[Marxism] Re: recording industry sales statistics

Ben C minnows at connexus.net.au
Sun May 30 05:53:01 MDT 2004

Jurriaan's stats are interesting. The actual hard information I've seen
tends to disprove all the RIAA hyperbole. As regards their claims about 
sales dropping due to "piracy" this may be just ammunition in the 
argument for tighter regulation and commercialisation of the internet.

If any one is interested in joining discussion on this, I have a 
question: By implication, and rightly, we should be opposed to the 
greedy RIAA  types. But what actually is the social impact and chracter 
of file-sharing and the "piracy" that the RIAA is up in arms about?

My thoughts:
Whether or not it impacts into RIAA profits, I couldn't care less. They
exploit musicians shamelessly. If Kazaa et al really allowed new and
independent musicians to publish their own music, great, but as far as I
can tell that doesn't really happen. Most people will only download the
artists they already know about.

I think that it's ironic the file-sharing network allows people to find 
and obtain as well as listen to new music in the safety of their own 
bedroom. There's nothing particularly liberating about that, other than 
in a bourgeois, consumerist sense. If file-sharing really damaged the 
recording industry, theoretically we might see more live music, at least 
if it became relatively more profitable than recorded music.

But why is an internet junkie going to go out to see a band at the pub
any more than they will now? And now that broadband is becoming more
common, file-sharing really allows a huge binge of music "consumption"
in a society where we are already bombarded with radio, advertising
jingles, stereos in every car/lounge/bar/bedroom, and so on. (A friend 
of mine recently gave up his broadband connection partly because he was 
bored of downloading music!) Proportional to all the "noise" there's not 
much creative or authentic going on in modern music.

Like with other aspects of the internet, I think file-sharing is nifty.
But to those who think it's a progressive alternative to retail therapy
capitalism and mass-marketed music, or at least an expression of youth 
rebellion... well, only inasmuch as shoplifting or taping your friends' 
albums are, and they're nothing new or politically constructive.

Any thoughts?


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