Blur, Radiohead, PInk Floyd Opposing New UK Piracy Legislation

Against Cutting Off Internet Connections Of File Sharing Fans      12/09/09

Blur, Radiohead and Pink Floyd are among the bands calling on the UK government to abandon proposals to cut off the Internet connections of people who illegally download music.

They are part of the Featured Artists Coalition - an organization that campaigns for the protection of performers' and musicians' rights. The video above features The Boxer Rebellion explaining why they support the group.

Here's what a few members have to say:

  • "My generation grew up with the point of view that you pay for your music. Every generation has a different method," said Ed O’Brien, guitarist with Radiohead. "File sharing is like a sampler, like taping your mate’s music. What’s going on is a huge paradigm shift.”
  • "The fact that file sharing goes on, and is as popular as it is, is an incredibly positive thing for the music industry," said Blur's Dave Rowntree. "The fact is that music is so popular that people are willing to break the law to get it."
  • "The last thing we want to be doing is going to war with our fan base," said Pink Floyd's Nick Mason. "File sharing means a new generation of fans for us."

FAC members argue that, despite the damage that file sharing does to sales, it can also encourage people to buy tickets and merchandise.

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James Lewin
Twitter @podcasting_news

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12 Comments...  Post a comment    original story
Kevin Nolan, Dublin, Ireland    Said...

Typical of these 'fat cat' bands who have already made millions and millions of dollars. What if you're unknown, need the sales and royalties and cannot generate merchandise? You're dead in the water.

This is not a 'generation thing' - its theft. My 10 year old nephew likes to pay for his DVD collection and his computer games. People are prepared to pay for music - just look at the amount of money that any busking string quartet, guitarist or band can generate playing the same old classics - but well. People today value music as they did in the past and are prepared to pay - the difference is that the likes of You Tube allow for artists to be ripped off. A generation of song writers and composers are been devastated by the current climate which promotes theft as some sort of ' paradigm shift'.

That these bands support such theft is a sickening disgrace - they clearly have nothing but contempt for all the unknown artists out there.

13-Sep-09 12:46 AM


Sigh    Said...

@ Kevin - Since when did unknown artists make most of their money from record sales? Historically, by the time the retailer and label have taken their cut there's very little left and that just goes toward paying off the advance you got when you signed which all dissapeared on studio time.

Bands make money from publishing deals, merchandise and touring, all of which are helped by file sharing generating you exposure and a fan base, not hindered.

Big labels make money from record sales, hence the amount of fuss over file sharing coming from them.

Personally I pay for my music, but if I was trying to make it as an artist I'd be giving it away, or offering it very cheaply.

13-Sep-09 04:59 AM


Bob ludwig    Said...

Major bands/artist make money from touring, full stop.

CD sales are pay for the recording.

13-Sep-09 01:04 PM


Kevin Nolan, Dublin, Ireland    Said...

Sigh -

Nobody, in any field, gives away their services for nothing. How could anybody make a living doing that? Why on Earth should composers and song writers do that? If something has innate value then people are happy to pay – that’s the way the world works. The bottom line is that new and unknown musicians now have essentially no chance of earning any money whatsoever from their recordings - simply because they are made available for nothing by the likes of You Tube and the plethora of thieves currently running the major sites on-line.

It was previously possible for thousands of excellent musicians to make a living selling thousands or tens of thousands of CDs within national bounds and in specialist music areas but now all of those people are loosing out big time and could never make money from merchandising or the other ridiculous and useless 'streams of revenue' mooted on the Featured Artist Alliance web site.

Irrespective of the woes and wrongs of traditional record labels, many, many musicians made money from record sales. It only takes several tens of thousands of sales for the income to be valuable income and now that scale (and above is now non-existent). I'm an aspiring electronic music composer unlikely to gig and the current trend is making it infinitely harder for me.

This is not about me and no one owes me anything - I firmly accept that only exquisite music will ever become established and it’s true that there are ridiculous expectations for every piece of ordinary music to make money; but none of this negates that fact that in no other human endeavour - other than human exploitation and slavery - do others take the efforts of people for nothing, and this is what is happening to musicians today. There are the other streams of revenue that the Featured Artists mention but, other than gigging on a large scale, they are essentially meaningless revenue streams even by compared to modest recording sales – especially for those across the myriad of specialist music fields such as classical, world, ethnic, electronic, new age…

The issue is a simple one - recordings or sound can be exploited so they are - but not by ordinary punters - by huge online companies looking to re-write business rules for their own greedy ends - and now by high profile (and interestingly aging) artists who are not interested in a 'new paradigm' but who are not proposing 'free downloading' but rather 'maximum free downloading' so that they can harness their already established popularity. No unknown artist can benefit in any way from others being able to download their music for free - this is a preposterous notion. Furthermore, this simply lowers the bar and now an entire new regime of exploiters will rip off unknown artists - not for small money - but now for nothing; with the full plethora of shallow promises of fame and treats of abandonment unless they hand over their creations for nothing because that's their (superficial) market value.

And isn't it interesting that the vast majority of the list of 'featured artists' are all rich and well known? It is clear that they alone are in a unique position to exploit the Internet because they are already known and they want to come across as trendy - but make no bones about it, Radiohead, Pink Floyd and Annie Lennox are ripping off unknown artists for their own personal and selfish gain; because they alone can benefit from zero pricing on recordings. It’s sickening.

Under no circumstances, ever, should anybody 'give away' their creativity for nothing - its demeaning and devaluing their efforts - and for these fat cats to propose so is nothing short of an outrage. Again I repeat - anyone else in any other walk of life who give away their talents and efforts for nothing are regarded as fools - and now composers and song writers are being asked / told that that's what they should do.

13-Sep-09 02:02 PM


Nick Barrett Pendragon    Said...

Absolutely agree with Kevin Nolan.

We are are small band that have been going for 30 years, it has damn near killed us seeing our record sales struggle against illegal downloading. These big bands haven't got a clue, when was the last time Nick Mason even RELEASED an album...he lives off the massive sales from the past, he's totally out of touch!

There are 3 tiers to this problem : 1. Huge bands that can sell out stadiums /sell vast quantities of merchandise,who got bad deals from record companies and now they don't care if anyone downloads their stuff....kinda sticking two fingers up at the industry in revenge.

2. Small bands that can't wait to give their music away, cos it means more people will "get into it",

3. the medium sized bands that are the cutting edge of creativity, as they have not as a rule, compromised for the corporate machine, who cannot sell enough merch and tickets to make a living and totally rely on Cd sales to exist. What about Andy Latimer from Camel who has been very ill for a few years, he cannot tour or get out and sell merchandise, he relies on Cd sales to exist. It is not the general publics "right" to ride roughshode over a persons hard work and efforts as they see fit....they wouldn't like it if it happened to them!

14-Sep-09 06:41 AM


Sigh    Said...

"Nobody, in any field, gives away their services for nothing"

Even if we ignore the entire voluntary sector, this still isn't true. A lot of internet based business exist around the premise of giving services away for free, usually with alternate attached revenue streams. This site for one. Google for another. Music distribution has become an internet based business, and it needs to adapt to that model.

People are still willing to pay for music and music related products, but expecting them to do it in the same way they always have is short sighted. The industry was incredibly slow off the mark to present any alternatives to illegal file sharing and it is paying the price to an extent. Services like Spotify could improve matters, but the devil is in the details.

Legislating further against file sharing is unlikely to help considering it's already illegal and people are still doing it. There isn't a viable technical solution to the problem, and so what's left is trying to work around it.

File sharing may have reduced sales, but it's massively increased interest in niche genres and lesser known artists by making there work available to a large audience. Musicians need to find new ways to harness that exposure rather then attempting to clamp down on it. It's easier for established acts (what isn't) but that doesn't mean smaller acts can't do similar things. Get creative.

14-Sep-09 08:21 AM


Peter / floating.point    Said...

@ Kevin

‘I'm an aspiring electronic music composer unlikely to gig and the current trend is making it infinitely harder for me.’

Are you joking man? If you are ‘aspiring’ and simply unknown no one will ever buy your records, unless it’s a friend or family member or someone really bored with their current collection and looking for new music. This is the reality and it has nothing to do with file sharing. It was the same 10, 20, 30 years ago. Do you think that Pink Floyd became popular and rich overnight? They worked hard for many years, gigged for many years and had their breakthrough in 1973. How many other aspiring bands failed at that time? Dozens? Hundreds? Thousands? That’s the way it is. Do you really think you can make a fortune by making a bunch of VSTi based tracks in Cubase and selling them online? Wake up man. There are hundreds of thousands of others out there naively thinking the same.

If you need money – go to work and start earning. I work full time, study part-time and still have time and energy to make music. I would not even consider myself ‘aspiring’ – I already released two albums and there are available completely for free. We live in 2009 and this is how this market works. You want to make money – you need to get audience. And it costs time and money. Your time and your money – make music and give it the people. Or ban illegal downloads completely and stay closed in your bedroom recording studio forever.

14-Sep-09 11:37 AM


Peter / floating.point    Said...

@ Kevin again

‘[…]that new and unknown musicians now have essentially no chance of earning any money whatsoever from their recordings - simply because they are made available for nothing by the likes of You Tube and the plethora of thieves currently running the major sites on-line.’

I am not sure if you understand the problem. ‘Unknown’ artist are the artists that no one has ever heard of, right? So, if they are unknown how can they loose any sales if no one is interested in downloading their music (because they are unknown…). There so no logic in your reasoning at all. Be reassured – no one of those ‘thieves’ is interested in unknown music from unknown artists. What is more – those who are the biggest ‘victims’ of file sharing are actually those who are already famous and rich. And the problem ends here. If someone really suffers from illegal downloads it is the industry (recording companies/labels) not individual artists. And this is good is many ways…

14-Sep-09 11:47 AM


Kevin Nolan, Dublin, Ireland    Said...

Peter -

I’m not going to even engage the ridiculous attack you make on all unknown artists (a pool from which ALL future major artists must arise).

But the argument you make about downloading for free- or as we should really say it – valuing all recordings as worth zero – is even more ridiculous. Not only dod I qualify ‘unknown’ as meaning thousands of musicians known locally, regionally and nationally (but not internationally or ‘A’ List) – all of who traditionally made money from music recordings – but the wonderful emergence of new genres and cross-over/fusion genres such as jazz-ethnic – all spurred on by the Internet – are now under serious treat because these genres in particular sell traditionally in volumes of tens to hundreds of thousands but not millions like major stars. All of these will be rendered valueless and all of that revenue is being lost.

Unknown does not mean someone making rubbish and with unreasonable expectations – unknown can mean not know to most of the population of planet earth but making a living and with a niche/cult following. All of these are under treat.

But it goes further – if al music is rendered valueless then it also threatens other areas of composition such as jingles and TV composing because directors and producers will not pay for compositions if vast quantities of library music is available to download for free (and I don’t mean though licensing from library-companies – I mean downloading music from composers forced to make it available for nothing because that’s the norm). This will also affect session musician, arrangers and indeed the entire industry.

I’m sorry, there can be no sound argument that says that making all music available for free will benefit the creative owners – and I repeat – there is not one other field of endeavour in humanity where you can earn a living from giving away your creative efforts (and your time) for free. The arguments presented here do not wash. Volunteer work is different – you don’t make a living from it and musicians need to make a living if they are professional. And the argument that internet companies give their products away for free is a fantasy – either they make their money from advertisement or they offer an initial and limited version for free until you’re hooked and then they charge for future releases. Nobody makes a living without income.

14-Sep-09 02:57 PM


DBM    Said...

I have mixed feelings on the subject . On one hand I see how spreading your music to as many people as you can is always a good thing . On the other hand I like physical packaging and would hate to see it go away ( thank god people are making LP's again )

But the bottom line is: Laws are shaped by the majority ... so if more people are file sharing then buying then the people have spoken .

Also note : devoted fans will still buy merch and music in the right format look at the scale from NINs 300. se ghost to a smaller artist like Tera Bush's box set . You just have to make it something special and not just a little cheap plastic cd which is great in a way as it allows for a more artistic and individualized aproceh .

I see the frustration and understand it ,but these " fatcats" seam to be right a lot of people doing p2p would have never bought your stuff anyway they would have burned it from a friend etc. so it's viral advertisement for free . also it might just help kill off things like major labels who take 95% of an artists earnings and conform music mainstream by padding the pokets of radio stations ,billboard , Mtv and countless music mags and open the field to start anew .

14-Sep-09 05:23 PM


Sigh    Said...

"either they make their money from advertisement or they offer an initial and limited version for free until you’re hooked and then they charge for future releases. "

Which is rather a lot like offering music for free in order to promoted ticket/merchendise sales, or in the hopes some ad exec hears your tune + slaps it on a mobile phone advert. Or offering a low quality video on youtube to get people hooked and buying a higher fidelity wav from somewhere like bleep. Or putting your track on spotify where people can listen for free and you get a cut of advertising revenue.

15-Sep-09 08:27 AM


Ramakakuda    Said...

Well, that is why you only Pirate the 'Fat Cats!' And Well I wouldn't Pirate a small starving Artist band, because I don't know if they'd like me to, I'm not sure if they'll be affected or not! Or I'll pirate 'Dead Bands' Like the ones that have made their dough since a long time, in fact I always wait about a year or more to pirate...

24-May-12 08:56 AM


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