IFPI: No Increased Music Choices Until Piracy Addressed

IFPI: No Increased Music Choices Until Piracy Addressed

Says consumers wont get music “when, how, or where they want it until we address piracy” in its annual Digital Music Report, the one that shows digital music sales are up some 940% since 2004.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) has just released its annual Digital Music Report and the results are precisely what any level-headed individual would expect – digital music sales are up and physical music sales are down.

More than a quarter of all recorded music industry revenues worldwide are now coming from digital channels, as music companies license music in partnership with ISPs and mobile operators, subscription services, streaming sites and hundreds of download stores.

In fact, digital music sales are up some 940% since 2004, rising from $20 million to $4.2 billion.

However, the IFPI cautions that illegal file-sharing and other forms of online piracy are eroding investment and sales of local music in major markets.

“In particular, three countries known for the historic vibrancy and influence of their music and musicians – Spain, France, Brazil – are suffering acutely, with local artist album sales or the number of releases plummeting,” it says.

Part of the problem is that consumers have long demanded access to music when, where, and how they want it, and record labels have refused to do so every step of the way, giving in only when dwindling profits have forced their hand.

“We are shaping our own future by finding new ways of getting music into people’s lives,” comments Lucian Grainge, Chairman and CEO, Universal Music Group International, in the report, and it’s advice that he and the IFPI would be wise to observe.

For John Kennedy, Chairman & Chief Executive of the IFPI, makes it plain that he has no intention of giving consumers what they want UNTIL piracy is properly addressed, presumable by ISP-level content filtering and the enactment of meaningful “three-strikes” legislation.

“Music How, When, Where You Want It — But Not Without Addressing Piracy” is the title of his short piece in the report, and he warns that consumers will not get “great offerings…without a secure legal environment where creative work is rewarded and copyright theft is effectively deterred.”

And he wonders why people turn to piracy. People turn to piracy because of a failure in the marketplace. P2P will never match the convenience and quality that record labels could offer consumers due to the fact that they have the ACTUAL RECORDINGS in their hands!

It sprinkles the report with a number of dramatic piracy figures for effect, like the fact that Wolverine was leaked and “illegally downloaded 100,000 times in 24 hours.” Apparently the fact that it still enjoyed a $85 million dollar opening weekend payday and more than $373 million dollars in worldwide box office ticket sales wasn’t worth mentioning.

The solution to it all, it insists, is a graduated response system – a “three-strikes” – approach that enlists ISPs into the fight against illegal file-sharing, and quotes artists like U2 frontman Bono who recently claimed ISPs’ “swollen profits perfectly mirror the lost receipts of the music business.”

“We’re the post office, they tell us; who knows what’s in the brown-paper packages? But we know from America’s noble effort to stop child pornography, not to mention China’s ignoble effort to suppress online dissent, that it’s perfectly possible to track content,” he added.

I think the fact that he cited the war on child porn and freedom of expression as examples of what’s possible in the the war on P2P automatically removes him from the debate.

I think the fact the IFPI refuses to give consumers music “when, how, or where they want it until we address piracy” should also remove them from the debate.

Stay tuned.

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