Say That Again

by Mike Masnick


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



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.

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  1. identicon
    SomeLittleGuy, 9 Jul 2008 @ 2:23pm

    Re: Gettin Paid

    I'd like to preface my comment by saying that I do listen to the radio. Aside from that I have neither purchased for my own purposes nor downloaded (in any medium) any music in many years. It is purely out of disgust for the music industry and RIAA and "the industry".

    I work very hard every day at my job. I frequently work 60+ hours in agiven week. I expect to get paid for that work. I create content all day long. But once that content is created, I don't get paid for it anymore. It doesn't matter how many times it gets reprinted, emailed, forwarded. I get paid for the time I put in to creating it. Just like many of us do. If someone came in, copied my report, and then turned it into my boss and claimed it was his work, thus getting me fired (ie, taking the value of what i did) I would be furious and rightfully so. But thats not what happens with the RIAA.

    Someone writes a song. They may spend a day or a week or a month writing it (doubtfull they spend a full 40 hour week for more than a week writing just 1 song, but lets just say that they do for humors sake). They get paid for that time worked, that seems reasonable. Then they take that song to some singer and they spend a few hours in the studio recording the song. I think they should get paid for the time they spent in the studio.

    The studio then takes it and remixes it. I think the producer should get paid for mixing it, the building owner for letting them use the space, etc.

    Then they advertise the item and sell the product. Company pays to market the Cd's and to print them and to distribute them. They should be paid for that effort for every CD sold.

    See a pattern here? Actual work happens, a service is rendered, and you are recompensated for it.

    But what actually happens is, the singer spends a few hours in the studio. And then gets paid for every CD that gets sold, every time someone sings the song, and apparently now if the RIAA has their way, every time someone walks within earshot of a radio. They're still sitting on the couch. They aren't producing that song anymore, they aren't even promoting it. They're getting ready to sing the next song that someone else wrote. It's not sour grapes. I understand the economy. But as cheesy as it is, the old RIAA inspired southpark episode making fun of how much money they didn't make is about what it amounts to. I don't feel they deserve all this money they're crying about. Now, I don't think theft is right. But I do feel they're overpaid.

    Unfortunately, being overpaid is not a crime. All I can do is continue to not support them by not listening to their music, waiting till movies come out on TV or when a friend buys it on DVD (or atleast until SAG petitions to require owners of DVD players to buy licenses to seat people in their homes to watch DVD's).

    My biggest problem with calling downloading music "theft" is that the companies didn't have to transport that copy of the music. They "copy" of that song was not made at the expense of the music label, it was made digitally when the song was downloaded (so really the person downloading it was burdening the cost of the hardware/electricity IE manufacturing). There was no transport cost for that copy, there was no cost to the RI for making it, and the musician was already paid for their time in the studio. So, I feel that sueing because people don't have to pay to listen to that copy is somewhat similar to the Car Industry suing people who carpool. They're riding in someone elses car, they should have had to buy their OWN car. That's theft.

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