Is sanity starting to pop up inside the music industry? The WSJ seems to imply that it might be:
But now there's a growing recognition among some record executives and performers that the people who are downloading illegally are frequently huge music fans and that marketing to them may be more desirable in the long run than suing or otherwise harassing them.
Whoa, that might be too much thinking all at once for these clowns. Still, it's progress - they seem to realize that their bozo tactics aren't working, and the people downloading are fans. Many of whom would grab music legally, given the right incentives (i.e., if the market actually responded to the public feedback). So this, while it's condescending, is at least moving in the right direction:
Hence the alliance between Jay-Z and Coke. By inserting promotional material into the decoy files, and then planting those files prominently on file-sharing sites, record labels and other marketers can turn what is now an antipiracy tool into an advertising medium. "The concept here is making the peer-to-peer networks work for us," says Jay-Z's attorney, Michael Guido. "While peer-to-peer users are stealing the intellectual property, they are also the active music audience," and "this technology allows us to market back to them."
That Google ad thing might be inspiring them. I'd call this a fluke, but Disney recently showed signs of intelligence as well:
"We understand now that piracy is a business model," says Sweeney during the Keynote address at Mipcom. "It exists to serve a need in the market for consumers who want TV content on demand. Pirates compete the same way we do - through quality, price and availability. We we don’t like the model but we realize it’s competitive enough to make it a major competitor going forward."
Umm, yeah. The Buzz Out Loud crew has been pointing out for eons that most people would prefer to stay legal - if only the industry didn't try to shove crapware (DRM) down their throats. Tapes didn't kill CD sales, and DAT wouldn't have either. Downloads won't kill the for profit music sector, unless the studios keep being morons.
The RIAA has taken a quarter step in that direction:
This week the MPAA's CTO Brad Hunt had his own realization: "I understand that if we frustrate the consumer, they will simply pirate the content." He then goes on to explore how the MPAA is pushing for some degree of DRM interoperability
DRM is the problem, which is why I call it a quarter step. They seem to be aware that there's a problem; that's better. Next, they need to recognize that DRM is a bug, not a solution.
Now, before I start sounding all sunshiney on this, there is bad news: The IFPI (think international version of the RIAA) is suing anything that moves:
THE music industry has launched a new wave of 8000 lawsuits against alleged file-sharers around the world.
The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), which represents the world's music companies, said the new cases were brought in 17 countries, including the first ones ever in Brazil, Mexico and Poland.
I guess there has to be a conservation of cluelessness.