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ISPs Agree Deal With Music Industry And UK Government To Tackle Illegal Filesharing


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Firstly, let me applaud this agreement as a step in the right direction. Let me ask all these file sharers screaming that the Radiohead business model worked so f*$k the labels and all artists should follow that Radiohead route. Why do you think the recent Radiohead business model was a success? Radiohead already had a high profile, thanks to many years of a large major label-marketing budget. If bands do not have access to marketing budgets such as Radiohead and Prince did, it will be down to short-sighted people like you and your fellow file sharers.

What these rampant file sharers profess is fine for large already established acts. It is not a viable business model for new and upcoming artists. Simple! Ask these new up and coming artists how they feel about that…

Delving deeper, does this agreement between the BPI, the UK government and ISPs address the key issues regarding reasons for file sharing? Sadly, I think not. A large percentage of illegal file sharing is undertaken by teens that do not have access to credit cards, which are the predominant method of legally purchasing music in the digital realm. I do not buy into views that these kid’s parents can provide iTunes accounts for their kids. For starters kids/tweens and teens do not want their parents knowing what music they purchase or listen to (think back to when you were a teenager). So that is a non-starter.

Yes, kids can purchase iTunes gift cards with their pocket money at physical shops, but they are time short and from a demographic that wants it instantly, where and how they demand, without the delay of having to go to a physical shop. It is not and I repeat is not like the golden days when a physical record shop was a cool place to hang out and go discover and purchase music when people like my parents or myself were growing up. And anyway 98% of songs on an iPod have been side-loaded.

Furthermore, purchasing an iTunes gift card still necessitates a credit card requirement because to have an iTunes account you need to input credit card details. Are we really happy with a further propping up of what is in reality a digital music monopoly in the form of iTunes? What about more ideas like Playlouder MSP where unlimited file sharing is included in your broadband ISP subscription? Yet would that also require having credit cards and therefore parents involved?

Many kids do have a mobile phone, once again this is usually paid for by their parents with strict limits on purchasing content, and even if it were not, would we be happy with our kids paying over the odds, as mobile content consumption is more expensive if data charges for MP3 downloads are taken into account. Going a step further despite the higher EUP (end user price) of digital music purchase via mobile than online, content owners receive less gross and net income from operators. How about a re-calibration of this fact?

To enable a barrier less entry to legal music consumption in the digital realm we require an in-depth analysis of content payment options in the digital realm, which do not require access to credit cards. This would no doubt open the floodgates to kids legally consuming music in the digital realm. So is the ad—funded model the way forward as it costs the young consumer nothing to consume the music they want?

Obviously, it would not stop illegal file sharing in its tracks as kids generally do state that they use P2P activity to listen before they purchase as the industry and lets be honest with ourselves here, we do put out a lot of absolute crap. We only have ourselves, and the music industry we all work in and love so much to blame for this predicament.

Let’s be really honest with ourselves. The recorded music industry has been responsible for some atrocious rip-offs of the artists they rely on. In some respects, comments from file sharer about record labels ripping off their artists are entirely justifiable. To adequately defend these charges the industry needs to commit to transparent and equitable reporting and royalty rates. If we want to hold the moral high ground the recorded music industry rightly must address these issues as well.

On a final note, this new agreement is still criminalizing our industries consumers. Should we not also be examining how to monetize illegal file sharing especially the marketing and usage data which in itself is worth millions especially if labels are going to be successful in their pursuit of D2C operations….





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