Digital rights management is an important issue but some of the thinking around it is about as inspired as John Howard’s vision for tax reform. We should have a sorry day for having had that clown in power for so long.
So the quaint little ads on DVDs ask whether you would steal a car, or a book or whatever. And the answer they seek from us is a resounding NO.
Problem is that if someone walked up to the average punter and said
“Hey would you like a brand new car, exactly what you want without having to pay for it and you won’t get caught?”
They wouldn’t all say no, a very large number would say yes.
A quick look at how many Australians actually pay tax reveals we have no problem with theft and fraud.
Concurrently the music and movie industry complain about people stealing music (and movies/tv). It is the end of music, of variety, a gaggle of newly starving artists who were formally financially secure.
Yet there are all these new artists about, so many it is almost impossible to keep up. The soft porn music videos are still being made and a bunch of average artists are very rich.
Could it be that music itself is fine, but that some of the ‘industry’ built around it is in trouble? Could it be that the major labels were ‘taking’ a lot more out of the industry than they were contributing to it. Is it possible that they have been gouging us for decades/
I am by no means a peace loving hippy. I am aggressively pro commerce but I struggle to express sympathy for the major labels who are crying foul after decades of false economies for both the consumer and the artists involved.
Ben Shepherd writes: This ARIA report shows some interesting figures
Digital channels seem to erode album sales and spike single sales.
Maybe moving forward it will be hard to create an ‘album artist’ from someone who has 2 good singles. People will just buy the 2 good singles.
The trends are this
– physical album sales going down
– digital single sales up
– physical single sales dying a quick death
– digital ringtones flat
Liam asked “Could it be that the major labels were ‘taking’ a lot more out of the industry than they were contributing to it.”
Probably. Well … like many industries (including media) music was probably a bit too slow to react and when it did it was trying to defend the livelihood of the physical album.
Labels will need to shift to play on their strengths – marketing. Their role in distribution and logistics isn’t required anymore.
But they are good at creating stars. No matter what you hear about myspace/social networks creating big stars … or artists like Radiohead by passing the major label machine, no one creates music stars and works the system like a good A&R.
A label like Modular seems to have the modern label right (even though they were allegedly in 5m of debt late last year). They are more a lifestyle brand than a manufacturer of music. They have graet bands and are involved in touring, licencing, merch, management, booking, publishing and advertising elements as well as events.
My belief is generally people want to do the right thing and pay for recorded music – but it has to be the easiest and most reasonable option. Otherwise they will take it for free if they can.