Wednesday, November 10, 2010

McGuinness on the Music Industry

This months Australian Rolling Stone Magazine (issue 708 November 2010) has an article from U2 Manager Paul McGuinness titled 'MANIFESTO: How to Save the Music Business'. He writes that free is killing the music industry with it being much harder than ever to get a record deal from a major label. He states that ISPs have made a heap of money out of piracy, that artists find it very difficult to speak out about file sharing with those that have attracting wide condemnation (Lilly Allen style). McGuinness suggests that the newspaper and film industries are also at risk and that something must be done to stop illegal sharing. His vision of the future is one of streaming services and he applauds the New Zealand and French Governments for the introduction of their graduated response schemes. Furthermore he states that the clever people like Steve Jobs and the makers of Facebook need to do more to create an environment in which the music industry can again prosper.

I found this to be interesting to read even if I disagreed with most of it - I have already spelled out my views in the last couple of posts so read on if you would like a recap on that. The one thing I do agree with is the difficult position artists find themselves in, they cant really speak out about file sharing without being accused of being 'uncool'. The Allen backlash is just one example of this, and so instead they say nothing. While much of sharing music is about exploration and in many cases this leads to financial reward or does not displace a sale because without sharing the consumer would not have bought it anyway, there are some that share without ever buying. The trouble for many major label artists is that they are caught in the cross fire - they cant risk their own careers by supporting file sharing even if they think it is good nor can they risk losing fans by condemning it. But is saying nothing really working?

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