Wednesday, July 13, 2005

A GRAND OPERA DON'T COME FOR FREE

The other day, ITN were moaning that the BBC were providing experimental news services for mobile phones, as it meant that they would find it harder to sell their services - which totally ignored the important fact that British licence fee payers have already paid for this content, and while it might be a pity for ITN if they have to compete with a public service provider, that's no basis for telling us that we can't have the news we've paid for - it's actually a step further along from a farmer blocking a spring which runs across his land, and then selling bottled water to the thirsty village down the line.

Now, classical music labels are fuming about the BBC's Beethoven downloads. Most observers are thrilled with the results of this experiment, which appears to have brought in an audience of people who don't usually listen to classical music, giving them the first step towards a whole lifetime of musical purchases. Everyone should be happy, right?

This week the BBC will announce there have been more than a million downloads of the symphonies during the month-long scheme. But the initiative has infuriated the bosses of leading classical record companies who argue the offer undermines the value of music and that any further offers would be unfair competition.

You really do just find yourself banging your head into your hands, don't you? Apart from the positive upswing for classical music offered by this initiative, they're not FREE; we've paid for them through our licence fee.

Besides: It's time to take a strong stand against the nonesense that giving away the odd bit of music "undermines the value of music" - it's business bollocks, and these companies know it. When the woman in the uniform offers a sample of the new sort of cheese in tesco, Tesco doesn't then see its sales of cheeses fall by 30% - "I was going to buy some cheddar and two tubs of philadelphia, but now I've had a small cube of Port Salut, I don't see why I should pay for any cheese ever again. Indeed, I'm going to steal a cow..."


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