Nettime mailing list archives

Re: <nettime> The problem with file-sharing
Will Morton on Wed, 12 Feb 2003 19:11:44 +0100 (CET)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: <nettime> The problem with file-sharing

On Mon, 2003-02-10 at 01:29, Morlock Elloi wrote: 

> If labels disappeared overnight, what would you download ? How would you *know*
> and *value* anything beyond your street block boundaries ? You'll find it "on
> internet" ? Well, there are hundreds of thousands unknown artists giving away
> their stuff for free "on internet" TODAY and no one bothers to get it. The
> enlightened masses crying for "right to download" would not have their "music"
> without labels in the first place. The whole P2P "rights" movement is bogus in
> the sense that without multi-billion-$ celebrity industry no one would bother
> to design P2P for the masses in the first place.
	I don't see how the 'record label' as a commercial concept is
threatened at all by the explosion in filesharing. What I *do* see as
threatened by filesharing is any record label that depends on massive
marketing investment in relatively few records. The fewer the number of
different albums pushed, the greater the impact of piracy. See, for


	particularly the sentence: "EMI has said it will make a profit once a
total of 18 million albums have been sold from its six-album deal with
Williams". Hello? CDs cost pennies each to produce but the marketing
you're doing on them means you have to sell 18m before you break even? 

	*This* is what filesharing threatens. Contrary to most people, I have
no fears at all for the music industry. It just means that the record
labels will have to push more records and spend less on each one, to
minimise the effect of piracy. No bad thing, IMO. 

	Since the current oligopolist masters of the music business seem
completely blind to both the opportunities offered by the new tech and
the changes to their business models it demands, these companies will
probably lose their grip on the industry to those who can grok the new
way of things. Again, IMO, no bad thing. Capitalism in action. 

	I don't buy your 'without MTV, nobody would buy music' argument. As
long as there is demand for music, there will be demand for
recommendations of music. If the production of music becomes spread
amongst many parties, then for sure the need for a 'recommendations
business' will grow. But if the demand is there, people and companies
will be there to meet it. 

	Personally I can see something like Amazon's 'People who bought this
also bought' engine combined with a cheap MP3 download mechanism, as
just one of many possibilities. In fact I would be surprised if Jeff
Bezos isn't quietly making plans right now for a massive online MP3
distribution mechanism for when the big labels finally 'get it'. 


  "Whenever I'm caught between two evils, I take the one
   I've never tried."
	-- Mae West

#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: majordomo {AT} bbs.thing.net and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: nettime {AT} bbs.thing.net