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back to article Billy Bragg: Three-strikes lobbying is 'shameful'

Record labels have given up on copyright law and are trying to make internet service providers (ISPs) fight their battles for them in a "shameful attempt to pass [on] responsibility", singer-songwriter Billy Bragg has said. Bragg is one of the main figures in a new performers' pressure group, the Featured Artists' Coalition (FAC …

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Coat

Music Industry LoL

There buisness model failed when CDs fell out of fashoin and they couldn't charge 12.99 for a CD that cost 20p to make.

Funny thing is if you can't handle change you get left behind, i'm guessing the music industry will realise this when they crash and burn.

Anyone know what the big players quaterly profit margin's where, i'm guessing its going down every quarter, best not tell them there in the entertainment industry and there one of the worst hit in a recession.

Mines the one with the tape cassettes in the pocket with the label copied off radio 1.

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Anonymous Coward

well.

"The body recently called for the copyright in sound recordings to be extended beyond 50 years, but said that the copyrights should pass from record labels to artists after those 50 years have passed."

Shoudl go back to artists wayyyyyyyy before 50 year, but then again, the copyright should expire wayyyyyyy before 50 years as well!

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Anonymous Coward

I disagree..

Anyone found sharing Billy Bragg's ...erm... "output" should definitely face a three strikes rule.

Hanging, drawing and quartering.

Is he the most sympathetic figurehead the FAC could find?

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Alert

@Some form of P2P [peer to peer] subscription service is the way forward

Nope... too late, the record industry has failed and failed again, we (the music listening and buying people) have had years to adapt to the fact there is little or no willingness by the record industry to engage in digital music.

Itunes is not a big earner for Apple (except in sales of iPods)... we already have new ways to listen to music that does not involve the record companies... myspace for looking at new stuff (reviewing), facebook to chat to friends about what music to listen to (recomendations), last.fm for more suggestions and finally Pirate bay to actually download it.

The longer the music industry sits on it's fat hands, the more of Rome will burn in the meantime.

Here's a suggestion, look to the performance for revenue, (like Madonna), and like people have for the last 2 thousand years, instead of holding onto a limited business model inventing in the 50s.

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Thumb Up

Spot on

Never been much of a fan of Mr. Bragg or his politics, but he's spot on here, and recent developments in France, Ireland and elsewhere are just fuelling the music industry's (totally misguided) belief that they can put the online genie back in the bottle.

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Stop

I love the way people value music

@ charge 12.99 for a CD that cost 20p to make.

So, no costs for the creative ability to create the music, no cost for the actual production of the track, including time for many individuals to actual make the music, no cost for the mastering, distribution, marketing of the music.

@ Here's a suggestion, look to the performance for revenue, (like Madonna), and like people have for the last 2 thousand years, instead of holding onto a limited business model inventing in the 50s.

Performances make money, but not the kind of money that is possible with music sales.

It just doesn't scale. How will an artist get popular enough to fill stadiums world wide to become the million dollar artist without getting their name and music out there.

They need a way to earn money to support and promote themselves.

Personally, if I want to continue to get quality entertainment I know I'm going to have to pay to consume it otherwise it will not happen.

Also, how many artists are actually in it only for the love of the music. It's easy for somebody like Billy Brag to say how it should be because he has already built his empire.

Imagine what it woudl be like without record companies promoting artists. How would you get heard above the myspace noise.

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Jobs Horns

Itunes??

Yeah, cause people don't want to pay for music, that's why Itunes went down the bog. Oh no wait, it didn't, not quite got your facts right there have we Billy.

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Flame

Fuck the music industry..

..if these pricks incorrectly have my my internet connection shut off and deny me access to a service I use for a myriad of critical work and home related tasks, I'll sue them for loss of earnings and anything else that causes by family increased stress and trouble. Who the fuck do these wankers think they are!?

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Flame

>get the ISPs to do their dirty work for them,"

Well, grief, the ISPs are the only ones getting any income from the File Sharers, with the exception of advertising on links sites, so surely they are the ones who should take the responsibility...

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Silver badge
Pirate

Home Taping Is Killing Music

FAC not swayed by the Grate Profit. Been here before, sheet music was pirated.

The big clue to all this is the 'industry' bit after 'music', it says that music is secondary to the industry and they could be selling any old shite as long as it makes money ( see under 'Simon (clever bastard) Cowell).

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Paris Hilton

@ I love the way people value music

'Imagine what it woudl be like without record companies promoting artists. How would you get heard above the myspace noise.'

Record companies do not promote music, they market an image which in turn they use to sell over priced and over rated music. And not a very healthy image at that.

I haven't heard Lady GaGa's music but I am well aware that she is a fit bird that likes to get her tits out for the lads.

That is the sort of promotion I would like to avoid my family being exposed to

Paris as I can't think of a better example of image over content

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@I love the way people value music

@@ charge 12.99 for a CD that cost 20p to make.

@So, no costs for the creative ability to create the music, no cost for the actual production of the track, including time for many individuals to actual make the music, no cost for the mastering, distribution, marketing of the music.

How much of the £12.79 goes to the writers, musicians, and sound technicians? Most of it is wasted on executives' salaries and marketing.

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valuing music

When music was a 'special unique' item the marginal profit could be high. Now that it is commodity it's marginal profit is lowering. Online distribution reduces the marginal cost to virtually zero (and that paid by someone else.

There are still origination costs, and these will have to be cut to suit the budget.

It was asked how the good stuff will get found amongst the dross on myspace - the answer is trivial - by being better, and recommended by friends. It means we are entering a period of meritocracy in music rather than the approach now where yes, labels will promote talent, but one of their criteria is malleability, they will lose that pricing power.

It's going to be a time of change which hurts many existing power blocks in the music industry - well tough, change happens. Incomes will drop, and the 'mega rich' music stars will be less mega rich than previously. Again - tough. If the income isn't enough then musicians will not stay musicians. For those talented at business as well as music it will still be possible to make a lot of money, just perhaps not the ridiculous sums of years past.

Roll on the music revolution.

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Artists yay, record companies nay

@Albert: "Imagine what it woudl be like without record companies promoting artists. How would you get heard above the myspace noise."

By producing the sort of music people genuinely want to listen to, and waiting approximately... ooh, about that long for word of your latest cool tune to start spreading. Record company promotion seems to take the form of focussing on one or two artists, getting their songs played over and over and over and over and over and over and over again on every radio and TV station on the planet, until we're all brainwashed into thinking that this is the only sort of music out there and we really really must go buy a copy right now...

Don't get me wrong, some of the stuff that's on heavy promotional playback I do actually like, but there's an awful lot of it that I'd happily leave to burn in the gutter without even spitting on it as I walked by. Conversely, there's an awful lot of damn good music out there that I'd never have got to listen to if it were just down to the record industry promotional machine, but which thanks to various sources (some legal, some, uhh, a bit less so...) I've been able to experience.

Doing away with highly-focused promotional campaigns might mean those few artists who'd have been the subject of those campaigns end up earning less than they otherwise would, but it'd also give the majority of artists the chance to earn a living on a level playing field. Let them all sink or swim based on the music they produce, NOT on whether or not they've got a multi-million quid ad campaign behind them.

@Olly Simmons: "Yeah, cause people don't want to pay for music, that's why Itunes went down the bog. Oh no wait, it didn't, not quite got your facts right there have we Billy."

iTunes survives because it's part of the iPod/Phone ecosystem, and makes it really quite easy to legally obtain the exact bit of music you want, at whatever time of the day or night you get the urge to buy it, at a price which isn't entirely unreasonable, and delivered there and then in a format which can be played immediately. Do you think iTunes would stand a chance of survival if someone were to open up a rival site which provided the same ease of use and the same catalogue of tracks, but which offered it all for free and without any risk of attracting the attention of the record industry legal hit squads? I don't...

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@Chris

Neither do I, but music can't ever be free as if it were why would people bother to write it. At present a recording artist can be a full time job, if you're good at it. But if you can't earn your crust from it then you have to go out and get a paying job, but you'll have to battle with the music execs, who will also be in the job market.

Free music is a nice idea, but the economics just don't work. Unless you've already grown fat off of the paying side of it and can afford to give it away for free.

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DR

FAC

if only they'd called it the featured artists group.

joking aside, it' all very well for Billy Bragg to go on about how music should be put out there for less money and there shouldn't be the big labels.

but as others have said that completely ignores how most artists have been picked up by talent scouts. recorded in a studio and released an album that's actually made it to the shelves in HMV.

who the fuck pays for all that before even being sure that people will 'like' the artist... -oh yeah, the record company.

so by all means billy bragg can p2p his music for free, but emerging artists need to be paid, they need the record companies to be able to employ people to search out and find new bands, they need the record companies to be able to provide a budget for a good studio, they need the record companies to be able to provide a marketing budget, and enough money to press enough CDs to put at least one into every HMV store in the land. -and that's why the record companies take a cut, so that the wheels can keep rolling with the net 'artists'.

All that said, I do still think that most CDs are overpriced and contain shit.

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Stop

Meritocracy?

Sorry, but what IS the Internet again? One big advertising space, full of lots of new ways to market and sell things. What funds oh I dunno 80% of it all? That's right, advertising.

So since the music industry got where it is today by being fantastic at marketing stuff to us, with image over content always being the golden rule, what's to say they won't easily kick the shit out of any meritocratic dreams just as soon as they get themselves into the 21st Century??

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Go

Billy

Bragg - halcyon days of yore , concert in Manchester, "OK Guys & Gals," he spake, "Get your illegal recording devices ready as the next track is a new one", an ecstasy of fumbling as our myriad subtle Walkmen were primed.

>>>BANG<<< "Help save the youth of America" or some such entertainment, I've lost the tape now - but he was always forward looking! 20 years ago at least!!!!!

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Paris Hilton

@I love the way people value music

>So, no costs for the creative ability to create the music,

Of negligable value.

>no cost for the actual production of the track, including time for many individuals to actual make the music,

Some value/costs incurred here, however these are generally higher than strictly necessary. Weed for the producer, hookers for the drummer, pizzas for all... these are all necessities incurred due to the duration of the session.

>no cost for the mastering, distribution, marketing of the music.

Of negligable value.* Ever heard of the Internet?

*OK the mastering part may be of value. Excuse me while I hand my magnum opus to a studio monkey so he can proceed to apply an EQ curve in the shape of a grinning retard, multiband compress the life out of it, then finally limit it to an average of just south of 0db in order to compete with my peers, and to hell with the dynamic range.

Still, it sounds great when listened to on a bus, through a mobile phone speaker, against heavy background noise. Just what I envisaged!

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Stop

The bubble has burst

Recorded music was a huge bubble. It trotted along making reasonable revenues at a steady pace until the industry really took off in the mid-80s with the CD, leading to a doubling of annual revenues over 15 years.

All that's happening now is that the bubble has burst and revenues are declining back to a more realistic level. Recorded music has long since passed saturation point, it is not a growth industry, and the RIAA just needs to face reality.

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@ Albert - I love the way people value music

Albert, your comment reminded me of an old article I once read.

How bands can be held hostage by dubious contract techniques and a breakdown of who gets the cash from a record/tour deal.

http://www.negativland.com/albini.html

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Flame

Re: I love the way people value music

"So, no costs for the creative ability to create the music, no cost for the actual production of the track, including time for many individuals to actual make the music, no cost for the mastering, distribution, marketing of the music."

The cost of mastering is negligible when the Internet is the medium, as is the cost of distribution. Indeed, peer-to-peer distribution has actually reduced the distribution costs, and that's in favour of content distributors. As for the other costs, technology has minimised some, and you're left with wondering whether the cost of the artists' piano/guitar lessons has been reimbursed.

"Performances make money, but not the kind of money that is possible with music sales."

But who makes that money with music sales? Ah yes, it's the middle-men, most of the time.

"It just doesn't scale. How will an artist get popular enough to fill stadiums world wide to become the million dollar artist without getting their name and music out there."

You're just parroting a cliché: the plucky, talented young artists discovered by the rookie label scout, built up by the label's expertise, unleashed to critical acclaim, and playing to sell-out venues worldwide. It's so convenient to keep repeating these clichés because then you get to define what "success" is, and then you can say how people can't be "successful" without the record labels. In short, record companies insist that record companies are relevant - with that as the best argument for their existence, the rest of us are just waiting for the garbage collector to come along.

"Also, how many artists are actually in it only for the love of the music. It's easy for somebody like Billy Brag to say how it should be because he has already built his empire."

Perhaps we should really only reward people who make music for the love of doing so, rather than throwing our cash in the direction of some "media phenomenon" invented by the labels.

"Imagine what it woudl be like without record companies promoting artists. How would you get heard above the myspace noise."

How indeed would the Britards know what to like without corporations telling them, without the tired interference of those corporations throughout broadcasting, without the effective state support of private cartels in the form of things like Radio 1 whose role is apparently to provide a free promotional gateway to the Britards under the pretence that music charts, the Top 20, the Christmas Number One are really important things that demand the utmost attention of the Britards above all other matters of state?

That's another thing I detest about the record industry: it's something that perpetuates the modern culture of the Britards with its "look here, shiny!" message and the knowledge that while the Britards lap it up, some shit is going down somewhere and everyone is too busy arguing about some media-invented non-story to notice either the shit or the act of distraction.

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Thumb Down

Every day they wait....

....the Recording Industries tired old business model becomes harder and harder to keep alive.

I give them just 5 more years if they don't radically change.

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Gold badge
Thumb Up

Big records companies in trouble, newspapers in trouble.

Both big industries with expensive specialised production machinery.

Digital repro costs now through the floor.

But the big profits came from the middlemen functions between the "Artists" and the consumer.

People are prepared to pay something. But not the *huge* markups given the costs.

Correct me if I'm wrong but it this not the reason media company executives get paid the big wedge? For solving the big problems.

This group could have picked someone other than Billy Bragg as their spokesperson. But I guess a lot of those better known, easier listening folks have an army of lawyers and accountants to fight their corner with their label. They'd prefer to not rock the boat and keep counting the cash.

In a digital age is it beyond the bounds of possibility that the PRS could become the new power in the land?

Thumbs for someone doing something.

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Anonymous Coward

Redundant Ideas

To the person up the list a bit, we don't flaming 'consume' music. Frick, what a bastardisation of language and meaning!

It was inevitable that CD sales would eventually plummet. Any fool could have seen that one coming. The people that were buying all the CDs 10 to 15 years ago have replaced most of their vinyl and are now buying DVDs instead. ;-) The new target audience have grown up with MP3s et al and digital downloads. Yeah, people do still buy CDs, but you can't stick a CD on an iPod or a dinky MP3 player... well not unless you rip it first of course. When was the last time you saw someone with a CD portable? CDs are slowly dying out and lower quality compressed, lossy formats seem to be replacing them, which is the future (sadly). But that's the way it is.

Bragg is absolutely correct.

I'm old school so I personally won't pay money for a compressed, lossy download. I still like to be able to listen to music at home. Lossy formats just don't cut the mustard on anything other than portable players. But then I won't pay £14.99 for a CD, not in this life anyways. Tight? Yup, and proud of it.

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Paris Hilton

@ Dennis

You don't like someone's music because of the image they portray (even though you haven't heard them). Ironic as that is, the "really" ironic thing is that given the way things are going, one of the few avenues left for musicians (a term I use loosely) to make cash is to sexualise / celebritise their image and make money off 'the back' of that!

I know this isn't a new tactic for the labels, but is that what we really want - the only new music being available is someone that can physically merchandise themselves??? And yes Jeremy, Madonna is a perfect example of that.

We (the artists, labels and listeners) seriously need to find an Internet enabled way of allowing artists to earn a living off of their work, or the Idiocracy will continue to evolve.

Paris ... for obvious reasons.

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