by Mike Masnick
Thu, Apr 11th 2013 12:47pm
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Apr 4th 2013 1:10pm
from the looking-for-a-come-up dept
A few weeks ago, Macklemore sat down with Chris Hardwick on the Nerdist podcast and it's great. Beyond some interesting discussions about sudden fame (and then doing laundry in the communal laundry room of your apartment building days after appearing on SNL), he does talk a little about being a successful musician without a label. Chris asks him about the no label part and mentions what a great story it is:
Chris: To see you and Ryan Lewis come out of Seattle just making stuff you like making, with no label, and oh you're at the top of the charts, and all these people are talking about the song... that's just a great story.Uh huh. Once again, it makes you wonder what people are thinking when they claim that YouTube is putting artists out of work.
Macklemore: Yeah, I appreciate it. It is a very cool story. It's what you always hope for in terms of picking the independent path. It's cool to see that that's been a focal point. It's not just "Thrift Shop"; it's this kind of do-it-yourself attitude behind the music we've made -- that is also within the midst of this thrift shop song. That these two dudes chose to go independently, to turn down the labels. That the music industry is changing. That it's evolving. And to be at any sort of place where we're at the forefront of that, at the moment, is exciting.
Chris: It's so inspiring to so many young people who maybe -- and I think people are more and more used to the fact that they can just make stuff in their bedrooms and it can turn out to be huge. But every time it happens, it's that much more inspiring to a younger generation of people who go... 'there's no excuse any more to not go out and make stuff that you want.'
Macklemore: Absolutely. And that's what we watched people that came before us that have done it independently, whether it's Sub Pop, or whether it's... Mac Miller did it independently. And he had every major label hollering at him with huge seven figure offers and turned it down and still went number one on Billboard. There's examples of it that came before us, that had us say 'I think that it can work -- I'm not sure that it can work." But, at the end of the day, what's most important, and creative control is number one for Ryan and I. It's a no brainer.
Chris I'm sure you've been approached a million times at this point, but you still don't want the infrastructure of a label?
Macklemore: Yeah, there's no reason to do it. With the power of the internet and with the real personal relationship that you can have via social media with your fans... I mean everyone talks about MTV and the music industry, and how MTV doesn't play videos any more -- YouTube has obviously completely replaced that. It doesn't matter that MTV doesn't play videos. It matters that we have YouTube and that has been our greatest resource in terms of connecting, having our identity, creating a brand, showing the world who we are via YouTube. That has been our label. Labels will go in and spend a million dollar or hundreds of thousands of dollars and try to "brand" these artists and they have no idea how to do it. There's no authenticity. They're trying to follow a formula that's dead. And Ryan and I, out of anything, that we're good at making music, but we're great at branding. We're great at figuring out what our target audience is. How we're going to reach them and how we're going to do that in a way that's real and true to who we are as people. Because that's where the substance is. That's where the people actually feel the real connection.
And labels don't have that.
So you sign up for a label. There's not some magic button they're now going to push and it means that people are going to like who you are. Or that they're identify with your vision or your songs. It actually comes from sitting down, staring at a piece of paper for months or years on end, trying to figure out who you are as a person, and hoping that it comes through in the end. But a label's not going to do that for you.
The whole episode is worth listening to as Macklemore has a great perspective on all of this, and it's interesting to hear him discuss the oddity of his sudden increase in fame and how he's dealing with it, without letting it go to his head. But considering how often we've had similar discussions about artists who choose to go independent, I thought some would enjoy that particular snippet especially.
by Tim Cushing
Tue, Apr 2nd 2013 7:57am
UK Music Licensing Agency Says You Can't Use Its Music In Your Podcast Without First Purchasing A License It Doesn't Even Offer
from the pretty-much-like-the-movie-'Brazil,'-only-with-stylish-electronics dept
Podcasters in the UK are running into licensing problems when attempting to clear music for their broadcasts, as PPL (who covers performance rights for recorded music, like SoundExchange in the US) is causing problems. PPL has a history of questionable over enforcement, and they just can't let up, apparently. Phil Satterly sends in this rather sad story of a long-running Progressive Rock podcast (DRRP Radio) that is going "off the air" thanks to PPL's thoroughly impossible demands.
Launched 18 months ago, we've produced 83 shows that have been downloaded over 30,000 times. We've covered bands from every type of prog. We've done special features on independent labels and festivals plus interviews with the likes of Clive Nolan, Steven Wilson, Gazpacho, Steve Hogarth, Riverside, Sean Filkins, Mystery and Godsticks. We have regular listeners from as far away as New Zealand, Singapore, Canada, Cuba and The Shetland Isles!PPL is doing what collective rights organizations do best: shut down as many artistic outlets as possible. The organization is looking for a payout, but can't even be bothered to let people pay them, as Andy Read (one of the podcast hosts) points out.
Unfortunately three weeks ago our service provider stopped enabling downloads of the shows. The move followed pressure from the PPL – the organisation in the UK which provides broadcast licences for the recording copyright holder (i.e. record companies).
Music licensing is a complex issue and it took quite some find to find a way to legally do DPRP Radio in the first place. We have a broadcast licence, we have a streaming licence and we have a podcast licence for the PRS – the body representing the songwriters. We do not have a podcast licence for the PPL who are now threatening legal action against podcast providers. We would happily buy a podcast licence from them… but they do not offer one!DRRP isn't the only podcast being asked to do the impossible by PPL. The UK Folk Music podcast host quotes the PPL website's wording on the broadcast licensing it does offer.
As a broadcaster you would have to obtain permission from potentially thousands of record companies before being able to play the recorded music – a PPL licence gives you this permission and allows you to play virtually all recorded music readily available in the UK simply, quickly and legally. PPL then passes these licence fees, less our running costs, onto the performers and rights holders, similar to royalties.Handy, I guess, except that PPL does not offer a license specifically for podcasting. Podcasters need a very limited license if using PPL's music because the podcasts are able to be downloaded and stored. This distinguishes them (and moves them into another area of copyright protection) from radio broadcasts or other streaming services whose offerings are transient. (Not that these can't be "trapped/downloaded." Anyone remember cassette tapes? Yeah, same thing. Only with software.)
PPL's lack of a podcasting license punts the ball back to podcasters and other music bloggers. If they can't get a blanket license, they'll have to do it the hard way: "obtain permission from potentially thousands of record companies before being able to play the recorded music."
Obviously, this is an impossibility. And for those of you saying clever stuff like "just use original music by artists not represented by this agency?" Well, you obviously haven't been paying attention. Rights groups like PPL and PRS will still try to collect from you. In their minds, no one plays music anywhere (not even in their hardware store/ hotel room) without playing a bunch of their stuff. It's a self-serving distortion of reality.
And for those hoping the artists that split from PPL to form their own rights group (EOS) will result in a brighter, smoother future for all concerned? You can pretty much kiss that rosy picture goodbye. EOS has already attempted to shutter a few radio stations. The end result is another venue for artist exposure being shut down by the "white knights" of the artistic community. These agencies don't really care about the artists on their roster. They just want to find a way to insert themselves, hands out, between the artists and their supporters.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Mar 25th 2013 11:53am
from the i-thought-youtube-was-evil dept
Right from my first 30 subscribers, I began talking to the audience that was there and making videos directly for them and replying to comments, but I never saw it as a ‘fan base’ – I mainly just figured we were all bored kids.Another interesting point: he doesn't perform shows. This is a very interesting one, because we regularly get attacked in the comments by people who insist that we've claimed that the answer for musicians today is just to tour. Of course, we've never actually said that. There's a conflation there between where many artists are making money today and other ways in which artists can make money. In many ways, Day reminds me of Pomplamoose, who also used YouTube to build up a huge following and to make a living (both mixed cover songs with originals early on). You don't need to perform to make money, and Day has proven that.
Performing wasn't an avenue for me – the only gigs I've done are one-off launch events (to launch my album, for example) or gigs with friends (as I mentioned). I really don't feel the need to gig when I can reach my audience online and hit everyone at once, all over the world, and not exclude anybody, which a tour doesn't do.And, yes, it sounds like he's doing quite well. Between YouTube and people buying the music (even though it's available for free on YouTube), he's doing quite well.
Typically I make around £3500 a month from YouTube (I'm on a network so they can sell the ad space higher) and at least £10,000 a month from music and merch sales. I've also done other projects – I co-created a card game with my cousin which we sell online, I have a business called Lifescouts I launched this year – which add a bit of extra cash to the pot also.Basically: connect with fans and give them a reason to buy, and they will, even if the music is available for free. So much for the idea that no one will ever buy if it's free.
Also, while some insist that we hate record labels and think there's no role for them at all any more, nothing could be further from the truth. We've noted, repeatedly, that there is still a huge role for record labels, helping and enabling artists to do more for the artists that want that. What's different today is that artists have a choice. They can use a label, if they think that helps them, or they can do stuff themselves. And having that choice also gives the artist a lot more power and some more leverage. So it's interesting to see Day talk about his thoughts on labels. He's very open minded, pointing out that he's not against signing with a label, but they'd have to actually be able to do something for him and they've yet to show that they can do that without wanting to control absolutely everything.
Labels have never known what the hell to do with me. I always went in with an open mind – I don't like the idea that being proudly unsigned/independent instantly means I'm white and they're black and we have to duel to the death or whatever. There are a lot of things I do on my own because I have to, so I've got good at them, but it would definitely be easier with outside help! So I was willing to hear what they could offer and how we could work together and I still would be, but I don't think labels are ready to be that humble. They want to control everything. I like being able to decide my own songs and film my own music videos.He talks about how a one-off deal with Universal solely for distribution of his CD helped get that CD into music shops, which was nice for sales, and those kinds of relationships are interesting to him. Ones where they control everything and don't add any actual value... are not. He even points to this hilarious video about his experience meeting with a major label. Seriously, watch this video.
I've had several meetings with Island Records in the UK, the last of which ended with the guy saying he doesn't think I'm ready to be on a label yet because "we only sign artists we can sell at least a million copies of in the next three months" – but if he's waiting for me to get to that point without him, why do I need the label ever? I've also met with Warner, Sony, EMI – they were all the same, none of them expected to justify themselves and at best they were just trying to "figure out my secret" and at worst they were completely uninformed and lazy...
It's just YouTube. I have Twitter and Facebook only because I sort of feel I have to, because I need to reach people in those places.... For the personal connection, it's all YouTube. I love it there. It's such a creative outlet. I've been making videos seven years and never got bored of it — one or two videos a week regularly all that time.Wait, weren't we just hearing some old school musician insisting that YouTube had put 12,000 musicians out of work? Maybe it's just 11,999 then. Or, maybe it's the opposite. Maybe it's created an opportunity for lots and lots of musicians. But the key, as Day notes, is that you have to actually get YouTube. Miss that step and (shockingly), it might not work for you.
It genuinely saddens me when YouTube isn't lumped in as one of the essential social metrics with Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr (I do have a Tumblr too but like the others I don't really know how to use it). I understand YouTube and it's changed my whole life.
Either way, it's great to see Alex continue doing what he does best: making great music, connecting with fans and building a career.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Mar 22nd 2013 8:01am
from the why,-yes dept
So, let's try to look at why the two studies might both be right -- and what that might actually mean. First off, there's the obvious difference: the first study was about movies, and the second study was about music. While there are obvious similarities between the two, there are also significant differences, which may also lead to differences in consumption. Movies, for example, tend to involve more initial commitment, since it takes a lot more time to watch a movie. Music can be consumed much more easily. But, for music that people like, they're much more likely to listen to it over and over again, whereas most people will view a movie only once. Even for movies that people absolutely love, they're likely to consume it many fewer times than corresponding music that people love. And, on top of that, movies come together as a whole package. Music, for the past few decades, was packaged as a bundle of songs, in the form of an album. However, the rise of digital distribution for music has often broken apart that bundle, such that people focus on the single unit of the song, rather than the album.
In those differences are the seeds of why these two studies could both make sense. The recording industry, obviously, points to the massive decline in overall revenue from recorded music sales. That is indisputable. But, much of that can be explained by the breakup of the album into single song sales. When you're no longer forced to purchase 10 songs you don't care about just to get to the 2 you do, it shouldn't be any surprise that overall sales revenue may decrease. At the same time, because people can then spread their interest across more artists, something like file sharing can still increase digital distribution sales, because they sample via unauthorized sites, and then purchase a few songs from those they like best. The file sharing acts as a way to figure out where they want to spend their money, but because they can spend less to get more, overall sales dropped off. The market is much more efficient.
Movies, on the other hand, are somewhat different. There isn't a great unbundling happening there. And, often, consuming movies is done for a different reason and in a different manner than consuming music. Watching a movie is a way to "kill" an evening. Need something to do? "Let's watch a movie." As such, you'd expect movie watching behavior to remain more consistent, as people have the same "void" to fill at a regular interval. And, while alternatives (such as surfing the internet or playing video games) may fill that void, some percentage of the people will prefer movies -- and if one source of movies goes away, they will look for others, and some percentage of those are likely to switch to a pay service.
There's one other factor that may impact all of this as well, as hinted at in the post about the first study: the level of development of legal services. For years, we've seen one thing that is almost certainly true: when there are no legal services available, the amount of unauthorized use increases. Unauthorized use is almost always an indicator of an under-served audience. And, if you look the development of online music and movie offerings, authorized music services tend to be a lot further along in creating compelling, user-friendly offerings that people find to be "better than piracy." There are some movie services that are getting there, but movie services are more likely to be encumbered with DRM and annoying restrictions (e.g. "watch the whole thing in 24 hours or you lose it!").
If anything, this final point is the most compelling explanation to me for the different results in the two studies -- and why I'm less confident that the results of the first study will hold up in the long term, unless Hollywood finally allows the creation of more user-friendly online movie services (i.e., lower prices and less restrictions, which is where the music services have all gone). In the music world, more and more people are making the gradual shift to authorized services, because they really do provide a good overall experience. The file sharing that goes on tends to be complementary to all of this because it is one way that people can further sample and figure out what they like, which they can then support within an authorized context (especially since music people like is played repeatedly).
With movies, on the other hand, you have less of a need to "sample," since the product is often watched just once. And there, convenience becomes king. People will flock to the most convenient offering (convenience being a combination of a variety of factors, which may differ per each individual, but generally include elements of ease of use, pricing, overall selection of movies, ability to view in multiple places, ability to watch at different times, etc.) For many, Megaupload represented the most convenient offering, and after that went away, other services, sometimes pay services, represented the "next best option." But, those other services are still at risk of newer more convenient services re-emerging and taking back those movie-watchers.
In those cases, both studies "make sense," but the lessons they suggest may be somewhat different than the lessons put forth by the supporters of the studies. The authors and supporters of the MPAA study suggest that this proves that shutting down unauthorized sites is a reasonable goal. I think that may be looking too narrowly at the results, and discounting how much people are focused on the "most convenient" solution. An even better solution is to provide more convenient offerings, which would win over customers from unauthorized sites even if they aren't taken down.
Finally, I wanted to respond to the IFPI, which appeared to completely freak out about the European Commission study, claiming it was flawed:
IFPI believes the JRC study is flawed and misleading. The findings seem disconnected from commercial reality, are based on a limited view of the market and are contradicted by a large volume of alternative third party research that confirms the negative impact of piracy on the legitimate music business.The IFPI seems to be responding based on emotion, rather than fact, and possibly a misunderstanding of the data. The data directly supports the commercial reality, which is that digital music sales have been regularly increasing, which the IFPI itself records quite clearly. The decrease in overall recording industry revenue (the IFPI is misleading in talking about "the legitimate music business" because they really only mean the portion that is recorded music sales), comes from the decline in the sale of physical music: CDs. And the study only looked directly at digital distribution, not the impact on CD sales. The other studies that the IFPI refer to look at the connection between file sharing and CD sales, showing a general decline there, but much of that may just be from people shifting from physical (inefficient and wasteful) distribution to digital (efficient) distribution, in which case you'd expect a decline in overall sales, not because of "piracy" but because of less inefficient bundling and physical manufacturing and distribution costs.
The IFPI also repeats the BPI's misreading of the "Kantar Worldpanel" data. That is, they highlight that many people who fileshare don't buy anything, but then leave out the people who neither fileshare nor buy any music, thus setting up an apples and oranges comparison. They also cite the debunked HADOPI study, despite the fact that reports have already explained how the impact observed in that study likely had more to do with the introduction of new iPhones rather than HADOPI's three strikes policies.
But, really, the most ridiculous argument in the IFPI response is at the end:
The fundamental problem of the music market place remains as true as ever: why pay for music when you can get it illegally free?The fact that they still believe this to be true is the real problem with the legacy industry in one simple sentence. They still think the only way to compete is on price. That's clearly not true, as seen by the IFPI's own data, which consistently shows that massive numbers of people buy all the time, even when they can get it quite easily for free from unauthorized sources. As noted above, it's really about convenience -- which is a result of a combination of factors, of which price is merely one. Creating more authorized services that provide greater convenience than unauthorized sites is the most effective way to fight back. If the IFPI actually focused on providing more value, rather than freaking out every time piracy was detected, we'd be talking about what an amazing time it was for music today, rather than having this same silly debate all over again.
In the end, despite the IFPI's whining, these two studies do add valuable data to the debate. And while they may appear to conflict, I don't think they really do. The results both make sense in context, and viewed from a wider angle they suggest, still, that the best way to respond to unauthorized file sharing is to make authorized service more convenient.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Mar 22nd 2013 6:32am
from the the-other-side-of-the-coin dept
The second study, put out by the European Council, also is rather compelling, but argues something almost entirely contradictory: that there is no sign that infringement leads to a decrease in sales. In fact, it shows a very slight increase in sales. The researchers here were looking at a different market, however. They looked at digital music, and the impact of infringing downloads on authorized streams and downloads. The research found little impact:
Our results suggest that Internet users do not view illegal downloading as a substitute to legal digital music. Although positive and significant, our estimated elasticities are essentially zero: a 10% increase in clicks on illegal downloading websites leads to a 0.2% increase in clicks on legal purchases websites. Online music streaming services are found to have a somewhat larger (but still small) effect on the purchases of digital sound recordings, suggesting complementarities between these two modes of music consumption. According to our results, a 10% increase in clicks on legal streaming websites lead to up to a 0.7% increase in clicks on legal digital purchases websites. We find important cross country differences in these effects.Going a bit further, they note:
Perhaps surprisingly, our results present no evidence of digital music sales displacement. While we find important cross country differences in the effects of downloading on music purchases, our findings suggest a rather small complementarity between these two music consumption channels. It seems that the majority of the music that is consumed illegally by the individuals in our sample would not have been purchased if illegal downloading websites were not available to them. The complementarity effect of online streaming is found to be somewhat larger, suggesting a stimulating effect of this activity on the sales of digital music.There are some significant similarities between the two different studies. Both go through the previous research into this issue and tend to cite almost all of the same papers (which is a good sign) to show what's been done before, and what the limitations are of that research. Both also focus on the question of online impact. That is, previous research has tended to focus on the impact on other modes of consumption: i.e., does downloading increase or decrease DVD purchasing, CD purchasing or movie theater sales. Both of these reports, however, look strictly at unauthorized downloading/streaming as compared to authorized downloading/streaming.
Taken at face value, our findings indicate that digital music piracy does not displace legal music purchases in digital format. This means that although there is trespassing of private property rights (copyrights), there is unlikely to be much harm done on digital music revenues.
The specific methodologies differ somewhat, however. The MPAA paper compares overall sales/rentals vs. Megaupload penetration. The EC paper looks at direct clickstream traffic data as provided by Nielsen NetView, which collects direct data on exactly what sites people visit. The EC researchers, Luis Agular and Bertin Martens, then classified visits to different "music consumption" sites to see if they could isolate some sort of relationship between unauthorized streams and downloads and authorized ones. As with the MPAA study, there are some potential limitations there (mainly in sussing out the details of what people are actually doing on any particular page -- especially when some pages, such as Amazon.com, could result in other activity that is not music related), but the researchers do a good job trying to control for these limitations.
Also, it's good to see that in some cases the underlying data between the two studies agrees. Both, for example, show much greater usage of sites that have many unauthorized uses in Spain, for example. Unfortunately, other than Spain, France and Germany, the selection countries studied in the two reports is mostly different, so it's difficult to confirm other points between the two.
The EC study confirms another point that should be settled by now: those who use unauthorized sites are the biggest fans, by far.
The figures show that legal consumers (individuals that never clicked on an illegal music website during 2011) are, on average, active 2.5 months a year, while downloaders are active almost 6 months a year. Most interestingly, downloaders are also more active than legals both in terms of legal downloading (10% more clicks) and legal streaming (40% more clicks), as shown by their mean values of clicks. A positive relationship between legal and illegal consumption of digital music therefore emerges from this simple comparison of means. Comparing streamers and non- streamers (individuals that never clicked on a streaming music website during 2011) leads to similar conclusions. The figures show that streamers click more than twice as much on legal downloading websites, while their clicks on illegal downloading websites is 90% higher than for non-streamers. Again, this simple comparison of means shows a positive relationship between the different consumption channels and in particular between streaming and legal purchases.Of course, as many will (rightfully) point out, this is just correlation data, which is useful, but not enough to prove any causal relationship. So the researchers go further. They use a number of variables try to separate out which users are most interested in music itself, by looking at whether they visit other music-related websites, such as music lyrics or music news sites, as well as other types of "music consumption" sites like video websites. Again, the data suggests a clear causal relationship.
Our results suggest that illegal downloading and legal streaming have both a positive and significant effect on legal purchases of digital music.As you can see in the report, they continue to slice and dice the data a few different ways to test for other potential variables that might be creating this situation, and each time they fail to find any evidence of it. Instead, they see the same thing: engaging in unauthorized downloading appears to lead to more digital purchases, and the same for authorized streaming.
In the third piece in this series, we'll see if we can reconcile what appear to be very different findings in these two studies, as well as respond to the entertainment industry's freak out about this second study.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Feb 27th 2013 11:11am
from the let's-walk-this-through dept
The second report comes from one of the industry's favorite researchers, NPD, claiming a massive decline in music file sharing (based on consumer surveys). I've found NPD's data to be suspect in the past, but let's just assume this is true. Then, can we reach the conclusion that the industry's anti-piracy efforts both worked and that it led to increased sales?
Actually... no. Not even close. We can see this pretty clearly just by looking beyond the recorded music market, to the wider file sharing space. Various reports have made it clear that widespread file sharing (mostly of infringing content) has continued to grow quite rapidly during the same time period. Sandvine reports (pdf) that BitTorrent traffic increased 40% over the same basic time frame. Or, zero in on a different market beyond music. How about software? The BSA's annual report continues to show increases in "piracy."
What does that say? Well, if wider anti-piracy campaigns were effective, we wouldn't just be seeing a decline in music infringement. We'd see similar declines across the board. But the overall space and some other, similar, markets are showing increases in infringing content spreading.
That leads us to the much more reasonable hypothesis: the reason that music piracy is down and revenue is up is because the industry has finally started allowing more innovation into the market. Not surprisingly, this is exactly what we've been arguing for years. If you let the tech industry create useful new services that better provide the public with what they want, you get services and products that people are willing to pay for. And when that happens, infringement decreases, because the legitimate and authorized services are better than infringing. It's why music infringement fell off a cliff in Sweden when Spotify launched there, despite also being the home of The Pirate Bay. Notably, when music infringement plummeted in Sweden, other types of infringement did not similarly drop.
In other words, for all the complaints about these new services, and the many, many attempts to hold them back or neuter them, letting new services grow and thrive seems to be the best "anti-piracy" measure that the record labels could have used. And yet it still thinks it needs to focus on punishing fans and limiting services.
by Tim Cushing
Tue, Feb 26th 2013 10:14am
from the he's-saying-what-we're-all-thinking!-and-saying! dept
What you rarely, if ever, see is a top level executive of a major player in the content industry state, on the record, that not only is piracy a good thing, but it may also be a necessary thing. Here's Mandar Thakur, COO of Times Music, India, commenting on the internet's upheaval of the recording industry.
I may get lynched for saying this – but I have always believed that internet piracy was actually, in some ways, a good thing to happen to the industry. If not for that, the music industry would never have pulled its act together and embraced innovation and realised changing consumer behaviour and digital distribution. The challenges the music content industry faces are too vast to lay down here but the most significant one is the fact that the very core of the industry and its business dynamics have been shaken deep due to the consumer’s changed consumption habits and habitat, and its value proposition changed forever. It’s almost akin to consumers not wanting to pay to consume Coke/Pepsi anymore. In that sense it is as good as creating a brand new entertainment industry, creating brand new value and brand new revenue models at the same time as preserving the existing value/revenue base.Now, before someone writes off Time Music as the equivalent of a boutique label run by three guys out of their stepdad's garage, let's take a look at the facts. Time Music, India is a division of the Times Group, the "largest mass media company in India," with annual revenue exceeding $1.5 billion and the employer of 11,000 Indians.
Much of what Thakur stated has been documented here over the years. Piracy may be a problem, but it's also a sign of disruption and an indicator of underserved markets. The problem with the American recording industry is that it spent much more time worrying (and attacking) the first item on the list while ignoring the other two. From what he's stated, Thakur is apparently uninterested in wasting much more time and money trying to eliminate file sharing. This should allow Time Music Inc. to devote those resources towards making money, rather than plugging leaks.
That he would come out and state this plainly probably won't win him any friends in the IMI (Indian Music Industry), the Indian version of the RIAA. Late last year, IMI filed a petition in support of India's IT Rules, pushing to be granted the right to take down content within 36 hours, without having to serve notice to the content creator or uploader.
Thakur may also begin irritating those even higher up on the food chain. IMI is part of International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), best known around these parts for serving up an annual report on piracy that's riddled with factual errors and filled to the brim with pleas for various governments to save it from having to make forward progress.
Not only does Thakur view file sharing as a side effect of industry stasis, he also seems to have a good grip on what consumers actually want -- and how the rollout of better and speedier connections will continue this disruption (and its attendant opportunities).
Faster access at affordable prices has always created a massive boost for consumption. At one point it was content that was king, then the portable device became the centre of the digital universe and now it’s the war of the OSes. The underlying factor across all these spurring growth (or preventing growth) has always been access and in this particular case it’s the global LTE and LTE Advanced roll- outs that will accelerate growth, especially in large countries such as India, Indonesia and China. This [growth of access] will be nothing short of an internet revolution, due to the wide-scale consumption it will create as common people’s daily habits change.This is also refreshing. Rather than viewing across-the-board increases in bandwidth as nothing but a more efficient conduit for infringement (see also: the MPAA's comments on Google's fiber rollout), he sees it for what it is: an new, rapidly expanding market.
It's great to see such clear thinking from someone inside the industry. IMI and IFPI may not be happy with a pirate-loving COO heading a major music outlet, but it appears he's in place to catch a new market on the upswing, an uncommon experience for those in his position.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Feb 12th 2013 2:55pm
Music Publishers: We Need Strong Copyright Laws Because We Don't Like The Consumer Electronics Association
from the um,-what? dept
Technically, the article is a "response" to another Forbes piece, by Gary Shapiro, the head of the Consumer Electronics Association, in which he notes that a series of recent issues suggests that copyright law is not serving its proper function, and the time is right to take "a fresh look at copyright laws." The article makes the case that copyright laws do have a purpose, and it even celebrates some actions by the entertainment industry to seek to innovate and embrace some new technologies. There's actually very little that I think anyone on any side of the debate should find particularly controversial. So, without an actual argument possible to make, Israelite decided to just focus solely on the fact that CEA is bigger than NMPA.
The first eight paragraphs of the article are just attacks on CEA. Then there's finally one paragraph that actually talks about copyright. Just one:
Copyright significantly contributes to the trade balance for our nation. A song written decades ago in Nashville can be heard, legally, in Japan, and today’s American hits instantly become top international downloads. Products associated with copyright, and this goes beyond music to include television, movies, newspapers, magazines, books, and computer software, are one of the few sectors expanding internationally. The most recent data finds copyright industries outpacing aircraft, auto, food, and pharmaceuticals in sales and exports. And as our economy gets back on track, consider the power behind songwriter-driven small businesses that provide jobs in every state.Of course, there are multiple problems and misleading aspects to this paragraph. It assumes that copyright is the same thing as the music itself. While the music may contribute to the economy, that does not mean that copyright itself contributes to the economy. Second, he assumes that "stronger" copyright laws would somehow increase the ability of those sectors to make money, when there's little evidence to actually support that. There's just a big correlation/causation error. Either way, nothing in the post actually touches on the title of the article. It basically is just a piece to bash the Consumer Electronics Association because Shapiro mentioned in his article that the NMPA supported SOPA last year, and how that was a move in the wrong direction.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Feb 11th 2013 7:51am
from the and-so-it-goes dept
Oh, and for what it's worth, you have to imagine that the "declines" reported in file sharing and cyberlockers severely undercounts those things too, as using some rather basic tools can let people hide that sort of information from being collected -- and the efforts by Hadopi to "educate" the public likely educated them about how to use VPNs. It does not appear to have educated them to go back to buying at the same levels as the artificially inflated rates in the past.