Industry Study Says Recording Industry Should Embrace Piracy... Sorta

from the not-quite dept

Slashdot points us to the news that a new study, by the MCPS-PRS Alliance, which represents music rights holders, and Big Champagne, a company that measures file sharing activity claims that the music industry should embrace piracy rather than continuing to fight it. Specifically, it points to the success of Radiohead's "name your own price" promotion, and the fact that the music was still widely available on BitTorrent, even though you could download it for free from Radiohead's own site. This, the study's authors, suggest, show that stopping piracy has little correlation to "success." That's not a surprising finding as plenty of previous reports have shown the same thing. In fact, albums that are considered a success tend to have a lot more unauthorized file sharing than those that are not. It's not hard to understand why, either: popularity is popularity.

Slashdot highlights the fact that this is a study done by the music industry itself, suggesting that maybe the industry is open to changing its strategy. But, that's not quite accurate. The "music industry" is made up of made different parts, with very different motivations. The two players who did this study are both angling for different benefits. Big Champagne has been around for years, and has established itself as the sort of "go to" player for the industry in monitoring file sharing. The more the industry embraces file sharing, the more business Big Champagne gets. As for the MCPS-PRS Alliance -- that represents songwriters, composers and publishers -- not necessarily the labels. MCPS-PRS is looking to establish a new set of draconian compulsory licensing system, where you could still make use of file sharing, but where it would (perhaps with Big Champagne's help) get paid for every download through some sort of system, whether sharing in the ad revenue or through subscription fees. This is the deal it's already worked out with Google's YouTube, even though it's unclear what legal basis there is for such an agreement.

So, this study is hardly the "music industry" embracing file sharing, but a very biased part of that industry trying to push the rest of the industry towards compulsory licenses and an effective "music tax" on file sharing.

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  • identicon
    Wesha, 5 Aug 2008 @ 8:25am

    It took them only about six years to realize that! That's certainly a progress!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), 5 Aug 2008 @ 8:49am

    The Music Tax

    Now I didn't click through so I did not see if they are specifically suggesting a music tax in this case.
    However, from a group that will be aiming for that, I have to say that the idea of the music tax either be it by downloads, or some stupid tax on the ISPs, is a horribly wrong direction.
    If they want music per download, just stick to iTunes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Shohat, 5 Aug 2008 @ 9:29am

    Golden Age , perfect balance

    It's too complex of an opinion to write here, but the current balance of Piracy and old model is perfect in many ways.
    If the balance is disturbed, and everything is pirated, then the Album model dies (I didn't say it was good in the first place), and if piracy dies, then people will have a whole lot of less music to listen to.
    Both options cause damage to someone.

    Things are good as they are now (unless you belong to the 0.0000001% that are getting sued), but obviously this sick equilibrium won't last forever.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sticky Tape Guru, 5 Aug 2008 @ 10:11am

    Perhaps the next step would be for the RIAA to stop bothering all those branded communities about illegal downloading.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    MLS, 5 Aug 2008 @ 10:19am

    Helps to read study, and not third party mention of study. Not that latter is necessarily inaccurate, but from the "horse's mouth" is always better than hearsay.


    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Overcast, 5 Aug 2008 @ 10:23am

    It's not so much about piracy or anything - it's about people who really don't make the music making huge profits from those that do - because years ago they were needed for marketing. Since that's changed, they - just like companies like Netscape, find suing everyone a better answer to changing times than innovation.

    I downloaded some Radiohead music from Torrent a while back. Own a few of their CD's now. The rest, I deleted because I didn't care for those specific songs. But I did get the CD's that had the songs I liked and kept.

    See the thing is - I can live with or without music. If I don't hear a lot of it, my interest in buying it wanes significantly.

    When I am listening to it more often, I tend to buy a lot more CD's. It has zero to do with it being a 'free ride', it's about interest. I can watch Planet of the Apes on TNT for free all the time, they seem to run it constantly - yet, I went out and bought the box set collection.

    Buying Cd's and DVD's has never been, nor will ever be a matter of I can't get to the content if I like it - it's the other way around, if I like the content, I buy the media - just because I, along with the VAST majority of people I know like to own good quality originals.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Aug 2008 @ 11:20am

    PRS does not care about recording artists only finding new ways to collect performance royalties.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Aug 2008 @ 12:40pm

    well, you don't watch TNT for free... you pay for cable and watch the ads

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Andrew, 5 Aug 2008 @ 4:58pm

    I would be perfectly ok with some sort of tax via the ISP or some sort of ad network incorporated into the file sharing medium. As long as I only have to pay it or view them when I want to download something.
    I agree with Overcast though, if I can not view something I generally do not develop an interest in buying it. I have bought many products because I was able get it free and thus developed an interest in buying it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ed, 6 Aug 2008 @ 6:10am

    Have you heard of


    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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