Monday, July 19, 2010

Milo Yiannopoulos: Give mp3s away for nothing

You wouldn't normally expect the Telegraph to be talking up ideas involving loosening of property rights, but we do live in strange times. Milo Yiannopoulos, Telegraph tech blogger, has considered the staggering figures that the US music industry has burned through $16million to reclaim $391,000 pursuing unlicensed music through the courts. And comes to a conclusion:

So if we accept that file-sharing is unstoppable, and that attempts to curb it might leave us with something even worse, wouldn’t the logical consequence would be to make MP3s free, and freely shareable? Yeah, I know. But take a deep breath and think about it for a second. And yes, I do realise I'm not remotely the first person to come up with this. But I'm perhaps the latest person to be won over to it.

Giving MP3s away would require that record labels basically give up on studio recordings as a revenue channel. On the face of it, it sounds heretical and preposterous. I mean, they’re record companies because they make records, right?

Physical product, streaming services, live sales - these are the areas where Yiannopoulos sees those who want to make money from music actually doing so. To be fair, I think Apple and Amazon have shown that there is money to be made selling mp3s, too - although what they sell is ease of discovery (and, I guess, if they added virtual storage too, so you'd no longer lose your collection if you computer got taken off you by the police, they'd have an even more compelling product).

But the general point - you can't stop people copying and pasting, accept that it's part of the landscape - is a tune that long-term readers of No Rock won't be surprised to hear has me nodding along.

Today, even The Telegraph gets it. How many more years will be lost before the RIAA catches up?

[Thanks to Michael M]