Music: An Industry Disrupted

Link to soundcloud link:

Passage: Condry, Ian. (2004) Cultures of Music Privacy: An Ethnographic Comparison of the US & Japan. International Journal of Cultural Studies. 7(3), pg. 343 – 363.

“The common assumption that new digital technology could destroy the recording industry is exemplified by the cover of Wiredmagazine (2/03). Playfully recontextualizing Apple’s iTunes slogan, it shows a zeppelin going down in flames, and reads ‘Rip. Mix. Burn: The Fall of the Music Industry’. A three-year decline in the US market, and a five-year decline in the Japanese market, indicate that the world’s two largest recording industries are in trouble. Executives in both countries sometimes acknowledge that piracy may not be the only reason for the decline, but they are quick to stress that digital copying could completely undermine the business of selling packaged music. The logic seems unassailable. If music is free, no one will pay for it. If no one pays, artists and producers will stop creating music. How can anyone argue with that?”

My thoughts:
I think Ian is absolutely right when he mentions…”If music is free, no one will pay for it. If no one pays, artists and producers will stop creating music.” It cost a lot of money to create/develop a film, TV segment and a musical track. A lot of people work on helping to create art. It cost a lot of money to develop and create these forms of entrainment – that is if the consumer isn’t buying it. Then how are artists and producers going to create it if they don’t have the resources (financials) to do so?

First, it is important that the government and the music industry can draw a fine line of what is really ‘piracy.’ As mentioned, in the documentary “Laws that Choke Creativity” by Larry Lessig. Proclaims that, consumers ‘kids’ and amateur culture of people are now in the process of producing and recreating something they love. Not for the money (profit) but, to remixing something to say it’s different. Should the music industry deem this as ‘piracy’ or ‘copyright infringement?’ Illegal downloading and sharing is an massive issue and major problem for the music and entertainment industry. So, it is justifiable to say, that when someone who takes an artist work at wholesale and redistributes to the public domain they should definitely be penalized for it. However, penalizing the ‘pirater’ can be tough because if a consumer has around a $1500 computer they have the tools to download, share, and upload content (and redistribute it). So, how is the government going to penalize these individuals?

When I think about the criteria I use when I purchased music opposed to sharing it. When I do buy a CD it has to be one of my favorite artist – I also, like buying a CD because I love the pictures and reading the little blurbs inside the CD cover (it has a value to it). I tend to buy music off of iTunes. If I want a certain song and can’t fine online, or I found an ‘indie artist’ and want to support him/her. This does conflict with copyright and illegal downloading. However, when I do download music I never share it or upload it. So, I am just usually the downloader.

The music industry and its consumers are on a battleground. I think some ways that the industry may deal with what they perceive is piracy is right. I think what an artist makes they should have entitlement to their own creativity and creation. I was in film school before I came to Brock. So, I was totally against downloading/streaming and buying pirated movies. Like film and music it takes a long time to create something – so, I kind of feel with all of the remixing and ripping off artists work there needs to be a clearer line of what is piracy. Youtube is great website to view work that is recreated -we see a lot of consumer ‘kids’ recreating musical/video pieces. Although, if this is for merely fun and entertainment that is fine. But, when someone goes out there and remixes something and calls it their own. I have a problem with that.

The government has enforce bylaws on copyright infidgement and piracy. However, 9/10 people are downloading and sharing music/videos daily. So, I think the solution for the industry/government is to figure out a way to stop this from happening. Or they need to learn how to work with this and learn to accept with the amount of technolgy at our finger tips with just a click on a button we are going to be downloading and sharing music/video for years to come.



2 thoughts on “Music: An Industry Disrupted

  1. Katie, I found your argument that creators will stop creating if they stop getting paid to do so interesting. I agree to a certain point but I think there are a lot of examples where this wouldn’t fit. Some of the other articles noted how record companies were actually increasing their profits yet the artists were not seeing those increases. Even beyond that I would argue many artists would continue creating for the love of creating.

    In fact, I would extend this notion to say that in many ways the recording industry themselves are as big a hindrance as piracy. Take, for example, the YouTube video by Larry Lessig. In it he mentions how ASCAP tried to increase its fees by 448% over a 6 year period. In response to these increases broadcasters rejected them to created their own group. In this case I would hazard to guess that the artists received little from those increased rates.

    Any way, I don’t want to sound like nit-picking your podcast! I agree that artists should be compensated for their work but I would rather give an artist my money directly then half the majority of it go to a greedy record company.

    • Hey Colin,

      Thanks for commenting :). I think its great to get two different views/opinions. I think it would be a perfect world to say an artists would continuing creating for the love of it. But, the fact that its their profession and they have to make a living somehow. Unless there starving artist – if they don’t have the resources to live. However, I do agree that the artist should receive higher profits than the recording company but, the recording company also needs to get paid too in order to distribute/promote….. So, I think its a vicious cycle.

      (PS I have comment on other people’s blog but, how do I link it to their article?)

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