Friday, December 08, 2006

Universal will doubtless be looking for a quid from each phone now

As if the the music industry didn't have enough to worry about, what with underperforming Robbie Williams albums and the cruel, cold slap of Andrew Gowers, now there's another boogerman to keep them awake at night: Children swapping songs with bluetooth telephones.

According to a survey by Intuitive Media, the swapping of songs is fairly common - a third of the sampled eight-to-thirteen year-olds swap songs; half of the rest said they'd "like to" (we're not sure why they're not doing so already - laziness? the idea hadn't occured to them before they were asked about it?).

Surprisingly, the BPI's response is rather laid back:

Matt Phillips, communications manager for the BPI, which represents the UK music industry, said: "The illegal sharing of music is clearly a concern for the record industry.

He added: "While swapping songs via Bluetooth is a concern for the industry, it hasn't caused the same problems as illegal p2p filesharing as it's copying on a one-to-one, rather than one-to-millions basis.

"Ultimately the way to grow revenues with mobile will be to offer music fans what they want and encourage them to get their music legally."

Did they get him out of bed and force him to come up with his quote upside-down? Or have the music industry just changed their minds? After all, we've been told over and over again that downloading an uncleared track was identical to stealing a CD from a shop, and we can't quite see how, theoretically at least, getting a track from a friend would be different from that in this framework. Unless the BPI is only worried about shoplifting when thousands of copies of the same record? And isn't a bloke making a copy of a Sandi Thom album and selling it at teabreak down the office to another friend also copying on a one-to-one, rather than one-to-millions basis? Has the BPI suddenly stopped worrying about that, too?

Or is the organisation inconsistent and just floating about without a clue how to react to any slightly different implementation of technology?