Bono Agrees With Manager: ISPs Are To Blame For The Downfall Of Music

from the blame-the-enabler dept

About a month ago, we wrote about how Paul McGuinness, the manager of U2, was repeating an earlier rant blaming pretty much everyone but the recording industry for the recording industry's troubles. Basically, the rant could be summed up:
All of these other companies actually had the foresight to see where the market was heading with digital music, and they built up businesses that made money! The actual recording industry, however, did not foresee any of this, did not build up the business models -- and, in fact, stuck to the old, increasingly obsolete business model so stubbornly that it actually pissed off many fans. Therefore, it's clearly the fault of those who accurately prepared for the changing marketplace, and they should give lots of money to the companies that deliberately chose to ignore these trends.
Well, that may be a bit of a paraphrase, but I think it's pretty close.

Anyway, despite him ranting on in such a misguided fashion for quite some time, U2's Bono has been too busy saving the world to weigh in on the matter... until now. Valleywag points us to the news that Bono has written a letter to NME Magazine, where he, too, claims that it's all the fault of these damn ISPs and tech companies building real business models that make the market for music more efficient and open up all these new opportunities to profit. However, he does choose to contradict his manager on one point: arguing that McGuinness is wrong to claim that Radiohead's experiment with pay-what-you-want for music backfired and hurt the industry. Bono claims that the experiment was "courageous and imaginative." The same, however, cannot be said for all those tech companies that actually enabled that courageous and imaginative experiment to take place. They're obviously just exploiting the musicians.

Filed Under: blame, bono, copyright, music, u2


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  1. identicon
    SteveD, 2 Jul 2008 @ 1:58am

    A bit unfair on Bono?

    After reading Bono's letter I can't help but think Mike has gone off on a tangent with this one.

    The theme of the letter is clearly to defend the Radiohead experiment going as far as to call it "imaginative and courageous". The impression I got was that U2 was very much in the 'pro-change' camp rather then the 'lets sue all our fans' camp.

    But more importantly it’s a huge exaggeration to interpret Bono's description of tech companies as 'disturbing' as 'exploiting musicians'.

    It’s fairly common for ISPs in the UK to over-sell their capacity and use traffic shaping to throttle the high-demand customers through peak periods. As much as I appreciate my ISP not jumping on the ‘3-strikes’ bandwagon, I know it’s not for concern of my personal welfare. ISPs like high-usage customers because they get to charge them for high-bandwidth connections they rarely achieve, and unlimited monthly capacities. They make a huge amount of money from filesharing, illegal or otherwise.

    Now as much as I normally enjoy Mikes commentary, for an artist to look at an artistic industry failing at the expense of a technology industry and call it ‘disturbing’ isn’t that unreasonable at all.

    It’s a shame that one sentence taken to an extreme has overshadowed the rest of the letter, because without it I’ve no doubt Mike would be praising the guy for supporting positive solutions to the recording industries ills.

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