your point (and I admit that I do not follow all of it very well,) it seems as if you are saying that we need copyright because most new music being produced today is drek. Put differently, we should be supporting artist development because artists are not developing well right now.

    Couple kinks in that argument. First, copyright exists, so if we're getting drek now it cannot be because of a failure to pass sufficiently draconian copyright laws. Indeed, much of the drek is produced entirely by the industries that copyright protects. Or do you argue that Britney Spears is the highest and best use of our collective listening time? Second, copyright is provable a craptastic way to support artistic development. NEA/NIH grants are probably better. Parties in my backyard are better yet. As your music teacher told you before rapping your knuckles with her baton, it is practice that improves musicians.

    I strongly support improving the quality of music education in schools. I would love to see an innovative way to pay artists for their artistry and editors for their discrimination. But copyright is not for or about them - it is about labels, who are merely distributors of music. Music distribution no longer requires labels. They are unnecessary middlemen. They should be relieved of their cherished position. Elimination of ill-conceived copyright would do that work.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Twin Lizard, Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 5:53pm

    Freds Artist Dev point

    Fred, I'd like to comment on your point about artist development.

    It's always seemed to me that an artist being 'in development' has, over the last 20 or so years certainly, always been as much to do with working up their image and music to fit the current popular climate as much as anything else (or simply waiting for the fad to fit their image, if you prefer).

    The argument that the up-and-coming musician needs the cash that majors have traditionally made available to sit down and really hone their product has, over time, come to work more and more from the perspective of those who wish their product to be fitted to the massive propaganda juggernaut the big players mobilise.

    Is your argument that the quantity of music is on the increase, but that the overall quality is dropping? This would seem a very relative statement in the realm of differing tastes of the worlds listeners, and only really works if your idea of quality is as narrow as that of a music business looking to pander to a current fad, as I described above.

    The fact that the music biz can no longer predict the emergence of trends with accuracy or sustain them for any length of time through the traditional monopolies of the means of propaganda is likely an important factor in the collapse of the number of career bands, and artist development budgets too.

    File sharing is only a small part of that much wider discussion.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 6:29pm

    Mike .... Dude this is so beneath you ....

    While I pesonally think the woman should post responses here because of how influential this place is. You seem to be harping on her.... and that is beneath you.

    You are taking a temperamental artist and egging her on. Personally this is funny, and I made fun of her myself here and on her blog. Here is an Idea ... create a side/second/ anti sister blog where artists and big media types can come and post articles on their views and why file sharing is bad.

    It would get readership on techdirt up, and you would have the point counter point thing going. .... well that and with the crowd here they would be hazed, it would be fun to watch.

    Conflict in this case would be good because they would not be able to defend their stance on copyright. It would also show how desperate they are. And the line "if you build it they will come" comes to mind.

    Also if they dont show up well you have a great set of articles you can write.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Jordon, Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 8:25pm

    Internet Tackling

    I have to say that I'm pretty shocked at how... civil! the discussion on Lilly's blog has been. Well, I and some others were referred to as douchebags at one point by some guy named James, but that's ok (I've been wondering if his last name is Blunt). I'll get over it in a few days. Also, I noticed on Allen's website that it says that she's tackling the issue of music piracy. Really? If there's any internet tackling going on it's coming from the other side of the debate!
    Hats off to the internet detectives for digging up the mixtape business too.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    icon
    flashback (profile), Sep 23rd, 2009 @ 11:29pm

    Re: Fed Up

    fred, it seems quite obvious that you don't work in the music industry or know much about how it works. For my full disclosure, I work as the day-to-day manager for a successful multi-platinum rock band that tours arenas and still manages to sell some records on occasion.

    Anyhow, let me address your comments -

    1. it is very important to value artist development, but guess what? The labels are less about A&R and artist development than ANYONE. This dates back to before the file-sharing era really kicked-in to when the consolidation of the industry started happening en masse. As the diversity of the industry gave way to a few massive conglomerates owning all the labels (as well as radio stations & promoters) the artist development & in-depth A&R of past times went out the window and the only thing being focused on was market share, continued growth and quarterly profits. The way that manifested itself was by homogenizing the industry and thats how we got the whole boy / girl-band era. It's also when you started hearing the common critique "everything sounds the same". This is a major problem that continues to this day, but it is an industry-wide concern, and it started at the top with the labels. On this matter, point the finger at them because it is all their doing. It seems like some of the labels are coming full-circle and re-focusing on artist development now, but I don't know if it will really have an effect until the conglomerates sell-off their stakes in the music biz.

    2. Seriously, this comment is really uninformed. Labels don't pay tour support anymore, sorry. It hasn't happened since the early 2000's. Just like most labels aren't financing music video's anymore, when profits began falling and the belt had to be tightened on expenses these were just a couple of the first things to get cut. The only artists that would get it now are the large established ones and the truth is that they don't need it. While you could make the claim that as a result of the decline in the industry the labels haven't been able to afford to give bands tour support, in turn the bands have showed that they don't NEED it, and they can pay for their touring themselves.

    Your other idea is short-sighted. While the producers, designers, and PR / marketing people may not end up benefitting directly from merch and performance income, the band is the one ultimately paying for these services so the money flows from the artist to whoever they hire to produce & record their music, and to the designers that create the artwork and to the marketing people that help push the record. These services can exist independent of the label and the artist can pay for them directly. The bottom-line is that regardless of where the income comes to the artist from, those people get covered.

    3. Yeah, the artists can choose to give their stuff away, or choose to just be OK with people sharing their stuff, or choose not to. They have that choice, but ultimately they cannot stop people from doing it. And typically what happens when they choose to be against it is that there is a public backlash or negative PR as a result. So, it's up to them to decide but it SEEMS like a very obvious choice on what the smart move is there.

    4. Don't really know what you're point is. Mike's point is that there are successful business models out there that give away either a service (like Google) or content (like TV) for free. Both of those are able to generate income by making the content or service that people want free, so why can't music find a way to do this as well? It is starting to happen but there hasn't been a big successful solution adopted by everyone yet.

    5. Ok, what did you just say here? You don't see anyone else being successful in distributing music? Distribution has been made extremely simple and FREE, everyone is now able to distribute music. As far as signing / developing artists, see my previous answer on that. The labels aren't interested in developing artists. The part of the industry that has been doing that has been the managers & management companies, which is why people like Lefsetz and others say things like "management are the new labels" or "management needs to service the artists like labels used to do". Anyway, this again shows that you don't really know much about the industry.

    6. I won't comment on this one as I'm a US citizen, but I don't really see that idea gaining much traction.

    All of this stuff is funny on a lot of levels, I feel like it's the year 2000 again and people are re-hashing all their old problems with Napster. Haven't we been through this already? And haven't we seen where that got us? I thought we were all moving on and figuring out where exactly the industry was going to go? I guess some people insist on living in the past.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 24th, 2009 @ 1:09am

    Re: Fed Up

    Is it just me or is this just getting completely ridiculous.

    Indeed.

    1. Yes, it could be argued that perhaps there are lots more people making music, great!-it could also be argued that it is easier for us to hear about them because of the digital evolution, but that there has alwasy been a significant interest in music. It is a universal language which everyone can connect with. Either way, it doesn't make it all good. It important to value artist development and those that work at the very heart of the creative industry.

    As others have pointed out, much of that is a problem that happened well before file sharing. It was the major labels that focused on shooting for massive rock stars rather than actually developing a stable roster of talent.

    2. People may not pay for music - fine, their choice, some people will never change. But it is narrow minded to think that everyone benefits from merch, live tours even if this is showing an increase from previous years. It really does show how ignorant people can be to think that all artists are performers -what about songwriters! Not to mention that most will have failed to understand that most tours get shortfall- by wait for it record labels! Otherwise these development acts may not have such extensive touring schedules! Pull that funding and you will not get so many acts in the smaller towns/cities - so how does that figure? Maybe you will think twice where you get your music from next time.. if you care about music at all - because lets face it - this is why we are having a debate!

    Again, as others have pointed out, labels rarely pay for tours at all, and haven't in a while. As for all those other players, they are paid for by the artist. If the artist is making more money from touring or other smarter business models (and, no, not all of them rely on touring -- in fact most of the ones we highlight have nothing to do with touring) then they can pay for all of those other things (yes, including songwriters).

    3. It is up to artists what they choose to give away or not - or did you write the tunes as well -what gives you the right to dictate what people do with their music or not! It may well be wise for them to give away some promotionally so people can test it - but honestly, if they didn't do that - you would complain as well! You have to draw the line somewhere - there has to be a balance!

    Indeed. I've always said that it's the artist's choice. But that doesn't change the fact that people are sharing anyway. Considering that every artist to smartly embrace it has become better off... then... um... why wouldn't you embrace it?

    4. Google - we love it, great - genius. It may not have occurred to anyone that there are actually services out there which already use this free model - ie adfunded streaming services for music, all you can eat subscriptions (okay so there may not be enough yet) - but give them a chance But I suppose it makes a better read to slate everyone else for not doing anything......

    I believe you may have missed the point of my question. She made a point that nothing could be free. That is clearly false. That was the point I was raising. I'm not sure what your response means with respect to that point.

    5. I dont think anyone would argue that easy access to music has opened up peoples interest in a wider range of music genre/back catalog etc. Something to be celebrated. It is also right that this should be harnessed in a way by which everyone can benefit. But, if it was that easy it would have been done by now - i dont see anyone else be successful in signing/developing acts and distributing music ? We need to support the services in development out there which are trying to be more consumer focused and support the ongoing investment in the creative industries - it is wrong to suggest that no-one is doing anything to think out of the box. I dont think anyone can dictate how anyone should consume music, but we should educate people on legal alternatives. These arguments do not help anyone and we all lose out in the long term.

    You seem to be treating the market as if it needs to match the old model exactly. It does not.

    6. Re: UK proposal of kicking people off the internet - I think if you read what it actually says, it says it is a last resort. But frankly, this is not the point - the real argument surrounds the value of music. People can do what they like - but you really need to ask yourself whether or not you actually care about music at all. There is a lot of talk, hot air - call it what you like. The most important thing in all of this is music and lets face it - who can honestly live without it!

    Again, more music than ever before is being produced today, so I'm not sure why you suddenly think that people will have to live without it. I care deeply about music, and I want musicians to succeed. It's why we keep helping them develop smart business models and promoting others who develop smart business models on their own.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Sep 24th, 2009 @ 1:26am

    Re: RE: Re: bingo

    I object to this comment because it is insulting to 14 year old girls like my daughter.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Valkor, Sep 24th, 2009 @ 3:26am

    Lilly Allen blog RIP?

    Either Blogspot is undergoing some kind of major system maintenance, or every post on Lilly Allen's blog has been removed. Does anyone have the original inane posts cached to paste to this thread for future historical reference?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    icon
    LostSailor (profile), Sep 24th, 2009 @ 7:48am

    Re: Re: Choice

    Heh. Funny. I don't recall you complaining that it was 50 Cent's choice to not go after file sharers when Lily scolded him for destroying the music industry in doing so.

    Wonder why.


    Gee, Mike, I must apologize for not making the arguments you want me to make while you ignore the points I raise. Obviously Allen is wrong to say music "can't be free" when it clearly can be (happy now?); but chiding her for making some of her music free and wanting to restrict some it is her choice. You may think it a bad choice, and you may or may not be right, but it is her choice.

    Indeed. But Lily was scolding other artists for offering stuff for free. Is this really that complicated?

    It's not complicated at all. It's ridiculous to say that if someone decides to protect their copyright and their content that they can't use services that others have decided to offer for free. That's why it's a silly point and not close to "dead on."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    icon
    william (profile), Sep 24th, 2009 @ 9:22am

    Re: Re: bingo

    agreed. She's probably being used as pawns and the "poster girl". The real Lily Allen is probably locked up somewhere right now while her "people" writes the blog for her.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    mertz, Sep 24th, 2009 @ 11:48am

    getting caught up on all this lily allen posts. i like it. i wish more artists and consumers would join the discussion, although i would say consumers ahve been at it for quite a while mostly complaining, lol. i haven't even finished reading this but i got to this part and i just felt like throwing up. is she serious with this: 'And goes on to say that not enough people are paying for music, so that's "threatening new music."' did she really in her own words say that because people aren't buying music (that is not free to create...yeah we know that lily...maybe not indept but we know it takes money alteast in the record industry to create something. usually it takes money to buy materials anywhere to create your idea unless you can make it for free but then again that is not the music industry model...or else how would you imagine you getting paid) this is threatening new music. wow. like if people never buy music that means that there will never be any new music because people will stop creating? really? wow. i just gave a huge sigh and started shaking my head. stuff like this is what leads to drinking.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    mertz, Sep 24th, 2009 @ 11:50am

    oh and i think she didn't need to apologize. yeah she was hypocritical but if she didn't realize what she did then there's no need for her to apologizing because it must be nice to just argue and argue and never get anywhere.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    mertz, Sep 24th, 2009 @ 11:55am

    while reading the first question i realized that what i know as new music might not be what she knows as new music...like are there different definitions for music created via record industry and music created by an indie artist with no industry connections (that would be an annomly right, because an artist can't really be completly independent?), and is there a difference from new music created via industry and new music i can create on garage band or pro tools...is it not all new music? is she distinguishing between published via record industry music and music relased over say youtube or the other online mediums or self released ep's...what really does she mean?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    mertz, Sep 24th, 2009 @ 12:06pm

    finished reading the question(will go through all the comments and later on will go to other sites i frequent and see if anyone else is discussing her comments and the responses to her comments)and also went back and reread the 50 cent post and watched the video. i passed it over originally although i saw other blogs talk about it when it happened, and i have to say 50 cent is a smart guy. it doesn't pain me to say that all if it's true.

    good question mike to start the discussion. i found that too, about the fans positing good questions and ideas, while reading the blogs. it's interesting. i saw (will be checking out the new update) that you have a post talking about how she quit the blog. what? did she really remove it...wow. so does that mean she's actually really serious about discussing this without throwing blame? i hope she has some good ideas! i want to know what she has to say. i don't hate her and although she doesn't make much sense, i can't really blame her when my own typing and comprehension skills aren't up to par either.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    mertz, Sep 24th, 2009 @ 12:13pm

    Re: Choice

    so she's free to decide when free f'n works for her but we the consumers can't decide when free works for us too...like her fans just have to be submissive or dependent on what she does because she's the artist or because the reocrd company says so? wow.

    no it's not a silly point about her using BLOGSPOT which is FREE. so she gets to decide when free works for her but when her fans decide or when consumers decide when free works for them they deserve to get kicked off the internets?

    i don't think consumers or artists have unlimited rights and as an artist i would like to be supportive of an artist like her who is stepping out and taking this issue head on and being truthful about what she thinks without edits, but i'm a consumer...i consume free products (legally) and i consumer products at cost. who the hell is she that she's allowed to speack from both orfices and get a pass just because she's lily allen. if you don't condone free then you don't condone free. it's not a gray matter if she's so absolute with her decisions. if she agrees with artists getting monetized credit for creations being used by others, then fine, she better be doing the same thing that she's preaching. i bet and i would bet a lot of money that she has infringed more than once in her life and even sometimes didn't realize it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    mertz, Sep 24th, 2009 @ 12:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Choice

    ha at you sauing 'he thinks it's a bad choice but it's still her choice'. jeez freakig louise. you don't get that lily allen and he position is taking away the choices of users, her fans, consumers. if she doesn't want her choices to be taken away then why is she talking about having people's ip's banned from the internets? why is it okay for her to do free when it suits her but her fans, the consumers, can't do free when THEY WANT TO. i understand everything is in moderation but if she's going to be coming up with absolutes then she better have a freaking good point because she is not saying ANYTHING new. so i hope she has some solid ideas about what to do to make herself money as a musician or market herself as her own brand lily allen because she can come up with ideas. she's just bought in to something that is not going to benifit her in the long run. i mean consumers can't win with free everything all the time, because we live in capitalist socieites, but she can't win with her buying in with old record industry models. it won't work.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    mertz, Sep 24th, 2009 @ 12:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Choice

    and apprently she already knows it because you know what made lily allen a big artist, aside from her talents, her friends and family suppoting her, her local area, her first fans she made contact with, MYSPACE. i used to listen to her on MYSPACE before she even released music in my hemisphere. yet now free is wrong? what is she really talking about...i think she needs to flesh out her position. maybe entering this discussion which is happening everywhere can enlighten her a bit more because now her fans are chiming in with their own views. it's interesting to observe.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    mertz, Sep 24th, 2009 @ 12:36pm

    Re: Mike .... Dude this is so beneath you ....

    i agree with a sister page for tech dirt where people can go to and get direct recount information from people in the industries affecte, music, publishing, other arts and where people from all around the world can comment too. there we can have all the models, the new and the old. it can be a reaseach development area where there are case studies that are pro or con. i think you have something like that here with this main sight and the insight community, but i also think that the commenter is right about getting more people to know about tech dirt. people want to talk about this. it's important. we just need a place.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    wheatus, Sep 25th, 2009 @ 1:25am

    A Positive Future

    It has been the norm, in the music industry of old, for artists to relinquish control over pricing, distribution and accounting/tracking of their royalties.

    It is no longer financially realistic that these things be relinquished and it was never responsible or sustainable, but this is the clash we are seeing now: Artists who are used to checks arriving with little to no real knowledge of or participation in their being compiled and issued, their entrenched expectations, colliding with a fundamental realignment of the marketplace as it pertains to entertainment retail that has almost nothing to do with piracy and everything to do with a more informed public...and the ivory towers have issued a decree to the subjects: "The phantom of piracy will be the scapegoat with which we drum up support for new laws, and the twisting of current ones. By this method we will secure a return to the golden days."

    I wonder what that would have read like were I not watching The Lord Of The Rings whilst typing it?

    brendan b brown
    wheatus.com

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    Stephanie, Sep 25th, 2009 @ 3:55pm

    Re: Lyin' Lilly

    why do you have to make ANY comment about how she looks? that's completely irrelevant to what she's talking about.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Jason, Sep 28th, 2009 @ 6:59am

    Re: Lily Allen

    Lily is throwing a tantrum like a child thinking that people will want her to come back and not leave the music business.

    Lily Allen should do what everyone else is doing and find another job, gain new qualifications or adapt to changes. Using draconian laws to protect your business is stepping out of line. The music industry is no more special than the coal or manufacturing industries that have collapsed and no one is forcing anyone to make music.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    icon
    grannelle (profile), Sep 30th, 2009 @ 5:08am

    Re: Re: Lyin' Lilly

    Sorry, Stephanie, just callin' 'em like I'm seein' 'em.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This