Sunday, January 27, 2008

MIDEM 2008: Labels embrace peer-to-peer technology

Yet more confused positions from the big labels emerges as QTrax is announced at MIDEM.

Having spent years insisting that giving away music for nothing teaches that music is valueless, and thus not worth paying for, the labels eventually added the rider 'except, of course, if there's advertising being sold and we get a share - then, magically, the idea of giving music away doesn't teach the negative message', now the labels are, um, throwing their weight behind file-sharing.

Yes, in the same week that the IFPI issued a report which suggested that filesharing was difficult, unpopular and offered a poor range of music choices, comes the announcement of QTrax. QTrax is a free, peer-to-peer service which will also be advertising supported - and it's got the labels on board. Because they are having their mouths shoved full with QTrax's gold, and because Microsoft's DRM is going to make the tracks virtually unusable, the majors are happy to give the nod to the service.

It's nice to see the record companies finally accepting that they're not going to wipe filesharing off the internet and trying to find a way to work with it; it's just unfortunate that they've missed the factors which have made illegal file-sharing such a success. And it's going to be fun to watch the RIAA trying to vilfy filesharing, except for the bits its members have financial interests in.