U2's Manager Lashes Out Yet Again: Blames Absolutely Everyone For Not Making U2 Even Wealthier
from the let's-try-this-again dept
Back in January, U2’s longtime manager, Paul McGuinness went off on a bit of a rant, blaming ISPs and pretty much any internet company for destroying the music business. His points were easily debunked — especially coming off the fact that U2 had just completed a year in which it made $355 million on touring — and I’d bet that a fair portion of that came from folks who listened to U2 mp3s they didn’t pay for. Apparently, McGuinness chose not to read any or understand any of the criticism towards his position, because five months later, he’s back again, blaming absolutely everyone but the recording industry for the industry’s own failure to adapt (found via Mathew Ingram who makes some excellent points in responding to McGuinness). So who does he blame?
“Cable operators, ISPs, device manufacturers, P2P software companies — companies that have used music to drive vast revenues from broadband subscriptions and from advertising.”
Uh huh. So let me ask McGuinness this: if all of those other companies benefited from the music industry — is he willing to also concede that the music industry benefited from some of them as well? The radio industry, for years, has helped promote the recording industry. Does he believe the recording industry is morally obligated to pay the radio industry? The internet has made it so much easier to create, distribute and promote music. Does McGuinness believe that musicians have a moral obligation to pay some portion of their own proceeds to these firms who have made that all work? I wonder why not.
McGuinness seems totally oblivious to the idea that there are such things as complementary goods, and the fact that an externality from one market may impact another market doesn’t also include a moral obligation for payment. This is really the same problem we’ve seen over and over again, where content creators overvalue the contribution of the content, and totally undervalue (or sometimes negatively value) the contribution of the platform. Cable operators, ISPs, device manufacturers, P2P software companies have all worked quite hard to make music so much more useful to individuals.
What McGuinness is really admitting, is that everyone else (including U2, by the way) has figured out how to make good money off of music being free. It’s just the recording industry that hasn’t figured it out. So, clearly, there is tremendous economic value in music being free. The fact that the recording industry is unwilling to come up with ways to capture some of that value (and they don’t deserve all of it) is no one’s fault other than the recording industry’s.