Monday, August 31, 2009

UK Music's hidden data, hidden agenda

Here's some cheering news for the music industry - a survey which confirms that younger people are quite happy to pay for music - to own, not to stream - because they like owning stuff. Sure, they're only willing to pay a fair price - but that's what the market is all about.

If only the people representing the music industry knew about this information, eh? They could stop pouring money into legal battles, stop having to buy lunch for Peter Mandelson, and just concentrate on selling to this vast market.

If only they knew.

Oh, hang on. They do, and it was their survey: Feargal Sharkey has grudgingly admitted that UK Music had discovered exactly where that price point is, but won't admit it because "it's commercially sensitive".

Although UK Music is supposed to be an umbrella organisation campaigning for everyone, so shouldn't it be sharing that information with everyone? Or would it be a little awkward, given the line from the RIAA-BPI massive that new, heavy-handed rules are the only way to allow the incumbents to develop a digital online business? "We need to have people thrown off the internet... because otherwise we might have to adjust our prices to a level dictated by the marketplace like, ooh, everyone else.

Sharkey would not be drawn on the stance of UK Music – which represents record labels, managers, writers and musicians – on this week's Government U-turn on disconnecting alleged file sharers. The Government extended its Digital Britain consultation period this week to allow time for responses on its plan, which does not involve court oversight.

Sharkey said that UK Music would be having a board meeting in September to decide its stance, but did say that something had to be done.

Funny, he didn't seem to be saying "ooh, let's wait for the board meeting" when he was on the BBC News Channel's five o'clock News Hour to praise them as being an important part of the "debate".

You can hear the full interview with Sharkey at the Out-Law website.