Epic Irish rockers, U2, have teamed up with Spotify to give the service’s users an exclusive pre-release listen of the band’s next album, No Line On The Horizon, due out on March 1st. The Guardian have also got in on the act, with both U2 and Spotify featuring heavily in its online music section.
This comes at a time when online music piracy is bing scrutinised more heavily than ever. Eminem is suing his record label Universal, claiming over $1.6m in unpaid digital royalties for tracks that have been legally downloaded – heaven knows how much he would sue for if he knew just how much of his music is downloaded illegally, and going by 2008′s most illegally downloaded artists, he should be worried about the release of his forthcoming LP.
According to a Tiscali user survey, 46% have used a p2p file sharing network, with Limewire (34%) and BitTorrent (25%), the most popular. So, to combat this rise in music being allowed to flowly freely, Irish ISP Eircom has announced it will block all file sharing websites to help out the music industry.
Composer Richard Gibbs wants to launch a ‘Day of Sharing’, to highlight:
…the absurdity of people getting music free of charge on the Internet and urge lawmakers to make Internet service providers (ISPs, such as cable and telephone companies) financially responsible to creative artists.
I can understand Richard Gibbs’ view point. As a composer, he is primarily paid by selling his work for use in films or TV, and I imagine he very rarely showcases his work in concert. However, Mr. Gibbs lets you listen to his music streamed from his website – he should be aware that there are programs on t’interweb that let you record sound directly from the web, through your sound card. How else though, could he let people know about his work? A quick Last.fm search reveals he has music uploaded to the streaming site – good man.
So he’s aware of the ways of getting music to people – but is, of course, concerned about royalties and wnats to promote the notion that sharing music illegally is stealing. However, I would wager that in his youth, Mr. Gibbs would make mix tapes for friends, as we all have done. This is exactly the same as sharing an MP3, only not over a whole bunch of wires of course.
The sharing of music for free has been happening for years, and will continue to do so and there is nothing, at the moment, that artists and labels can do to prevent it. The challenge for the music industry then, is to find new revenue streams. What I will be looking out for, is the sales figures for U2′s latest LP, to see if Spotify, and free music streaming, helps or hinders sales – expect a follow up post in the near future on that one.
What do you think of Richard Gibbs’ suggestion, and what advice would you give him?