So, after initially recognising the truth that Lily Allens position on file-sharing – her pro-Mandelson notion that ‘persistent file-sharers’ should have their internet connections cut off/crippled – was nonsense, they’ve now turned round and said, “ah no, see when Lily was talking like a complete loony? yeah, we’re all about that now. Rock on, with your Machiavellian internet snooping!” Here’s a link to their statement on it.
So the group that were supposedly there to represent ‘artists’ in all this are trying to take away the best free option for artists to be discovered. To place it back in the hands of those who would charge a fortune for the service of trying to get your music out to an audience, in the hope that they’ll pay for it in the end. Those services – none of which are performance related (you don’t get a refund on a magazine ad if everyone ignores it) are the good guys, and your fans getting excited about what you do and getting their friends to listen to it is a bad idea.
I’m a big fan of some of the artists who signed the list and pretty good friends with some others – but I don’t think they could be more wrong, misguided, dim, ill-conceived, stupid, moronic, self-defeating. For example:
- How is this monitored?
- Have they thought about just how easy it is to hide your IP?
Have they thought about:
- the cost of monitoring this stuff,
- cross referencing it against lists of stuff that is actually legal to be added to file sharing sites,
- checking the terms of any licensing agreements to make sure the tracks in question aren’t legal,
- repairing broken metadata (will they be able to find a Billy Bragg album that I make available on bit torrent if I call it a “steve lawson demo collection”, but send an email to my mates telling them what it really is so they can grab it?)
It’s unenforceable, ludicrous, and just sets up more lines for the people who design this software – who are WAYYYY cleverer than you – to cross. This shit is easy to get round, all you do is set yourself up as someone who’s more concerned about regulation than you are about connecting with your audience. The only people that will benefit from this are the people who run the agencies set up to monitor traffic, and the much cleverer people who will be finding ways round it.
I’ve said it before but indie artists are massively under-represented on torrenting sites. Why is that? Because people are in touch with us, and are less likely to anonymously share the music of their friends. Make friends with your audience, and this stuff evens itself out. Bit Torrent isn’t the first place people look for my music because it’s available in easier places. But if they do go there, I hope they find some and listen to me. I’d rather they listened than didn’t. And given how expensive a radio plugger would be to get my stuff out there, I’m happy to trade some ‘free publicity’ for the ‘risk’ that those people might not pay for it later.
Instead of looking at the massive opportunity that file sharing offers musicians to be discovered at ZERO cost, the FAC have backed the old school idea that has been failing artists for the last 50 years. There was no golden age, there was no time when ‘the recording industry’ was good for musicians. It has never existed, but it could now. But the FAC are too damn stupid/greedy/backwards to see it.
Dear FAC. I’m so glad I didn’t look to join you when you formed. I’d have to quit now, and tell you what a sham I think your organisation is. You muppets.by