Mike Oldfield's continuing complaints that EMI allowed the Mail On Sunday to give away the whole of Tubular Bells for free have brought about a wounded response from the paper. They've taken a two page ad in Music Week to defend their actions, even claiming that giving away the album boosted sales:
MoS managing director Stephen Miron said: “The whole argument is that we are devaluing music, but we are creating a stimulus.”
Miron confirmed that the MoS was keen to continue covermounting entire albums, where possible. “I don’t think we are the enemy in this,” he said.
“I think people would like us to be the enemy. The issues that come about are from retailers putting pressure on the record companies not to do these things. In reality, the music companies would – given a free way – do much more of this.”
Lots for EMI to use to defend itself there, then - although, of course, it might choose not to. Because if it agrees that giving away an entire album for free boosts sales of that very album, never mind other works by the artist, then it can hardly continue to deny that filesharing can stimulate legitimate sales, can it?
And if the Mail On Sunday is telling the truth when it suggests that record companies would continue covermounts if allowed, why is this form of giving music away not educating people to get used to not paying for music, a common complaint about filesharing and online services raised by the labels?