Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Fergal Sharkey: Music industry dove

Into the conference of the ISP Assocation at the weekend strode Feargal Sharkey, in his current iteration as head of British Music Rights. After the BPI's 'three-strikes' bad cop, Feargal came in with a cup of tea and kind words:

He offered an olive branch to the embattled British ISP industry in his speech: let's make lots of money.

"For me, the business model of the future is one where music is bundled into an ISP or other subscription service and the revenues are shared between the distributor and the content owners," he told the audience.

"This is the debate we need to get back on track: how to unlock [the] insatiable demand for music, and in a way that grows both of our businesses. Surely the bright and brilliant minds in this room can help figure this out?"

Sharkey is a lovely man, isn't he? And you've got give him kudos for attempting to recast the situation in a more positive glow - they're trying to "unlock" the insatiable demand for music, rather than the more honest description of current activities, which are attempting to put locks and constraints on that desire; holding out the prospect of everyone making some money off music, turning the role of the ISPs from protecting other people's revenue streams to protecting their own.

It doesn't make the idea of private corporations having people thrown off the internet on their say-so any more attractive or acceptable, but you've got to admire Sharkey's attempts to make it more pleasing for the ISPs.


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