Industry Study Says Recording Industry Should Embrace Piracy… Sorta
from the not-quite dept
Slashdot points us to the news that a new study, by the MCPS-PRS Alliance, which represents music rights holders, and Big Champagne, a company that measures file sharing activity claims that the music industry should embrace piracy rather than continuing to fight it. Specifically, it points to the success of Radiohead’s “name your own price” promotion, and the fact that the music was still widely available on BitTorrent, even though you could download it for free from Radiohead’s own site. This, the study’s authors, suggest, show that stopping piracy has little correlation to “success.” That’s not a surprising finding as plenty of previous reports have shown the same thing. In fact, albums that are considered a success tend to have a lot more unauthorized file sharing than those that are not. It’s not hard to understand why, either: popularity is popularity.
Slashdot highlights the fact that this is a study done by the music industry itself, suggesting that maybe the industry is open to changing its strategy. But, that’s not quite accurate. The “music industry” is made up of made different parts, with very different motivations. The two players who did this study are both angling for different benefits. Big Champagne has been around for years, and has established itself as the sort of “go to” player for the industry in monitoring file sharing. The more the industry embraces file sharing, the more business Big Champagne gets. As for the MCPS-PRS Alliance — that represents songwriters, composers and publishers — not necessarily the labels. MCPS-PRS is looking to establish a new set of draconian compulsory licensing system, where you could still make use of file sharing, but where it would (perhaps with Big Champagne’s help) get paid for every download through some sort of system, whether sharing in the ad revenue or through subscription fees. This is the deal it’s already worked out with Google’s YouTube, even though it’s unclear what legal basis there is for such an agreement.
So, this study is hardly the “music industry” embracing file sharing, but a very biased part of that industry trying to push the rest of the industry towards compulsory licenses and an effective “music tax” on file sharing.