Does filesharing help or hinder musicians?

Leaving aside the extremely hard-line nature of Peter Mandelson’s proposals for a crackdown on illegal file sharing, there is a more fundamental question about what the impact of illegal file sharing really is on the music industry. To what extent does the distribution of songs this way take money away from sales and to what extent does it act as a free form of publicity, which triggers purchases and income from other streams such as concerts and merchandise?

Take this recent report from The Times:

Lily Allen condemned artists who have spoken out against the[Government’s] proposals.

Allen, in a lengthy posting on her blog, criticised “rich and successful artists” such as Ed O’Brien, of Radiohead, and Nick Mason, the Pink Floyd drummer, [who] told The Times that file-sharing had some beneficial effects for artists.

The pair, part of the Featured Artists Coalition, which opposes plans by Lord Mandelson, the Business Secretary, to temporarily disconnect those who repeatedly flout the law, said that the government plans would criminalise young people.

O’Brien said: “My generation grew up with the point of view that you pay for your music. Every generation has a different method. File-sharing is like a sampler, like taping your mate’s music. You go, ‘I like that, I’ll go and buy the album’. Or, ‘You know what, I’ll go and see them live’.

“What’s going on is a huge paradigm shift.”

So as a follow up to the clip with Nick Clegg’s views on the matter, here is one musician’s musical riposte to Lily Allen:

Hat-tip: Mark Evans

2 responses to “Does filesharing help or hinder musicians?”

  1. That is an amazing video reminds me of a video version of Eminem’s “Stan”. I will share it.

    Speaking as a former major record rep I remember ten plus tears ago in a conference room. I was surrounded by platinum plaques and VPs from across the USA and I was being told directly that the digital “thing” as they called it was a phase.

    I have a saying that sums this up
    “Evolution begins when we STOP charging at the leaders OF change, so that we may Lead the charge FOR change”

  2. File-sharing definitely helps the musicians, and it’s ridiculous that they let their greed get in the way of seeing that fact. They see illegal downloads as stealing, but most people who download illegally wouldn’t buy the album anyway. By hindering file-sharing, artists are only eliminating a huge source of free promotion.

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