U2's Manager Says No Business Models Work… But Kicking People Off The Internet Will?
from the confusion dept
A bunch of folks have been sending in the opinion piece in the Guardian written by U2’s manager Paul McGuinness expressing strong support for France’s approval of a three strikes law (ignoring, conveniently, that the law was passed using trickery, telling everyone the vote would happen at a later date, waiting to most elected officials had left, and then passing the law with a vote when only a few people were still around). This isn’t a huge surprise, because McGuinness has gone around (loudly) blaming everyone else for the problems in the recording industry (while reaping the rewards of the more than $300 million that U2 brings in per year). So, it’s no surprise that he’s in favor of laws that puts the onus on others to somehow fix the business model problems he’s unwilling to fix. But some of his comments deserve a response:
There are a few simple reasons why the new law deserves strong support. First, the crisis in our music community is real. A generation of artists, all over France, and further afield, are seeing their livelihoods destroyed, their career ambitions stolen. Investment that should help them build careers is draining out of the industry. This isn’t just a shift in the business model from recorded to live music. It’s a catastrophe for all the business models, old and new. It is a myth that artists can build long-term careers on live music alone….
There are clearly people who oppose the new law, but I have not heard of any viable economic alternative to the system now being introduced, committing ISPs to helping protect copyright. The only other proposals offered look like solutions produced for the laboratory, not for the market place.
That’s odd. For someone who claims he’s “followed this debate closely” for him to claim that this is a catastrophe for all business models. After all, every single other business related to music has been doing amazingly well. And, we’ve gone through example after example after example after example of it working in “the marketplace” rather than “the laboratory.” And we’ve discussed how it works for bands small, mid-sized and large — and works in ways that has allowed them to make more money than they could have in the past. So, for him to claim that those business models don’t exist or don’t work is simply wrong. Furthermore, he pulls a sleight of hand by pretending that the only other business model is “live music.” However, as we’ve seen live music is one business model that works, but not the only one.
But the key thing, is that McGuinness is confusing protection with a business model. He talks about all the problems with business models, and then seems to jump to the conclusion that kicking people off the internet will suddenly make people buy music again — as if he can suddenly turn back the clock. Kicking people off the internet doesn’t make them feel better about your product. It doesn’t make people more comfortable giving money to the recording industry — it makes them pissed off and eager to spend their money elsewhere.
It’s the exact opposite of a business model. It’s a “piss your customers off” model.
Meanwhile, the business models that work (the same ones McGuinness is apparently ignorant of) are all about the opposite: they’re about appealing to your customers, connecting with them, building up a relationship and trust. McGuinness, instead, prefers to treat them all as criminals. He shouldn’t be surprised when they respond with anger rather than money.