BBC Accedes To Record Label Whining

from the waaaaaaaaaah dept

The BBC pissed off a slew of record labels when it put all nine of Beethoven’s symphonies online for people to download earlier in the year. You’d think the labels would be grateful that the BBC was turning new audiences on to classical music, but, of course, the labels thought otherwise, completely missing the point of the downloads — which even included introductory explanations before each symphony to help people learn about them. The BBC is planning to play 10 straight days of Bach’s music next month on one of its stations, and it’s succumbed to the record labels’ whining (registration required), and won’t offer complete downloads, if it offers any downloads at all. The British record-label trade group was upset that the BBC had offered the Beethoven downloads without consulting them, and it’s unclear either why it’s any of their business, or why they think it so damaged their business. While the symphonies were downloaded 1.4 million times, just 17% of the downloads were from the UK, and in any case, probably had a positive impact on record sales. Plenty of recordings of Beethoven’s symphonies were available before the downloads, and there was nothing stopping people from buying them. Although the entertainment industry likes to inflate its loss claims and assumes that every download equals a lost sale, it’s not the case. What’s more likely is that people that never would have bought a Beethoven CD downloaded the recordings, and either decided they weren’t interested, or decided they liked what they were hearing and became a fan — a new fan that might buy another classical recording sometime. The assumption that because somebody will download something for free means they’d pay for it were the free download not available is completely bogus. Record labels repeating it over and over won’t make it true.

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Comments on “BBC Accedes To Record Label Whining”

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Tim (user link) says:

Re: if the labels don't own the rights to the reco

If the BBC is offering-up their IP (as surely they may well be, since the BBC does play lots of artists’ recordings) *and in not such a way as agreed with the companies*, *then* they might have a valid point.

However, they still have a right to broadcast, and I still have a right to time-shift, so the record-companies can just STFU whinging, sit back and enjoy the way Radio 3 always announces even what label a given recording of a work is on, and treat it as fair publicity.

crystalattice (profile) says:

This is utterly absurd

The music has been around for hundreds of years. I can’t honestly see any IP that can be claimed, unless the BBC used a CD to post the music files. However, being the BBC, they probably own their own copies of the music and posted them.

If that’s the case, then the music companies can’t say a bloody thing. AAMOF, that brings up a question I have: if you own a recording that the copyright has expired on, say an original 75rpm record, can you legally post the song on the ‘net? I’m sure the record companies will say no, but can they legally stop you?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: This is utterly absurd

My thoughts exactly. This music has been around for a long time and how can people claim to own it. I think what they are talkinga bout is the specific group who played the music. However it would not be difficult to find an orchestra that would be willing to play some Beethoven and have their music downloaded. It would get the word out about them.

Newob says:

Re: Re: Re: Musicians unite!

For thousands of years, nobody owned music; bards and bands and so forth could only make money from live performances, or by the generosity of philanthropists. Since the dawn of phonography, claims to ownership come to serve big companies more and more, and musicians less and less. The only solution now is for artists to release recordings of their music freely so that the real pirates, the record companies, will “own” an increasingly narrow selection of recorded music.

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