Lily Allen has continued to post statements from various artists on her blog against file sharing, and most are of the "yeah, file sharing, it's bad!" variety. While she still doesn't quite seem to realize what was hypocritical about her decision to copy a Techdirt post
while claiming that copying was bad, she did recently post something where she tried to "answer some questions"
that others seem to be having about her effort. The problem is that the "questions" she's answering aren't really the questions that people have been asking. Her explanation is that she's trying to show what file sharing is doing to new artists. Furthermore, she complains that comments about people getting cut off from the internet are misguided, since the proposals are no different than cutting someone off for not paying their bill. Then she attacks the concept that music could be free, saying:
"It's not free to make, so it can't be free, can it?"
And goes on to say that not enough people are paying for music, so that's "threatening new music." Anyway, her "answers to some questions" mostly raise more questions from me, so I'd like to present them here. If Lily Allen is serious about dealing with these issues (and serious about being "sorry" -- even if she apologized for the wrong thing), then it would be great to see her directly address these questions, rather than responding to some made up questions.
- You claim that file sharing is harming new music. Yet, at the same time, a recent study has shown that more new music is being created today than ever before in history. Partly, that's because new tools have made it cheaper than ever to create and record new music. But those same technologies are also making it cheaper to promote and distribute that new music. All of those factors seem to outweigh the "piracy" issue. So, how can you claim that it's harming new music, when the evidence suggests more new music is being created than ever before?
- You claim that "not enough people are paying for music." However, just a few months ago, the economists employed by PRS, which is a big part of the UK music industry, released a study suggesting that the music market was growing, not declining. They agreed that retail sales have dropped, but that live show attendance and other offerings (merchandise, etc.) have outweighed the decline in music sales. In other words, people are spending more on music, it's just going into different things -- just like 50 Cent said. Given that the economists who represent your industry are saying the opposite of what you claim must be happening, can you support the claim that not enough people are paying?
- According to many reports, you benefited greatly yourself by promoting your music via MySpace, which allowed people to listen to your music for free. Other reports have suggested that you have complained in the past that your record label does not give you much, if any, money from CD sales. Given that you seem to have used "free music" to your own advantage in the past, how can you say that "music can't be free"?
- You are posting your blog on a Blogspot.com domain, which is provided by Google to you, for free. It cost Google money to create this service, and all of its services, and yet it has been able to create a business model whereby it makes money by giving away certain aspects of its business for free. Google is one of the most successful companies in the world. Why do you insist with such certainty that using free as a part of a business model is a bad thing?
- There are a growing number of artists -- big, medium and small -- who have learned to embrace file sharing, and have found that it has helped them to better connect with their audience, and when combined with a smart business model, makes them more money than in the past. Given that's the case, is it possible that the problem is artists choosing a bad business model rather than "piracy" being the problem?
- Despite your shading of the issue, there have been and continue to be proposals in the UK that would lead to people being kicked off the internet -- yes, for a limited time, but still removed from the internet. Can you explain how that makes people any more likely to buy your music?
By the way, it's also worth noting that many of the ideas for these questions come from the comments to the post on Lily's blog. While there were some nasty and childish comments on some of the earlier posts (such as the one where she copied my post), going through the comments on this particular post show that the vast majority of them are well thought-out, well-argued and thought-provoking. And most of them disagree with Allen's statements.