Friday, 20 November 2009

Gang of Four VS...

  • jonking jonking

    20 Nov 2009, 11:04AM

    Yet again the Guardian attacks the interests of musicians, acting as neo-liberal apologists for illegal filesharing . As if this is either a victimless crime or that it's the fault of the victims , who had it coming, and only themselves to blame.

    Keegan writes" The music industry still complains of a billion illegal downloads every year, but has yet to prove that any significant economic damage is inflicted on it". This is prejudice masquerading as fact.

    Illegal filesharing causes me, Lilly Allen and every other recording musician I know , economic damage. Every single song I've written and recorded in Gang of Four is now available for free , illegally, online. So I'm not allowed to be paid for my work.

    As an illustration: illegal downloads of "Entertainment!" in the UK vs legit sales run at a minimum two to one at the moment. The album has sold more than 100, 000 legit units in the UK, 35,000 in the last 10 years. Illegal fileshares over the same period are estimated to be 70-100K albums . At a midline price of £6 per album , around £400K has been lost, 10% royalty on which would have gone to the band ; meaning each member has lost £10,000 plus lost publishing income , another £6000. And this is just the UK. There's a 360K loss to our record company . Gang of Four is only one band. To see the real damage , find out how many recording artists there are in the UK, the number of albums they've made. This is where the billion download number comes in. You do the math. You work out the damage to musicians livelihoods.

    The biggest victims are young bands, ambitious or non-pop musicians, the non-singles market , non X-Factor crews who don't get handsome concert fees and will never get paid for their recorded work .

    Keegan states elsewhere,another apology for theft: "... lots of those who have ? and will continue to ? illegally download wouldn't be buying them anyway and may not be listening to many of those they do download." Well, that's alright then! Apart from this being only an opinion unsupported by evidence, using the author's supermarket analogy, if shoplifers don't want to pay for stuff, let them carry on!. They wouldn't have paid for the stuff they stole anyway!

    Every recording musician I know, successful or otherwise, suffers these losses. This is a fact, not a point of view. It's happening now, despite there being easy ways to be honest.
    But Keegan doesn't think it's serious: "We are not a nation of thieves, but if a supermarket leaves its doors open and shuts down the tills, it should be unsurprised if people help themselves" .
    But, using his words, it is a nation of thieves. Taking things without the owners consent and without paying is theft, not a right. Musicians must get paid!


  • paulsandham paulsandham

    20 Nov 2009, 11:48AM

    I bought Gang of Four's Entertainment and Songs of the free on vinyl a long, long time ago and it cost me at least £6 for each album (all those years ago) as well as a number of their 12"s and a couple of gigs in Sheffield.

    So Jonking, if i am to enjoy your music on my mp3 player or itunes library i have to pay another £6? to you and your record label? For what exactly? The cost of production? The incredibly dubious "remastered/reissued" versions (not sure if these exist for the Gang of Four - apologies if they don't - but for the rest of the music industry this has been proved to be a waste of time and money for the end consumer).

    Until you can justify why you have the right to rob me of £6 for content that i have already legally purchased and enjoyed so that i might enjoy this same music on an inferior but far more convenient digital format. A format that costs a tiny fraction of the original to produce and distribute.. your cries of unjust and robbery sound as meaningless and to be frank pathetic as the "home taping is killing music" crap that surrounded us in the 80s. Home taping was endemic and it didn't kill music.

    Instead of bitterly counting "lost sales" of decades old albums try reading Lessig's Remix - making art and commerce thrive in the hybrid economy.. and even more implausible what about writing and releasing an album of new material that is good enough to make me and others want to buy it?


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