Gorillaz Manager: “P2P Not Taste-Testing, it’s Giving the Whole Meal”

Gorillaz Manager: “P2P Not Taste-Testing, it’s Giving the Whole Meal”

Criticizes Pharrell Williams’ stance on illegal file-sharing, and insists that it can be stopped if only we would “take the gloves off.”

Yesterday I mentioned how Pharrell Williams, Billboards’ just declared producer of the decade, and Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, told an audience at MIDEM (short for Marché International du Disque et de l’Edition Musicale), the world’s largest music industry trade fair, questioned the harm that illegal file-sharing is supposedly causing music artists.

“Is it really hurting you if a person really loves you and they really love what you do,” he asked.

His then described illegal downloading as “just taste-testing,” comparing it to the hors d’oeuvres handed outside restaurants to entice people inside, and that it doesn’t stop you from buying, but instead gives you a “taste of what could be so great by buying.”

“People have so many options and choices, we should allow them to taste-test, to decide if that’s something they wanna be involved with — from technology to products to food,” he said.

Well, those comments didn’t sit well with Gorillaz manager Chris Morrison. Speaking on a panel as part of MIDEM’s Manager Summit, he said that he didn’t care about P2P one way or another until it affected him with the recent leak of Gorillaz’s new single “Stylo.”

“I was ambivalent about illegal downloading until someone stuck our record up illegally,” he said. “They don’t have any interest in it, they don’t even make money off it but they undo all that work.”

Morrison said that although leaks may have some positives, like generating a certain amount of buzz for example, the net effect is to discourage investment by both record labels and artists for fear of diminished returns.

As for Williams comment that P2P is like “taste-testing” he strongly disagrees.

“It’s not like taste-testing,” he said. “It’s like inviting them into your restaurant and telling them to eat all the food you’ve got. It’s not getting a taste any longer.”

His solution? An all out offensive on illegal file-sharing.

“Piracy could be stopped and I think we should take the gloves off and say it has to be stopped,” he continued.

Too bad “taking the gloves off” means taking away things like right to privacy and protection from unreasonable search and seizures. It means things like inspecting each and every email attachment, picture, video clip, or song that travels across an ISP’s network. Is that something Morrison feels is justified simply because he hasn’t figured out a way to make money in the digital music age?

He needs to take Williams’ advice and figure out a way to harness technology rather than try fight it. For I’d bet on technology winning every time.

Stay tuned.

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