Music Industry: Whoops, our bad . . .


Oh, about that whole “Please help us, our industry is being killed by illegal file sharing? Sorry, our bad:”

“With album sales rising and the phenomenal growth of ringtones and legal downloads, plus record-breaking years for merchandising and publishing rights, it seems the death of the music industry has been greatly exaggerated.

According to recent record industry figures, UK sales rose by 4% in the first half of last year. The Publishing Rights Society reported that performance royalty collections (everything but record sales) in 2003 were the highest since records began in 1914.

In the US, Billboard Boxscore reported that the number of live music events worldwide was up by 25% in 2003 (generating £1.2bn in North America alone). Legal sales of downloadable songs topped 2m units a week for the first time last week. Apple’s iTunes service has sold more than 30m songs, and has yet to celebrate its first birthday.

Moreover, the astonishing growth of the ringtone market continues to take everyone by surprise. Estimates as to its true size vary widely from a conservative £600,000 from Jupiter Research to a bullish £1.9m by the ARC Group.

And all this is happening in the age of illegal filesharing.

But hey, this doesn’t mean we need to roll back all of that anti competitive legislation, do we? Its all right if we keep extending copyright far far beyond the original intent of the constitutional framers, um k? (Hey, we got a business to run).

Don’t blame our legislative affairs department — they were only doing their jobs. OK, maybe they did it a bit too well. Just because we in the music industry played Congress for a bunch of chumps, getting them to do our bidding doesn’t mean that any of that needs to be undone. We bought the Congress fair and square, and are entitled to keep our ill gotten legislative plunder.

That whole P2P thing? Also our bad:

“It also looks as if digital downloads are the saviour of the industry rather than their destroyer. As John Ingham, of O2, pointed out during the debate: “When videotape came out, the film industry fought it tooth and nail. Today, video and DVD outstrips cinema.”

So, despite years of executives bemoaning the death of the music industry, we are instead in a situation where people are spending more on music than ever, thanks largely to the music being available in more formats than ever.

If anything is in crisis, it is the record industry. The wider music industry is far from it.”

Whoops . . .


Second sight
Sean Dodson
The Guardian Thursday February 26, 2004,11710,1155713,00.html

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