stevelawson.net

Steve's Blog: Solo Bass & Beyond



Lily Allen and The Politics Of Self-Interest

September 30th, 2009 | 45 Comments | Categories: New Music Strategies · tips for musicians |

I know, I’m a week late writing about Lily Allen and her attempts to back Peter Mandelson’s campaign to have ‘persistent file sharers’ internet connections taken away. (and in the meantime, she’s taken down her anti-file sharing blog, and allegedly quit music!)

There have been a lot of responses to this, many of them suggesting that Lily (and her brothers in arms James Blunt and Gary Barlow) don’t make music worth buying so they deserve to have it pirated…

So let’s deal with that first. Your (or my) impression of the ‘worth’ of Lily Allen’s music has no bearing whatsoever on whether she’s talking sense or not. She could be John Coltrane saying this, or she could be the Reynolds Girls. It makes no odds.

What’s more important is why she’s saying it.

What’s her interest in it? Is she broke? I’m guessing not. Are her records not selling? Uhm, I think she’s had two number 1 albums… Does she REALLY care about ‘record company investment’ in up and coming artists? How can she when after TWO NUMBER ONE ALBUMS she claims that “The days of me making money from recording music has been and gone as far as I’m concerned ” – this is completely insane! I MAKE MONEY FROM RECORDED MUSIC AND I SELL LESS THAN A THOUSAND PHYSICAL ALBUMS A YEAR!!! [deep breath...]

Does she really think that that’s the way bands will be discovered these days, and in the future? by record companies spending money in the way they have for the past 40 years??? Does she also think that ‘success’ in the future will be measured by the 100s of thousands of ‘units’ you sell (while still failing to recoup), or your ability to play the music you love to an audience who love it without going into debt to a record company ‘advance’ to do it

As someone who made a massive deal out of the fact that her fanbase was a ‘grass roots’ thing, growing on Myspace (a free service), her advocacy for large scale record company expenditure being vital to the future of the record industry seems ill-thought-out at best, and outright misinformation at worst.

Is her objection really as ‘moral/ethical’ as her language implies it to be? Does she really think that the moral implications of people sharing music online are so heinous? (and let’s not forget that the tools that make it possible are also used increasingly by musicians to deliberately make their music available for free so that their audience can do their promo for them – a process that was previously MASSIVELY expensive, and most of the time, not recouped on record sales, due to the wastage and speculation involved…)

Does she really believe that in the world of commerce around music, the moral imperative lies with the actions of big record labels, and that fans downloading the music they WANT TO LISTEN TO are in some way ethically compromised by that desire and action?

I wonder what other actions that are associated with the music industry Allen/Blunt and Barlow are campaigning about. I wonder if, given the strong link between the international drugs trade and the glamourising of drug-taking that the music world – musicians, labels, press and fans alike – have been involved in, they’re now going to put their weight behind a shop-the-junky campaign.

Perhaps there should be plans to snoop on musicians, in case, from their position of influence, they are involved in drug taking. Maybe she’ll want CCTV put in tour buses, dressing rooms, venue toilets, record company offices. All monitored by police, paid for by the tax payer, so that those people who are doing drugs – supporting the multi-billion-dollar drugs trade and leading impressionable kids to think that drugs are cool – can be stopped. Sounds great, huh?

Which action has a greater negative effect on the world – the downloading of music, with a view to listening to it, getting more into the band, sharing the news about that band with your friends, and then checking out what else they’ve done, and buying the bits that make sense to spend money on… or the drugs industry?

The ‘self-interest’ part of this is that she’s become a part of an industry that over-spends and under delivers, that sees no value in anything other than selling pieces of plastic, and hasn’t cottoned on to just how cheaply and awesomely music can be made these days. If you live in a world where the only point to making music is to sell a million albums – and all of a sudden you’re only selling 600,000 but still spending as though you were going to sell a million, then you’re screwed. Utterly.

But that’s not the fault of file sharing. If you can’t make money off of the physical product you’re already selling, your budgeting is wrong wrong wrong. What hope do you have of making more money from more sales? Her first album sold 2.6 MILLION copies – if she’s not a millionaire, she’s either generous to a fault, massively wasteful, or she’s being ripped off by the very industry she’s trying to defend. Surely if 2.6 million sales isn’t enough, 3 million sales will make her even poorer, due to whatever those random costs are that mean she’s not making money from it!

Part II, we’ll look at Some of what already goes on in the industry that is worse than file sharing for musicians.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Similar Posts elsewhere in this blog:

`

Tags: · , , , ,

45 Comments so far ↓

  • Mat

    I’m not sure exactly why you’re linking the music industry and the drug trade, this is a complete irrelevance. Will you also criticise art, books, television, film?

    Also, just because the Music Industry has completely fouled up, and continues to do so, it doesn’t mean that Lily is wrong. This is not black and white, this is a complex social and economic issue and frankly, most people don’t seem up to understanding it.

    Also, to the poster that tried to equate The Beatles to Lily, how very poor That recording budget that you think is so outrageous, do you know where most of it goes? On people, on paying people like producers, engineers, musicians, caterers, even taxi drivers.

    You write about self interest from Lily, whereas there is nothing more self-interested than the arguments coming from the Freetards. I want, I want music, I want to choose when I pay, I want to do what I want and screw every one else, screw the composer, the artist, the sessionists, the studio staff, the marketing staff who make it possible for you to actually hear the artist through the mountains of shit that there are on the internet, screw them because it’s all fat cats isn’t it? Well, it will be in the end because half the hard working people I know in the industry have lost their jobs. Yes, bad decision making by top industry executives is to blame, but so is file-sharing. It is costing people their livelihoods, and the irony is that the people making the most noise about music being free are probably the same people who would in a typically reactionary way say that Thatcher was bad (though she was) and that they supported the coal miners.

    Can file sharing be justified? Yes, of course it can, but at the moment there is no precedent or system for doing this, and there needs to be. This is the issue, not Lily quite rightfully wanting to protect her interests. I’ve been shocked by the sneering, bullying reaction of the public at large and the complete lack of empathy from commentators who seem almost jealous of Lily and frankly should know better. If you want a debate, let’s debate how we fund music, who pays, what payment models should there be, because there needs to be one.

    After all, the term ‘pay the piper’ exists from pre-Record industry days and it still applies.

  • cyberdoyle

    great reply Steve. The trouble with all these sites is the lack of reasoned and informed debate. Piracy is a very controversial debate, but you do seem to have a handle on it and speak for the views of many in a very sensible way. kudos.

  • steve

    Mat (starting a new thread, cos they’ll only nest so deep :) )…

    So, marketing – marketing is telling people about music. Who better to do that than the people who like you? Let the 5 fans you’ve got give away your music to get you some more fans, and so on. Why speculate with money when you can speculate with music? The music IS essentially ‘free’ as a resource at that point. The alternative is that you run up a debt, in the hope that at the end of it you can pay off that debt by selling some music. There’s no guarantee, and the majority of the time, you won’t recoup.. oh, the record WILL make more than it ‘actually’ cost to make, but because of all the ancillary charges, press-junkets, wasted radio pluggers, limos etc. etc. all expensed without asking you – not to mention the THOUSANDS of CDs given away to anyone in the industry with a passing interest (that’s OK, it’s promotional… honest, it’s good for the artist, cos obviously, people who work in uhm, the accounts dept, getting CDs that the artist pays to have pressed out of their money, but doesn’t get their royalty on because of the way the accounting works… you get the picture.)

    It’s broken. Marketing only requires a team if your intention is it sell hundreds of thousands of records. Marketing people can be hired, by an artist, with their own money. Where’s the money going to come from? Anywhere – get a day job, take out a loan (which is what the record contact was in the first place) find a marketing person who believes in you, becomes part of the team and gets paid as you do…

    As for Arena bands – why on earth would you worry about Arena bands? I can’t even begin to imagine playing music so that I could one day play arenas. Arenas are a really shitty solution to the problem of having too many fans for a proper gig. Yeah, they’re a great communal experience etc. etc. but they’re shit for music. It’s impossible to connect without being an egomaniac, the sound is never as good as it can be in a decent listening environment, they’re hugely wasteful in terms of resources, ticket prices are sky high, food is awful, queues for the loos are long. It’s not a human-friendly environment, it’s a crap compromise. IMHO ;)

    You seem to be talking as though the aim of someone suggesting that Lily is wrong needs to be to show how the scale of the music industry as it stands can be maintained under whatever follows the age of the major label. I don’t think it does, I think it can all be re thought out, that mega-stardom can disappear as quickly as it appeared, and we can look at the latter half of the 20th century as a curious blip on the 10,000+ year history of the relationship between human beings and music.

    Thanks for the debate – I’m really getting a lot out of it. I really appreciate you taking the time to put your case so eloquently :)

  • Al

    Hi Mat -

    Hmm, I’ve always mistrusted that ‘people getting into gigs for free’ argument; it seems to me to be a false comparison, albeit one that the music industry finds useful.

    A venue is a finite space, squeezing more people into it creates a variety of actual losses, including loss for audience members (less pleasant gig experience), venue managers (health & safety / licensing issues) & the band (grumpy audience!).

    Being strict about it, copying a song / album only creates a potential loss; that is, the loss of a potential sale of that song / album. It’s worth noting that there’s no guarantee that the copier would have paid money to get a copy of the material if they couldn’t copy it for free.

    Also, that potential loss could well be offset by an actual benefit – the listener decides they like the music, and goes off and actually buys more of it, or buys gig tickets, or whatever.

    An overpacked gig is bad for everyone, but a copied music file could well result in no actual financial loss, while simultaneously seeding further positive engagement with that particular musician / band (isn’t there research floating round that says that those that copy most are also those that spend most?).

    Anyway, trying to summarise the above – my sense is – admittedly more superficial than I’d want it to be – that, by using metaphors like that, the music industry (on average) avoids differentiating between potential and actual losses, doesn’t relate file sharing patterns to purchasing patterns in an in-depth way, and doesn’t factor potential positives into the equation when calculating the losses that it assume result from file sharing.

    Of course, music sales have dropped substantially over the last few years, but is that just a symptom of a shift into free music copying? There’s much more competition for an unchanged amount of entertainment consuming time these days – more TV channels, whole home entertainment genres that didn’t even exist 10 years ago (gaming, social media, etc).

    Given this, could it be that reduced music sales are a natural function of increased competition from other *fun things to do*, rather than from the depredations of illegal filesharers? Perhaps the music industry as a whole shouldn’t be battling filesharing, but rather coming to terms with the fact that their share of people’s entertainment budget / time has been permanently reduced by this proliferation of other *really cool stuff to do*?

    I do agree, though, that there shouldn’t be a general assumption that all music should be free. What’s difficult, tho’, is finding the unreproducible / difficult to reproduce experience that people will be willing to pay for. An irony of the filesharing hoo-hah is that it’s revealed that people weren’t actually paying for the music; they were paying for someone to go to the trouble of selecting, pressing, distributing and packaging for them, because they couldn’t do that themselves (as I think you pointed out).

    Now they can, so they don’t actually need the parts of the record industry that do that any more. Which bits DO they need? What CAN’T people do for themselves, in this digital age?

    My money’s either on the unreproducability of performance itself (Madonna seems to be the biggest person so far to acknowledge that), or on some kind of unique interaction with the artist’s creative vision (quite apart from the stuff that Steve suggests above).

    But who really knows? It took people a long time to work out what books were for once printing had been invented – we’ve been handed this astonishing transmedia *thing*, who knows what people will be doing with it in a decade or several; going back to The Beatles, could anyone have predicted ‘Sergeant Pepper’ from ‘I want to hold your hand’? And they weren’t even a new medium, but just a new band using mostly pre-existing technology.

    Btb also on the Lily thing – on the one hand, the web does lead easily to mass bullying, which is bad; but equally, her post seemed to me to bury fair points in a not particularly well thought through rant. Amplify a poorly thought through rant through a very big megaphone (which she most definitely did), and you’re going to get a not particularly pleasant echo coming back at you! But yup, there can indeed be something very unpleasantly thuggish about the internet mob when it’s back is up…

  • Andrew

    If I was a cartoonist – I’d have an image of Lilly Allen and King Canute sitting by the ocean with their feet wet, sharks in the water and a pirate ship on the horizon. Negligible cost digital distribution is here and the era of the major labels is over.
    The morality argument is difficult at the moment because we’re slap bang in the middle of change but I have no doubt that the future of music involves free distribution – what we now call file-sharing or pirating.
    The music industry of the last 50 years was all about corporate retail. The speed in which a profit could be turned was perfected from production through distribution to marketing; a figure like Clive Davis wasn’t really any different from the senior selector at Marks and Spencer – he probably just got laid more.
    But it’s over and having the Music Industry lobby the government to impose controls and restrictions on the very medium (the internet) that is transforming society is about as morally bankrupt as it gets. And Mat – I am sorry to hear about the job losses – but that’s how technology works:
    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1TOK/is_6/ai_n25009527/
    The truly immoral position is that the executives in the music industry who should have been prescient, seen the change and then re-tooled and re-trained their workforce shoved the profits up their nose and baled in their golden parachutes.

  • Ben Walker

    Steve, you’re a legend among men. There’s nothing I thought to respond through this whole discussion that you haven’t already covered, and FWIW I agree entirely with your argument.

    I posted a lengthy comment on the #media140 site earlier today, and the comments there are worth a read too.

    I feel like there’s been an awful lot of conversation about musicians having the right to earn a living from their music recently. The early rants were quite emotional and difficult to engage with, but we seem to be reaching a point where we can talk about it sensibly (even when we disagree). This is a good thing.

  • Caroline Teunissen

    Steve

    Enjoyed reading your post very much. Was talking it over with my husband who sent me the link to this article.. which I think argues the case rather well too.

    I always wonder if Lily would have been such a hit if her father were not who he is.

    Anyway, Amanda says it better than me.
    http://bit.ly/nGzAp

  • Simon Fairbairn – Aural Antidotes for a Prescribed Life » Filesharing, once more

    [...] to Steve Lawson for providing some much needed perspective on this [...]

  • Simon Fairbairn

    Duuuuuude! Awesome!

    Thank you so much for providing some much needed perspective on this issue.

    I hope independent musicians can embrace the opportunity that filesharing specifically, and the internet generally, represents to them.

    This is the best time to be making music independently in the history of recorded music, if you’re willing to withhold judgement and experiment wildly.

    Kudos to Caroline for the Amanda Palmer tip.

    Si

  • paddy

    isn’t even. blog commenting whilst inerbriated isn’t always wise…

  • steve

    Thanks Hannah – my first bit about the nasty argument that ties this in with the quality of her music was partly about addressing that. This isn’t and can’t be a personal attack on Lily.

    However, she has chosen, quite calculatedly, to make herself the figurehead for the musicians who are publicly in opposition to the FAC stance, and back the nonsense that Mandelson is coming out with. She’s going to get shot down.

    Her reasoning is insane – as I said, at best it’s misguided, she may well have had the purest of motives. That’s not really for me to question. But if she *is* aware of what’s actually going on, and is still peddling an utterly unsustainable model where the people who make CDs make a fortune and artists selling 2.6 MILLION records claim that their days of making money from selling CDs are over, then she’s a massive liar and needs to be called out on that before she does any more damage.

    Her fame is the currency she’s trading on here, not the veracity of her argument. It’s unsubstantiated nonsense, and has rightly been torn apart intellectually. As is always the case on the internetz, it got nasty. I hope we can change tack :)

  • steve

    fantastic observation, thanks very much James! Not an angle I’d thought to explore, but it does seem a vital one.

  • steve

    of course they would! As I said at the start, how we feel about Lily as a person or musician can’t really be a factor here. What’s nuts is that a massively successful musician, whose entire career was built, as James Stewart so wisely points out above, in a time when filesharing was there before she ever made music, can say that the system doesn’t work.

    that Lily is classified as a ‘celeb’ is a sad indictment. Her ideas are either good or bad, regardless or celebrity, and the reality is that life online is great for musicians trying to make music that means something, find an audience and make that music available to them in a way that’s sustainable. It’s is made much easier by file sharing, than it was when record labels made decisions based on how good a gamble that band’s career was to them…

    I wish Lily Allen well, I hope she continues to make music, makes ever better music that she likes more and more with every album. If she wants some help working out how to turn 2.6 million sales of her first album into a sustainable career, I’d be more than happy to help.

  • steve

    …it worth saying explictly that there are no ‘knives’ here for Lily – I disagree with her vehemently, and am using the same technology she’s using to talk about it… :) Ah, the internet, don’t you love it?

  • steve

    the 2nd comment or the last paragraph of the first comment? Either way, I’m happy to elaborate…

    She wasn’t afraid to voice them, and has been taken to task by people who actually did their research, who have had a whole load of different insights about her career that she doesn’t seem to have had.

    I wouldn’t for a moment say she shouldn’t voice her opinion, but she also has to be open to people disagreeing with it, and eloquently saying why. There’s no reason to be impolite to her, to insult her, or suggest that her music is anything other than what she wants it to be. That as I said right at the start is not the point.

    The point is that she claims to be speaking on behalf of ‘up and coming musicians’ defending a record company system that has crapped on musicians for 50 years. The sharing and discovery possibilities of the internet are by far the best thing ever to happen to musicians looking for an audience.

    As for whether Lily should stand as an MP – she’d be wise to go and do a political science degree/masters/PhD first – that’s a really tough gig :)

  • steve

    Mat, I think the relevance is in the moral/ethical language that Lily adopted. That this was somehow about a ‘good’ business being destroyed by ‘bad’ people sharing files online. And it’s not – if you read my post about Spotify, I suggested that to turn it into good vs bad is a false dichotomy.

    Lily blindly seems to endorse the figures of the BPI, which assume that each downloaded track = one lost sale. That’s nuts. Downloading/firesharing, if you look at what people ACTUALLY do with it, is now a music discovery mechanism.

    Lily being concerned for her career is not a problem – I didn’t actually say that her self-interest was necessarily a bad thing. Dressing it up as concern for ‘the little people’ was a massive own goal.

    What is completely mad is defending a system that leads an artist who has sold somewhere in the region of 4 million records in an age of file sharing claiming that money can’t be made from recorded music. Unbelievable.

    For the record, I’m not of the ‘everything should be free’ camp. I pay for just about all the music I listen to that isn’t gifted to me by someone else, I often pay for ‘donation ware’ music and software, and I pay out of gratitude for it. I don’t necessarily pay based on the person’s ‘need’ (I’m as happy to pay rich people for what they do as I am poor…)

    Your mourning the loss of jobs in the industry is not a concern I share. Not because I don’t care about those people, but because there are going to be plenty of ways to make money from music and the making of music as we go forward. They just won’t be the same as the old ways.

    Comparisons with the miners are spurious due to the nationalisation argument – if a government creates an entire society based on the national production of the resources we need to survive, develops its town planning based on the perpetuation of that and then shuts down the industry that keeps those communities alive based on the option to save a few quid with foreign coal, we have a failing of government to adequately assess the ‘real cost’ of the foreign coal, or to prepare the communities affected for the transition. The social impact is immeasurable.

    The music industry is burying itself – it has a business model based on scarcity of supply in an age of ubiquity. That’s never going to work – it was created by itself, it built the myths that it operates on, and when something comes along that is better for artist and audience, the machine that was previously the intermediary had better adapt or disappear.

    The purpose of music was never to supply the product of the industry. The industry ‘should’ have been there to make music available to listeners as efficiently and cost effectively as possible. It didn’t, so its failing.

  • Ethan Waldman

    Tim-

    I LOVED the rap. Very clever lyrics.

  • Mat

    I confess, the miners argument is spurious to say the least. The point though is about people showing so called ‘solidarity’ to the workers, which many freetards would claim to do, unless they don’t want to. At least you have the balls to admit that you couldn’t care less about people’s jobs.

    As a matter of interest, how can a new artist make money? How can they reach the market and cut through all the shit that’s out there? Most music is utter shit, it’s why myspace is losing out so badly. How will the best stuff rise to the top? How will it be advertised to people who aren’t glued to hype machine?

    We agree that the industry is changing. But instead of kicking Lily Allen, who has been demonised and treated completely unfairly (and the drugs link is still laughable), we need to be debating how it’s going to work. Don’t just tell me there’s lots of ways of making money out of music, tell me what they are. Because at the fundamental level, people only like music they hear, and that’s what the labels have done.

  • steve

    but that’s just it, Mat, they haven’t – 9 out of 10 records DON’T recoup. they lose money. It’s not sustainable for musicians. It’s sustainable for the labels because they ‘spread bet’ – one big band can pay off all the others for the label, but they don’t cancel the debts of the little bands. So most bands get dropped, and don’t even own their own songs. It screws them.

    How do you make money? Well the bigger question is how the hell does the record industry stop behaving in a way that means most musicians LOSE money, but if you’re talking revenue streams, here’s a few:
    Selling your music to people who want it. There are millions and millions of people still buying music. Audiences are WAY more likely to buy from you if they’re talking to you, so talk to them. Sell digital online, and CDs/memory sticks/DVDs/whatever at gigs.
    Do gigs – I wonder how much Lily got paid for Glasto? My guess is a low 6-figure sum. Who can’t live on that??
    sell merch – t-shirts, badges, patches, mirrors, dead pigeons. Whatever works for your audience. Make it fair trade and everyone wins.
    charge for access – fan clubs can still work, if you offer something scarce. Do a band weekend.
    sync – I know LOADS of indie artists with publishing deals. They’re fairly easy to get, and don’t cost anything to set up.

    Here’s the bottom line – stop focusing on earning, start looking at not-spending. Ponder how you get 100,000 fans without spending a penny. Is it possible? try it. Then, when you’ve got those, and you’re broke, but not in debt, consider what a fucking AWESOME problem that would be to have. Zero cash, 100,000 fans.

    Instead, you could go with a label that’ll get you 4 million albums sales and the perception that there’s no way to make money from recorded music… choice is yours ;)

  • Al

    Mat, I’m intrigued by your response to Steve’s comments about people losing their job. I agree absolutely that it’s sad that they’re out of work; I’ve lost jobs, I know just how unpleasant it can be.

    But that shouldn’t effect analysis of the reasons for their current plight. I don’t think the problem is one of ‘freetards’ wilfully breaking the music industry; rather, a wider technological shift has permanently changed the economics of that industry, and in doing so has created true redundancies where once there was commercially rewarding work to be done.

    As I understand it, that’s exactly what happened when the recorded music industry itself began to develop. It created its own redundancies when it came in, decimating performance (and thus employment) opportunities for live musicians of one kind or another.

    Given that, by your logic surely the recorded music industry itself should itself have been put down at birth, to prevent all those earlier music employees from losing their jobs?

  • Al

    Which comes across a little snarkier than I meant it to! For which, apologies. But hopefully the essential point is there – illegal file sharers are a symptom of a broader technological shift of a kind that both gave birth to the recorded-music-industry-as-we’ve-known-it-till-recently, while also sweeping the previous version of the industry out of the way.

    Given that, it seems to me that the challenge is to understand the terms of the change and work productively with it (along the lines that Steve is suggesting), rather than looking to turn back the technological clock.

  • Mat

    Hi Al,

    Actually, the comparison doesn’t really work (and besides, the live industry has and continues to thrive). The comparison would be more like people getting into gigs for free because the technology was available for them to get in the back door.

    Again, I’m not against file sharing. I just believe that processes and precedents need to be put in place and that the punter has to understand that not everything is free. Maybe recordings are funded by the artist and clawed back through live and merch (it’ll be a rich kids game though), maybe brands pay, maybe punters subscribe, maybe music is included, maybe there’s a license added to internet.

    Whatever way, it is not free, it cannot be free. If I’m snarky it’s because this blog, like many others, is essentially an attack on an artist who has a fair point. I do not have an issue with discussions about the changing future of music.

  • Mat

    All of these ways of generating revenue are dependent on a fan base, and how do you build that? Marketing, and what does marketing cost? Money, certainly if you want any kind of skills resource to do that for you. That’s what labels do, they put the resources behind an act to break them and to launch their records. None of what you suggest is possible without a fan base. Where are the arena acts that have made it without a deal?

    You can spin the argument of unrecouped acts both ways, you could argue that as a result of this system many artists have got to record and release albums they would not have done on the back of the success of others. Let’s also be clear about the debt, it’s a recoupable, non-returnable advance.

    Now don’t get me wrong. I am no fan of the majors, they are wasteful and profligate and are now trying to make a ludicrous land-grab into areas they have no competency or actual interest in, aside from a suspicion they feel that money might be there. However, that doesn’t mean that Lily is 100% wrong, it doesn’t mean that piracy should be lauded and Lily should be derided for making what was actually a fairly common sense point.

    And that’s the point, saying that Lily has a point, pointing out that piracy is an issue and if we want recorded music (of any quality) someone has to pay, that’s not the same as wearing a massive I *I HEART RIAA* sticker (and yes, I do know that RIAA has no jurisdiction in the UK).

  • steve

    Al,

    re: your point about more fun things to do – spending on ‘physical entertainment media’ is up. A lot. Ask around at work and see how many people spend more on DVD boxed sets than they do on CDs… or on PS3/Wii/ZX Spectrum 48k games…

    It’s used to be music, or watch TV. It’s not any more.

    The 90s CD sales boom was to a MASSIVE degree people replacing vinyl on CD. no need to do that now, cos we can quite legally rip all our CDs to iPod, so no artificial bump as people move to a mis-sold format (how daft do we feel for believing that CD was a really high resolution format that was ‘virtually indestructable’.. ha! Suckers!)

    Too many massagable figures… Lies, damned lies and statistics :)

  • Al

    Ho yes – I wonder if one of the paradigm shifts necessary is for the music industry to move from seeing itself as a provider of primary entertainment (‘I sell Song X to music fan Bob’) to a provider of secondary entertainment (‘I license Song X to Production Company Y, who then sell it on to Bob as part of the soundtrack to their DVD box set / game / etc’). Packaging! Which means the people who’ll do best out of all this are the people who know how to package different media together in the most effective way – as Hollywood agents did in the 90s! Scary to think that that lot could have already invented the future of profitability in media…