Challenge To Graham Henderson: Please Point Out Who Believes Music Should Just Be A Hobby

from the we're-waiting... dept

There's been a bizarre shift lately in the recording industry's attempt to demonize people who believe in embracing new business models and new technologies in the music business. We just wrote about Universal Music's Jim Urie claiming that "copyleft" supporters don't care about art, and along those same lines, Zeropaid points us to Graham Henderson, the head of the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA -- which is almost entirely dominated by foreign companies) going to Washington DC to lobby in favor of more draconian copyright laws.

We had just caught Henderson falsely claiming that the reason streaming music services won't come to Canada is because of the "piracy," there -- even though the same article where he made those claims showed a bunch of streaming music companies who want to launch in Canada, but can't because of the ridiculous licensing demands of the recording industry. It seems Henderson just can't stop making statements that appear to have little basis in reality. In making this push, Henderson, too, has decided to make up a total strawman of an "enemy," in the blogosphere:
"There is a certain set of bloggers out there who think music is nothing more than a hobby, that it should be free. But I think Canadians as a whole are more open to supporting their creative industry and so we're finally at the point where Ottawa is going to act. I refuse to believe that this brand-new digital era is going to make beggars of creators and send them back to the 1800s."
So, here's my challenge to Henderson: prove it. Or, in the parlance of Wikipedia: [citation needed]. Where are these bloggers who "think music is nothing more than a hobby?" I read most of the blogs of the folks I'm pretty sure you're talking about, and I don't know any of them who think that music is nothing more than a hobby (with the possible exception of Suzanne Lainson who is hardly your typical "copyleft" blogger -- in fact, she keeps saying she doesn't pay attention to copyright issues and thinks it's a waste to even pay attention to copyright policy discussions). Most of us, however, have spent an awful lot of time and effort trying to highlight great new ways to make money for musicians, such that we're seeing that musicians are actually able to make more money than they did in the past -- and we celebrate whenever we such news.

Of course, we all know what's really going on. Part of the reason many of these musicians who are embracing new technologies and new business models are making more money than before is because those business models route around the gatekeepers that make up the RIAA and the CRIA. And those companies have a long history of keeping money away from musicians rather than helping them make a living. Most of the bloggers that Henderson is slamming love to see artists making money. They love to see creative new business models that are fan friendly and that allow fans to support artists. We don't believe that music is just a hobby. We think, in fact, that there are many more opportunities for musicians to make money. It's just that, quite frequently, those methods involve not filtering the money through Henderson's corporate masters, where they take an excessive cut.

But, as these industry folks continue to lie to politicians and the press, it's important to keep calling them out. I've still not heard any response on my open challenge to Jim Urie to talk about this publicly, so I'll issue the same challenge to Graham Henderson. Please, point out who these bloggers are, and show me how their reasons for being against your attempt to put forth unnecessary, damaging and ever more draconian copyright laws is because they think that "music is nothing more than a hobby." I'd be perfectly happy to discuss this publicly with Henderson, where we can discuss great new ways to help musicians make more money.

If Henderson can't do that, then it should be clear that he knows he's lying to the public, to the press and to politicians.

Filed Under: business models, graham henderson, music
Companies: cria

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  1. icon
    Karl (profile), 27 Sep 2010 @ 11:09am

    Hobby = free?

    There is a certain set of bloggers out there who think music is nothing more than a hobby, that it should be free.

    The irony here is that those who create music as a "hobby" are more likely to actually make money than the majority of "professional" artists on a major label.

    This, I think, is his real target. Whenever I hear these types denigrate the "free" movement - and include people like Creative Commons - what I really hear is, "Hey artists! Don't listen to those pied pipers! Stick your fingers in your ears and go la la la I can't hear you!"

    It's all a calculated move to turn artists against the general public (i.e. their fans), so they'll continue to reach for the brass ring on the corporate merry-go-round. They point to storm clouds looming on the horizon, blame the "pirates" for the rain, and ask artists to ignore the cocks pissing on them from the penthouse windows.

    Sadly, it often works, and the recording industry gets famous stars to trumpet their cause as a celebrity endorsement. Even from artists who would normally view the industry as nothing more than scumbags and scammers - Don Henley springs to mind.

    But it's a desperate move from a desperate industry. It points to the fact that artists themselves are recognizing the labels' disappearing significance. And that, in general, is a good thing.

    Now, the question of how to fund "pro" art - that is, expensive art - is actually a good question. But it won't be answered by these dinosaurs.

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