If File Sharing Is Killing The UK Music Industry… Why Is The UK Music Industry Growing?

from the damn-those-pesky-facts dept

Lily Allen, who last we saw was copying Techdirt to convince the world that copying was bad (it’s bad!) and destroying the industry, has been trying to get some other UK musicians to speak up on her behalf as well. Singer James Blunt took the the UK’s Times Online to speak out in support of Lily and kicking fans offline. His reasoning is quite puzzling, however:

The world over, people are stealing music in its millions in the form of illegal file-sharing. It’s easy to do, and has become accepted by many, but people need to know that it is destroying people’s livelihoods and suffocating emerging British artists.

The music business is made up of thousands of jobbing musicians, producers, mixers and engineers creating and shaping popular music and culture, but illegal file-sharing is cutting off the income from their work. Without the revenue from established artists, record labels cannot fund emerging musicians. They’ll just re-master the Beatles albums again, because they can’t afford to put an amazing new band into a studio to record something that may surpass Sergeant Pepper.

Now, considering how long file sharing has been popular, you might think we’d be seeing some effect by now, right? Except that the music industry’s own economists in the UK recently did a study where they noted that the music industry has been growing. That’s because it’s easier and cheaper to create, promote and distribute music — and that’s opened up many new avenues for making money. So how is it killing the industry? Only in the minds of a few who don’t know the facts.

Blunt goes on to support Peter Mandelson’s plan to kick people off the internet for file sharing, without bothering to explain how that’s likely to get people to want to keep giving money to musicians.

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Comments on “If File Sharing Is Killing The UK Music Industry… Why Is The UK Music Industry Growing?”

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Misanthopist (profile) says:


Obviously another moron created by the labels for the labels dishing out verbatim what the labels want them to say.

Grats on being a lemming!

Oh, and before Ms. Allen and Mr. Blunt go full on wiht their “war on fans” they may wish to check and see how well that strategy worked for Mr. Ulrich.

The Race to Obscurity is on!

Dallas clarke says:

File sharing needs tobe banned, simple as, the music industry may be growing but up and coming artists need to fund themselfs and how can they do that when there music is being donwloaded for free???? you say its gets them fans which is awesome but on the same note they them have no funding to gig or produce more music for the fans

scarr (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Saying new artists need to fund themselves to make a record, but can’t because their music is downloaded freely is contradictory. How did they make the music that is being downloaded if they can’t fund it?

Does nobody understand how to live without credit (which is basically what a record label offers) anymore? You earn money and save up for the next piece of equipment or studio time or whatever else. If you aren’t making the money by music alone, then you do something else to supplement your income. You build your band like you would any other business.

TheStupidOne says:

Re: Re:

But who will buy their CD without hearing them first?

I’m not going to just buy a random CD I see in a store. I’ll buy at a show, on the recommendation of a friend, or from a group I already like.

You want to know how to get started making money and playing gigs without selling CDs? Why don’t you try making a recording on the cheap by asking to play at a local pub with an open mic night. Have a friend in the audience making a recording. give away all that music to as many people as will listen. If you are good you will be able to be invited to a paying gig. If you aren’t you go practice or quit. No group is entitled to a career in music, but if you build a fan base you’ll be able to make money assuming you have at least half a brain inside your head.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re:

coming artists need to fund themselfs and how can they do that when there music is being donwloaded for free????

Most (would be) professional musicians will struggle regardless of the copyright/piracy/business model regime. The reason is simple. The supply of willing amateurs is effectively infinite so if the economic climate became more favourable to musicians all that would happen is that a few more would enter the profession and the balance would be restored.

mertz says:

Re: Re:

i don’t understand why people don’t get what is happening. it’s as clear as day, everyone but these suits and those opposed to change get it because we are all consumers. people love music. people love media, meduims, etc…people don’t want to be gouged for their participation in this capitalist consumer structure. for a long time these industries have leveraged everything they can over consumers without any reprucussion and now things have changed. the internet is a double edged sword of greatness and also great evil. i mostly think it’s good, but i can’t close my eyes to all the bad things that happen online. the internet has allowed consumers to have a voice against industries. these same industries who would do things mostly in their benefit without consulting the consumers or fans or followers because we were secondary and unecessary. now apparently consumers are important because the model of many industries are broken/need to be revamped or recreated.

people like free stuff, but people also like to buy. people look at these two aspects as opposing but they are actually very similar and can be applied simotaneously. people will buy things that are free (offer money/value for something of value to them)if what the product is necessary, good, or of high quality. people will also buy things that are scarce which provides a limited value on a product. i think people like to call these freemiums, free preemiums, but i think it’s closer to a paypal system or a barter system. these new models/old ideas that have to be revisited are cross combinations that need to be applied to these old dying models from these industries. the days of gouging consumers (even if consumers are also at fault for buying into bs advertising) is almost over. it will reappear in a new format but not right now because there is a wave of change that is against the traditional, or what these artists or industries know and have preached, regurgitated and meomrized as the traditional. things are changing and i for one thing it’s about time that people just embrace the differences.

people will buy things from you if you are a new artist if you know what you are doing. you can build a community. you can market yourself. you can depend on friends and family to keep your name in the public. you can make valuable connections to get your name out there. the best way to get people to support you though is to hone whatever craft you have and then make it known that you are here. showcase yourself and your talent. be good. don’t be afraid to be bad because time will help with improvement, but you cannot rely on just simple talent alone in these days. you have to play shows. you have to tour. you have to create limited merchandise or products of interest with value for your fans. you have to be approachable and be communicative. you have to be able to provide free products to garner interest and a following and then entice your fans into buying from you because you are worth their money. you don’t need to be manipulative the way you go from free to premium and move to freemiums, but you need to make sure that you have a plan of not being free and bootleg forever. you have to be a professional bootleg, meaning you need to be aware that you will have free products in the market but you will also be charging for products. you have to have a plan to be scalable. you have to have a short term, mid term, long term plan (s).

i think that although the challenges are harder if it’s just you doing everything for yourself and your brand or business, it’s not without failt, but that the way that things are changing is actually in the favour of artists to be even more creative. i think this is an example of the survival of species and darwin’s heirarchyy theory. the people with the know how’s will survive this before new models are clacified and implemented. i think it’s entirely possible to do it the way mike and others have been advising. what’s sad is that these industries, paper industry, entertainment industry, seem to like holding on to the old way even though they know and are aware of what is going on around them. people like lily allen would do better if they would think up of interesting ways to engage their fans and provide products of value so that consumers like me will buy. i have always been a thinking consumer and i don’t buy on impulse. i don’t spend a lot of money but that doesn’t mean i don’t spend any money. i buy cd’s sometimes from band i like and i buy merch from bands i like. i support local artists and i attend local shows. what i don’t appreciate is being makreted to like i’m a bot that doesn’t know anything and will buy the shit lying on the curbside. i’m sorry that the internet and consumers are cutting so deeply into all these established industries but i always thought a time will come, and i for one as an artist am glad it’s here. it’s a challegne i welcome gladly. people who cannot adapt should not be in this game of gaming systems and trying to create a profession out of passion. if you don’t have passion and vision about your profession then maybe it would be better to be in another industry and not in entertainment or information. if seen musicians who have gone from being local to being national to being worldwide. it didn’t take them a blink of the eye. it took lots and lots of hard work for many years to build that fan base. it’s not impossible. some of these comments make it seem like the world is ending because of the internet and file sharing. people were sharing and ripping music even before napster, kazaa, limewire and all these other programs. i think it’s an excuse really and i hope people just get over that part and maybe look to solutions because laying blame and whining is not cool.

hmm says:

So James blunt is against copying other peoples music.

Well (for me at least) a good 3/4 of his stuff resembles a cross between a whiny teenager not getting what he wants, and a cat thats just had his tom-parts (if thats a word) caught on the spike of the neighbours fence!…does this mean my cat (and any nearby angsty teenagers) can sue the pants off him?

Lonzo5 (profile) says:

Same old story

Wait, doesn’t it cost exactly zero (0) dollars, pounds, euros, etc. to cut a record which surpasses Sgt. Pepper (which I love dearly and eagerly await generation y’s answer to) in one’s very own garage [provided that one has placed oneself in a material position to do so through hard work and dedication to one’s craft, much like the Beatles themselves]? Is it not true that musicians are more empowered than ever? I say down with the record industry. It both catered to and exploited an inherent human need which, like so many others, had become industrialized only out of transient necessity; having outlived its usefulness, it should’ve had its feeding tube yanked at the earliest opportunity. For a number of obvious, pathetic reasons, that failed to happen, and now we’re stuck with a seething, bloated beast which appears to regard its clients and their customers with baseless enmity. We must stand back and watch this tyrant choke on its mouthful– this intolerable situation must end. My advice to up-and-coming musicians is as follows: Get a “real” job (or play a buttload of shows) and make things happen for yourself. I know it’s painful, but please realize that the record industry is not here to help anybody, and the only way they can make up for the shortcomings of their business model is through the threat of force– Great, if you want your fans to hate you. Set up a Twitter or something. Now is the time to do something new. Let “thieves” “steal” your music– they’ll tell all their deep-pocketed friends if it’s any good, and they probably weren’t planning on buying it anyway, so there’s really no reason to cry to nanny RIAA. I pay for all of the media I consume, but I encourage anyone who’s willing to take the risk to PIRATE PIRATE PIRATE!!! If the industry’s really being hurt by this, at least you’ll be doing some good.

Anonymous Coward says:

How artists can make music competing with free?

Unless artists don’t know how to learn there is some alternatives:

– Use the software that todays is like a studio in a PC and burn your own albums and put it to play everywhere.

– Create fans using services like “sellaband” or “slicethepie” that will find funds for that matter with your fans.

– Sign up with a label, copying on the internet has not diminish the capacity of anyone to sell anything if these is not true the iTunes store should never had happened, spotify should not be there, Hulu, netflix and others should not be able to be in the market but they are.

– Find a second job and make it as a hobby.

The only thing that changed from the radio era is that artists are in panic because the labels mislead them into it. People didn’t pay for radio before and artists did well anyways, the same is with the internet people still will go buy stuff.

Lisae Boucher (profile) says:

Recreational Drugs...

I wonder what’s worse for the music industry, the illegal copying of their music or those record labels who just refuse to take any actions against artists who seem to enjoy certain recreational drugs. When these artists are talking about powdering their noses, they’re really inserting certain powders in their noses!
Lily Allen might be an okay artist and the same can be said about Amy Winehouse. Michael Jackson was a Great Artist, yet he went down due to a lot of drug abuse. And I wonder why they’re even using that poison.

Now, it could be that these artists choose for this themselves. But it’s more likely that people related to those record labels are actually making it easier for these artists to become addicted. Why? Because it’s easier to control someone when they are addicted! They’re prepared to do anything just to satisfy their own addiction and record labels know this. I’m not going to suggest that record labels are turning artists into addicts on purpose. But I do know that addictions are very good for their business plans.

How does this relate to this story? Well, it’s the double morale, of course. Certain artists are addicted to illegal drugs but are very open about this. Other artists are often visible in public, completely drunk or stoned, yet everyone considers them to be the perfect role models for our youth. And while Lily Allen did do something dubious by violating Techdirt’s copyright to make her own point in protecting her own copyright, I think it’s far worse when she displays herself again in public, drunk and half-naked, being photographed in a transparent dress with no underwear, for example. I have no problems with nudity so if that’s what she wants to do, fine. But some people take offense of such behavior, especially in locations where such behavior is inappropriate. If you want to be nude, do like me and go to a nudist resort. If you’re going to party, put on some underwear. And when you’re protecting copyright, don’t ignore someone else’s copyrights!

Anonymous Coward says:

Internet filesharing is the new radio!

Radio, cassette tapes, mix tapes, CDR’s, VCR and other technologies didn’t destroy the music industry and the internet sure will not.

It is not only in the U.K. in the U.S. sales for digital content grew too, what really is declining is CD sales but lets be realists here you don’t see anyone carrying a discman around anymore do you?

It will hurt the industry?
Maybe, those who like windows systems will suffer because there is no way to maintain windows and scale profits in a vertical manner, but it will destroy the industry? of course not and maybe the substitute for the windows system is tiered quality delivery systems. Music today is a bait as it was in the radio era performers didn’t make any money from it in the U.S. until recently and fans are just fans that will take whatever they can get free or otherwise.

In the new digital age, I’m feeling more and more that a distinction between private behavior and commercial behavior must be done to make things clear. It’s absurd to me that the law criminalizes a vast portion of the population and I don’t feel the law reflects society in this instance and should be changed to reflect that. Sharing is not a commercial enterprise is what normal people do and are taught from birth to do and even instinctively, people are not after money when they do it, they want easy of use and filesharing was the most practical way to do it, I don’t use it anymore and have been years since I last used any P2P system to listen to music in todays world I just go to youtube and search for the songs I would want to hear but recently I’m using Jamendo because it forces the artist to use a liberal license to play the songs there. I changed the way I listen to music because of all of this, today I look for liberal licenses or else I don’t even bother to listen anymore.

I’m an annoyed costumer that will not buy anything that comes with ridiculous licenses anymore and feel that the law is not right and should be changed to reflect and say in no uncertain terms that there is a limit to what copyright holders can ask from society. I would like the law to say that private non-commercial actions are not passive to be included in the rights that copyright give to people. This is the public domain being invaded by commercial interests that are encroaching on our rights and should not be tolerated and even if things calm down I still want to see change.

The parallel here is that when the software industry got obnoxious people created a new system and it will happen to music if you start annoying people. They just will ignore those people and find new ways to get what they want and this means hopefully more people will start using services like Jamendo that force artist to use liberal licenses instead of letting them threat everybody.

whome says:

I think it’s pretty funny that these lowlife artists, and trust me, I use the term lightly, seem to think that the millions they are making isn’t enough.

There used to be a time when an artist made art cos they liked doing it, they even suffered for it and barely made a living in most cases.

I wonder how much money this wanker Blunt made and why he thinks it’s not enough. Same goes for sport figures and models and actors. They should get paid a modest hourly wage for the actual job they do and that is it, non of this $100 million to star in a movie or sign a music contract. If you think that is somehow unfair, join the unemployment line, your talents are not unique and you will be easily replaced.

Gene Cavanaugh (profile) says:


As I have said before, I don’t understand the current obsession the US has for extraneous stuff – I think it shows why the rest of the world is overtaking us, to be truthful. Why are we so obsess by Idle Americans (oops, American Idols) and other trivia?

Even so, in any industry, if all non-mainstream avenues are suppressed, the mainstream stagnates. Despite all the nonsense to the contrary, ANY company would rather simply keep producing the same-old, same-old rather than risk something new.

So, without file sharing (or other freedoms the founding fathers attempted to put in the Constitution) we end up with these choices, essentially:

The Beatles, or The Beatles, or The Beatles – nothing else.

snowqueen says:


I am not in the music industry and know little about the structure of it, but it seems clear to me that file sharing will adversely affect CD sales – hence the revenue of record labels – and in turn the amount of funds they have to launch new artists. This domino affect on the industry as a whole trickles down to the end-user – us – who enjoy listening to the songs and music that their existing artists produce as well as being introduced to their new artist’s material. However, I think it’s fair to say that record companies need plenty of disposable income to launch and support new artists – and very soon I don’t think they will have enough to invest in new talent. Sad for everyone.

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