Friday, 30 October 2009

Help keep Lilly Allen in boots and panties

I do feel like there is something very wrong in the world when our Government gives us three years to reduce file sharing by 80%, but 60 years to cut carbon emissions by the same levels. Climate change is the biggest threat known to our planet. File sharing makes some rich people a little less richer.

I’m not saying file sharing is right – it is illegal. However we do need to get these things into perspective. Mr Hot Chip argues the case really well in his blog by claiming that although the industry has been hit, it has simply made them function like an ordinary business, rather than having a licence to print money.

In this week’s announcement Mandelson states that “as an economy based on creativity, we can not sit back and do nothing as this happens.” Yet let us remember the artists still get paid regardless of file sharing. And further more, many make thousands every year in performance royalties alone. It is the corporates that are most hurt, not the creatives. You could argue that if the corporates are stung there is a roll over onto the artists. But as Mr Chip rightly argues, Lilly Allen is still spending thousands on “boots and panties.”

Back to my climate change comparison - just a few months ago Tony Blair spoke at a conference in China stating that we can not expect people to give up their cars. Instead, he argued, we should be investing our money and efforts into technologies that will beat climate change. So why not the same strategy with file sharing? The music industry need to wake up to the fact that now file sharing is here it isn’t going to go away. They need to find a way to work with it rather than battling against it. Sky have just launched their Sky Music package which makes an attempt at this, but it’s quite a lame one. For £6.50 subscription a month you can get one free album or 10 individual songs. Hmm, not really much of a deal is it!

I think it’s time for the music industry to get their thinking caps on and find a creative, rather than a legal solution to this problem.


  1. Whilst I agree that the industry need to wake up to the fact that file sharing isn't going to go away, I do still have serious concerns about how file sharing is affecting new artists and their ability to earn a living purely from being a musician.

    However that aside I heard on the radio today that illegal downloaders spend more money on music on average than those who don't. This concerns me as it seems to imply that as those illegally download spend more on music, that it is OK to illegally download. Does that mean that if I spend more in Asda or Tesco than most that I am allowed to steal something from the stores as well ?

    I'm with Lily Allen on this one, but agree that the record industry burying its head in the sand isn't going to work for them.

    The difficulty with any solution is these days, many people and particularly the under 25's demographic simply think that it is their right to obtain all music for free, so any solution that has any charge is not going to be particularly sustainable unless attitudes are changed.

  2. I agree stealing is stealing but I thought the Hot Chip view point was an interesting one.

  3. Yeah the Hot Chip one was an interesting point, but Hot Chip are in the position of being an established artist. Once you have an audience then playing live more to earn is fine, but what if you don't yet have an audience established ? Speaking to a variety of new acts over the last year or so, the concensus I hear is that it is getting harder and harder to establish that audience without the backing of a record label. Sure there are some success stories of innovative solutions where labels are not part of the equation, but by and large because labels are cutting back (as mentioned in the Hot Chip piece) and running like an 'ordinary' business,getting a deal is becoming near impossible. As a fan of music I would prefer to see lots of choice of new bands, and the current situation (good business practices aside) is likely to lead to less choice with record companies less prepared to take risks on innnovative or creative artists that are doing something 'different'. This is why I belive that attitudes need to change.