More UK Artists Speak Out About File Sharing, Pro & Con

from the musical-chairs dept

A whole bunch of you keep sending in Lilly Allen’s MySpace blog post about file sharing, and how she thinks it’s bad and destroying the music industry. I’d been avoiding writing much about it, because I didn’t think there was much to say. Despite claiming that she’s not siding with the record labels, she repeats many of the myths that they spread, claiming that their financial troubles are due to piracy, ignoring the fact that even the economists who are employed by the music industry in her native UK admit that the industry is getting bigger. The real issue is that where the dollars go has changed. Allen complains about the “young people” at record labels losing their jobs, but there are plenty of opportunities for them to go out and hook up with more creative labels or online music services. I have nothing against Allen, who I’m sure is sincere in her thoughts, but I think she’s looking at this through a very narrow lens. In fact, at the end, she notes that she’s about to head off on a big tour. I’d bet that an awful lot of the “kids” she scolds in her post who will be attending those shows found out about her via file sharing.

She did a followup post as well, where she posts an email that Matt Bellamy from MUSE sent her, where he notes that:

My current opinion is that file sharing is now the norm. This cannot be changed without an attack on perceived civil liberties which will never go down well.

Unfortunately, from there he goes on to suggest that ISPs should just be taxed and hand over the money to musicians. Again, I can understand why musicians might think this is a good idea, but they haven’t thought through the details, which suggest this is a a very bad idea that will do a lot more harm than good. In the end, the musicians have to stop stomping their feet and demanding change, and start looking at the many, many, many musicians who have learned to embrace file sharing, by wrapping a smart business model around it.

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Comments on “More UK Artists Speak Out About File Sharing, Pro & Con”

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DJ (profile) says:

ISP Charge --- Confusion

Let us assume for one brief moment that the musicians do get their way and get ISPs taxed. Let’s take a look at what is really “pirated” on the Internet.

– Software. So does this mean that the BSA gets a tax as well? They could probably claim a bigger amount than the RIAA because of the higher cost of software vs. songs.
– MPAA. Once again, a popular item. Let’s give them a tax as well.
– Book Publishers? Yeah, I can see them getting some money as well.
– Magazines? Ditto.
– Porn Industry. Let’s face it, they started the VCR revolution and they had a big impact on the Internet. They deserve some money.

What about foreign interests? Japanese anime gets bootlegged a lot. We should tax and give them some money as well. Foreign movies? Foreign music?

I’m thinking, to be fair, we should charge based on Internet usage. For every 100MB you download you should be taxed $1 regardless of what you downloaded. Now, we all know that people are going to go to work to download their music / porn / movies / books so we have to make sure that every business gets charged this same rate as well, regardless of whether you are the government, charity or other type of org.

Matthew Cruse (profile) says:

Re: ISP Charge --- Confusion

Great Plan, Let’s tax everybody and then give the money to everybody else. DJ, I absolutely agree with you, but Ithink you left out a few parasites:
Government-They are the gatekeepers therefore they get a piece of the fee
CD/DVD Manufacturers-they are losing money so they need to be subsidized
Teachers-they get a piece for spreading the propaganda

You know this is starting to sound eerily familiar, like some books I once read. something about pigs, and Marx, and everyone being equal and the supremacy of the state. Can’t quite put my finger on it.

Dwight Spitz (user link) says:

Business Models

Internet is a promotional tool, these “tools” with their stupid ideas about how to and who to tax what and what not,

just shut up and puke back recombinant musical ideas that your pasting together from other bands your not paying for the inspiration to cop, thieve, steal, barely tweak, these people don’t even name drop well their influences,

anyway, follow, radiohead and trent and figure this out by offering that which can’t be reporduced binarily.

Cause that’s all there is to it, nothing will work, you can’t isolate oxygen out of a water tap and put it in a container without a lot of complex immobile tools, same goes with internet.

so lily tours, insults, laughs, cries and fantasizes about yonathan ross and muse imitates radiohead if they were more into metal and less into idm, and the world continues to spin.

better than most deserve,


just this guy says:

From Lily's page

The Guys at P2Pnet news also point out that Lily promotes mixing.

That’s right, folks, the same woman who is busily slagging the perceived evils of ‘internet piracy’ on her blog and cozying up to entertainment-industry lackeys in the British government is also frantically trying to cash in on the very ‘remix culture’ she wants to kill.

scarr (profile) says:

Taxing internet usage

The biggest problem with taxing internet usage is you’ll be charging people for legitimate, legal usage as well. Downloading from iTunes would cost as much extra as downloading an illegal file. Plus, telling people they’re “paying for” the content through the tax would make people feel justified in “pirating” the files, so they’d have to give up any “legit” sales model. I’m not at all knowledgeable about economics, but that basic fact was covered in the first chapter of Freakanomics, for goodness sakes.

I’m shocked that someone as big into conspiracy theories as Matt Bellamy wants the government to do more to control the public.

Anonymous Coward says:

“File Sharing” has a such nice ring to it, even if the ring is “hollow” and the word “sharing” a misnomer.

There are instances where “sharing” is apt, but I hardly believe it applies whenever illegally secured copies are illegally distributed to the world at large. I call this “stealing” notwithstanding all the contrarians who resort to legalisms that appear to help salve their guilt over breaking the law.

Ciara says:

I don’t think filesahring killing off the shitty pop bands. In fact it’s making them more successfull than decent bands. I think the idea that stealing from artists is ok is very selfish. Are you saying that it’s ok for a band to put their heart and soul into making a record that they don’t make any moeny from.

I like Matt Bellamys idea of making filesharing ok as long as the ISPs pay tax on the donwnloads so that smaller artists actually stand a chance.

Ro says:


Stop me if I’m wrong here but isn’t the music industry fabulously wealthy. I may be getting confused. I thought the music industry had so much wealth that it compared to the catholic church 500 years ago. I think that’s right. I could have got the wrong end of the stick. No I don’t think I did.

And there complaining because their ridiculously obscene amount of wealth isn’t enough? Isn’t that a bit distasteful when there are people in the world that don’t even have 7 meals a week? Should people get millions of pounds for doing what most people think of as an enjoyable hobby? I’m pretty certain that there is an ethical conundrum here and I don’t think it is about the ethical considerations of the filesharer.

Anonymous Coward says:

“Stop me if I’m wrong here…”

I plan to.

“And there complaining because their ridiculously obscene amount of wealth isn’t enough? Isn’t that a bit distasteful when there are people in the world that don’t even have 7 meals a week?”

Yes, it is distasteful. Anyone with extraneous money they don’t immediately apply to the betterment of the world’s less fortunate is inherently distasteful. By “extraneous” I mean any and all money left after paying for food and shelter. Do you donate all your extraneous money to the people who don’t even have “7 meals a week”, Ro?

Do you?

If not, feel free to charitably deposit your hypocritical viewpoint up your hypocritical ass.

The middle class and the upper class both have money that they would rather spend on handbags, big tv’s and overpriced coffee. While the numbers in their bank accounts may be different, the greed and indifference to the plight of the world’s starving is very much the same.

Unless you have forsaken all worldly possessions, you have no room to talk.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Silly artist .....

“from there he goes on to suggest that ISPs should just be taxed and hand over the money to musicians.”

This is another one that should be pushed through. For a very simple reason … People will then feel that they are entitled to download pirated music online, reducing sales through legit site, and speeding the demise of the middle men.

One question though … if this tax is implemented, does that mean no more lawsuits from the record industry?

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