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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

So why not just make all music free then?

On the surface, Irish thrash metal band Gama Bomb employed classic Marketing 101 techniques by getting attention any way they could. In this case, getting their name in the mix with a category leader: Bono and U2. (Actually, U2’s manager Paul McGuinness.) Byrne was responding to McGuinness’ contention that a three-strikes and your out policy for illegal music downloads is the only way for the music industry to save itself.

Under the surface though, Bomb frontman Philly Byrne raises some valid points about real problems facing the music business relative to how fans access music these days.

I side with Byrne in thinking wouldn’t it be better to profit off streaming using alternative methods than to go after the fans who support bands? Why is it the fans’ fault that the law hasn’t figured out how to catch up with technology?

He lays out a decent case for being able to make money off other things like touring, merch and special content beyond selling the actual music (in CD or downloadable form). As such, he claims Bomb actually increased sales after they released their latest album for free. This is also the experiment that artists like Prince and Radiohead have played with in the recent past.

If it can work for a band you never heard of until now, all the way up to the likes of Prince, why not give people the option to pay what they will from here out?

I don’t support sharing in one regard though, and not for financial reasons. I never bought into the belief of people who download stuff illegally because they feel music labels are ripping them off. Maybe, but I don’t get to decide that. That’s like me saying that because I hate how expensive a 42” plasma is at Best Buy, I’m just going to grab one when nobody is watching.

Consumers have power, and if they stop downloading, labels will eventually notice. The artists are the only ones who should dictate how their music is distributed, free or otherwise, not fans and not labels.

(Via Zeropaid.)



fairuse said...

Wow, this sounds like a job for Super^H^H^H^H^H Techdirt! Kind of neat bands are "getting it". The Best Buy remark is a bit flawed and it is out of RIAA play book. Maybe he was hedging his comments for survival.
Why not copy Techdirt, 'He' will read you faster than me. [/poke fun]

mtlb said...

Flawed? Hmmm. It may be a little extreme given the price of a plasma vs. a single download, but theft is theft, no?