Friday, 11 April 2008

Where next for the music industry?

It's been an interesting week on the web for those interested in the ongoing debate regarding the future of the music (and the movie) industry.

Today TorrentFreak posted an interesting account of how the MPAA are being challenged by IKT Norway, the body acting on behalf of the Norwegian ISPs (which I talked about here). TorrentFreak have also announced that Demonoid, one of the biggest semi-public torrent trackers, may return under new management. It seems you cannot stop the hydra (not to be confused with Project Hydra although both are related to file-sharing). Demonoid was a huge sore on the behinds of the major labels due to the large amount of content it pointed to - having it back will only upset them further. Once you cut one of the heads off the file sharing beasts, such as OiNK, others are quick to take its place.
Image courtesy of Canapial.

Earlier in the week Katie Allen, media business correspondent for The Guardian, reported that home copying of music was burnt into the psyche of teenage consumers. This is very bad news for the music industry. Offline home copying occurs as often as 5 times per month amongst two thirds of 18-24 year olds. The anti-piracy attention recently has been on what illegal activity occurs online at the expense of offline copying:
"Overall, 95% of the 1,158 people surveyed had engaged in some form of copying, including taking the music contents of a friend's hard drive - 58% - and the more old-fashioned method of recording from the radio."
It shouldn't be too much of a surprise given that CDs shift without any DRM protection, not that this type of protection works in the favour of the industry.

Meanwhile, European politicians have narrowly ruled against the call to disconnect persistent file-sharers from the web claiming that such a move conflicted with "civil liberties and human rights". It would seem that web offers users more than just the opportunity to breach copyright, it gives people greater access to information and services which serve democratic aims.

Cory Doctorow has an interesting take on the ways in which ISPs are attempting to snuff out all BitTorrent traffic, even if that means disrupting legitimate traffic.

It seems Last.FM are very happy with their recent decision to change the way in which they operate, judging by Jemima Kiss' article. The decision to offer listen-on-demand services has been linked with the recent upsurge in sales - an increase in sales via Amazon of 119%.

And finally, Billy Bragg is interviewed over at The Register today lamenting how artists are losing control over their creative output. He doesn't like the idea that Web 2.0 tech heads are getting rich whereas artists are suffering for the want of promoting their material online at little or no cost to the consumer. Matt Mason gives a good account of the problems and issues Bragg is struggling with here
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