New York Times article on musicians and file sharing

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Technology
September 14th, 2003 • 7:02 pm

Interesting article in the The New York Times about the recent legal crackdown by the RIAA and the way that musicians find themselves caught in the middle of the controversy.

Here’s what Moby had to say:

How can a 14-year-old who has an allowance of $5 a week feel bad about downloading music produced by multimillionaire musicians and greedy record companies,” he wrote. “The record companies should approach that 14-year-old and say: ‘Hey, it’s great that you love music. Instead of downloading music for free, why don’t you try this very inexpensive service that will enable you to listen to a lot of music and also have access to unreleased tracks and ticket discounts and free merchandise?’ ”

It’s hard to put it more simply.

Other artists are, of course, more ambivalent about the whole thing, but it’s telling that those who are more in favour of the legal crackdown are also those who have accepted the numbers provided by the RIAA about the CD sales decline without questioning their validity. (The NYT article quotes Rodney Crowell, a country music artist: In some ways, I think the record companies have it coming, but at the same time, being a writer and therefore in the business of copyright, they’re saying it’s impacting our business by 30 percent or more, so we have to do something. [my emphasis])

In actual fact, there is still little evidence that the decline in CD sales is actually directly related to file sharing. The article quotes a Forrester Research study that indicates that the actual amount of the decline is 15 percent, and only 35 percent of that amount is caused by unauthorized downloading. That means about 5 percent of the decline. It’s not negligible, but it’s not the big issue that the RIAA is claiming.

The real issue is that artists are not getting any royalties from their CDs. How does anyone justify the continuation of such a practice?

Comments are closed.

Leave a Reply

Comments are closed.