Thursday, January 19, 2006

THE MUSIC INDUSTRY CUTS BACK

All that cash being poured into the legal action against its own consumers must be having some effect, right?

The IFPI certainly believes it is. The group - designed to extend the RIAA influence glonbaly - has produced a report trilling that everything's going swimmingly. Chairman John Kennedy introduces their new figures:

"The strategy will not eradicate the problem, but it is containing it.

"Consumer research shows that every second person who cut back on illegally file-sharing has done so out of concern for the legal consequences."


So the idea of all this money being pissed up against a wall - originally as an "educative" measure designed to wipe out filesharing altogether - is now merely being spent in order to stop the problem getting worse. Imagine if Bush tried to sell the War on Terror that way - "We feel that its cash well spent to ensure we only continue to lose a couple of skyscrapers every five or six years. The problem is controlled. Rejoice."

Still, it's nice to see someone admitting that the filesharers will always be with us. And his claim on the effectiveness is impressive, isn't it?

Well, not really. All that money, and only half the people who claim to be filesharing less than they were when it started have been doing so because of it? Wouldn't the cash have been better spent investigating why the other 50% have cut back, and seeing if that would form a much more consumer friendly version of dealing with what the record companies view as a problem?

And you'll note that Kennedy doesn't even say how many this "every second person" is. The IFPI reckon there are 20% fewer illegal files on the networks than there were two and a half years ago - which means, in effect, hundreds of thousands of pounds have been spent removing - best case scenario - just one out of every ten dodgy mp3 files.

And that's if you believe the IFPI's figures. Another report, from an independent source, Jupiter, believes that the number of illegal tracks on the internet has remained steady for the last two years. It's survey of 3000 people in UK, Germany and Spain suggests that 35% of filesharers aren't using the peer to peer networks as much as before (perhaps half, like Kennedy suggests, are scared of being sued, although other options - legal services available, the rise of the mp3 blog, or simply there coming a point when you've filled your iPod up and find yourself halfway through downloading Doop by Doop and realise you have all the songs you could ever want for now so only download new stuff - are more likely); however, 14% are shovelling more into their harddrives than ever before.

Pleasingly, if Kennedy's 50% ratio is right, then every person who is dropping their download activity because of the legal action is being replaced by more than one person increasing theirs.

Kennedy also touched on DRM:

Mr Kennedy, writing in the report, said that DRM "helps get music to consumers in new and flexible ways".

He said DRM was a "sometimes misunderstood element of the digital music business".


Well, that's true. For example, John Kennedy misunderstands DRM when he thinks its about "helping" getting music to music lovers. The sole reason for the existence of DRM is to prevent music being moved around flexibly. To frame it as an enabling mechanism is akin to suggesting that the Berlin Wall was intended to enhance the attractiveness of living in East Berlin.


3 comments:

eyetie said...

"Well, that's true. For example, John Kennedy misunderstands DRM when he thinks its about "helping" getting music to music lovers. The sole reason for the existence of DRM is to prevent music being moved around flexibly. To frame it as an enabling mechanism is akin to suggesting that the Berlin Wall was intended to enhance the attractiveness of living in East Berlin."

Absolutely spot-on. They believe in freedom of the individual as much as Tesco believes in shoplifting. Thanks for that.

Eric2 said...

Fine. I hope the class action suit against Sony and their lame rootkit virus will be global as well.

jenna k. said...

I think Bush does try to sell the War on Terror that way, and it does work. It might work for the record industries too, especially if they can somehow tie filesharing to the September 11 attacks.

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