Music industry "should embrace illegal websites"

The music industry should embrace illegal file-sharing websites, according to a study of Radiohead's last album release that found huge numbers of people downloaded it illegally even though the band allowed fans to pay little or nothing for it.

"Rights-holders should be aware that these non-traditional venues are stubbornly entrenched, incredibly popular and will never go away," said Eric Garland, co-author of the study, which concluded there was strong brand loyalty to controversial "torrent" and peer-to-peer services.

Radiohead's release of In Rainbows on a pay-what-you-want basis last October generated enormous traffic to the band's own website and intense speculation about how much fans had paid. He urged record companies to study the outcome and accept that file-sharing sites were here to stay. "It's time to stop swimming against the tide of what people want," he said.

View: Full article at the Financial Times

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And if the music was to be Free.... How is the artist supposed to make money?

Big, known artist already have some cash flow to live on, but think about the new one, those with little cash on hand, do they have to give their music for free?

If you like a band or signer, why not pay for their music? It's almost as if your boss at work expected you to work for free, would you like that? You can argue that a large part of the cost of a CD or iTune download goes to RIAA, but same goes with your pay check, some part of it goes to the government.

(TruckWEB said @ #10)
And if the music was to be Free.... How is the artist supposed to make money?

Big, known artist already have some cash flow to live on, but think about the new one, those with little cash on hand, do they have to give their music for free?

If you like a band or signer, why not pay for their music? It's almost as if your boss at work expected you to work for free, would you like that? You can argue that a large part of the cost of a CD or iTune download goes to RIAA, but same goes with your pay check, some part of it goes to the government.

Actually, my friend has his music on iTunes and I asked him how much he got for downloads. Turns out that's one of the few things Apple did right... He said for a 99c track he gets at least 60% of it.

(TruckWEB said @ #10)
And if the music was to be Free.... How is the artist supposed to make money?

Big, known artist already have some cash flow to live on, but think about the new one, those with little cash on hand, do they have to give their music for free?

If you like a band or signer, why not pay for their music? It's almost as if your boss at work expected you to work for free, would you like that? You can argue that a large part of the cost of a CD or iTune download goes to RIAA, but same goes with your pay check, some part of it goes to the government.

As a long time musician myself, I would like to consider myself an artist. When one becomes a "professional" artist, they are in great danger of losing sight of why they loved their form of art in the first place. If the money matters more than the art, I say get out of the business and remember your art. Art is about passion and maybe the possibility of being immortalized in your creation, not about money.

Now that I got that rant out of my system, I'd also like to point out that there are no substantial studies that prove that the decrease in CD sales is anything more than just a symptom of a declining economy. Also, with wider distribution it's quite possible that the sales of concert tickets and swag (t-shirts and other branded merchandise) have not offset CD sales or even improved the over all band profit margin.

TruckWEB - I'm not picking on you, just struck a chord when you used the term "artist".

(GreyWolfSC said @ #10.1)

Actually, my friend has his music on iTunes and I asked him how much he got for downloads. Turns out that's one of the few things Apple did right... He said for a 99c track he gets at least 60% of it.

That's awesome! The digital marketing and distribution works great for independent bands.

(Glen said @ #10.2)

As a long time musician myself, I would like to consider myself an artist. When one becomes a "professional" artist, they are in great danger of losing sight of why they loved their form of art in the first place. If the money matters more than the art, I say get out of the business and remember your art. Art is about passion and maybe the possibility of being immortalized in your creation, not about money.

Now that I got that rant out of my system, I'd also like to point out that there are no substantial studies that prove that the decrease in CD sales is anything more than just a symptom of a declining economy. Also, with wider distribution it's quite possible that the sales of concert tickets and swag (t-shirts and other branded merchandise) have not offset CD sales or even improved the over all band profit margin.

TruckWEB - I'm not picking on you, just struck a chord when you used the term "artist". :cool:

Exactly, with profits being the only concern you get surreal lowest common denominator nonsense like a Paris Hilton album and Soulja Boy (...seriously?).

I for one am kind of done with entire art forms being dominated by the tastes of 'tweens, or what ever is the demographic of the week and would welcome art for art's sake as art is supposed to be.

(Dave said @ #10.4)
Exactly, with profits being the only concern you get surreal lowest common denominator nonsense like a Paris Hilton album and Soulja Boy (...seriously?).

You basta'd! I love Paris Hilton remixes... At least it's not ghetto crap. I'm perfectly content being a white guy...who likes dance music with vocals from a stupid wh0re.

(TruckWEB said @ #10)
And if the music was to be Free.... How is the artist supposed to make money?

Big, known artist already have some cash flow to live on, but think about the new one, those with little cash on hand, do they have to give their music for free?

If you like a band or signer, why not pay for their music? It's almost as if your boss at work expected you to work for free, would you like that? You can argue that a large part of the cost of a CD or iTune download goes to RIAA, but same goes with your pay check, some part of it goes to the government.

Most successful bands make money touring, not off CD and track sales. Most bands will tell you that the record companies make a disproportianatly unfair amount off the music the artists create. I tend to agree and can't wait until they go out of business for good. You will see a new renaissance of music.

(Glen said @ #10.2)

As a long time musician myself, I would like to consider myself an artist. When one becomes a "professional" artist, they are in great danger of losing sight of why they loved their form of art in the first place. If the money matters more than the art, I say get out of the business and remember your art. Art is about passion and maybe the possibility of being immortalized in your creation, not about money.

Now that I got that rant out of my system, I'd also like to point out that there are no substantial studies that prove that the decrease in CD sales is anything more than just a symptom of a declining economy. Also, with wider distribution it's quite possible that the sales of concert tickets and swag (t-shirts and other branded merchandise) have not offset CD sales or even improved the over all band profit margin.

TruckWEB - I'm not picking on you, just struck a chord when you used the term "artist". :cool:

I'm a little confused here, though. It seems to be a musician like an artist, you'd have to have another 'real life' job that actually pays the bills, while your music remains a hobby. You can distribute your music online and use word-of-mouth to build a reputation and maybe have a lasting impact on the world.

But...how does that work for live music? Build a fanbase, then charge for concerts and use that to fund a tour? Would you be able to take the time off work long enough to tour effectively if you built a significant reputation and had demanding fans? What happens if you achieve enough success that there's demand for live performances all the time? Wouldn't it just plain make sense to turn music into a full-time job, then? And once it becomes your livelihood, eventually you start to come out of the spotlight, and then...what? Get another job and start over from scratch? You can't 'retire' from live music and earn a pension, can you? Don't they just call that royalties? And that brings us back to selling music.

Free music just doesn't have a place in the spotlight in a world where artists become 'popular'. It'll always be secondary.

when will this ever end? the supposed loss of revenue here is policed more strongly than the distribution of child porn. How this has ever been allowed is beyond me.

bottom line (yawn)
as has already been said above, file sharing is NOT going to go away. Generally people who use file sharing sites need to keep their ratio up, therefore they need/want to buy music legitimately also. Then, they share it. Some people just leech and have no intention of ever buying anything... THIS IS NOT A LOST SALE, it's someone taking something because it's available for free; if it were not there, they wouldn't bother and they'd listen to something else.

So, presented with these facts, you'd think that maybe working with the likes of waffles and what.cd would be the way forward for record labels? they could use the model and create a subscription or pay per download facility or something similar. but no... just keep banging the same old drum and making the same old noises, despite the fact that anyone with half a brain can see the logical inevitable outcome.


Move with the times for gods sake. there are many people who will happily pay for music online. This is where your future lies. Maybe your insane profit margin will take a hit, but hey, it's us who's been taking the hit for the last however many decades paying �15 for a cd that costs a few pence to produce.

i wonder how much longer this crap can go on? in 10yrs can you really see programs on tv looking back over the last decade and saying "this was the decade of uncertainty in the music industry, before digital media was outlawed (in a digital age) and everyone was made to revert back to physical media" NO...

I'm not sure Radiohead were too bothered that people got the same version of their album off file sharing websites since they were giving it away anyway, but the article it does prove that people will still use file sharing sites whatever so the music industry will have to adapt at some point, it's just a matter of when.

(Ashl said @ #6)
I'm not sure Radiohead were too bothered that people got the same version of their album off file sharing websites since they were giving it away anyway, but the article it does prove that people will still use file sharing sites whatever so the music industry will have to adapt at some point, it's just a matter of when.

Um, this was the exact point of the article. You should get a job as a summarizer.

I just wish they would freaking learn that piracy doesnt cost anyone anything. They dont lose money to piracy and they never will. Pirates would have never bought whatever it is they pirate to begin with so you cant count that as money lost. The only instance I can think of it where they lose money due to piracy is when they spend money on useless copy protection schemes or hiring lawyers to sue people over piracy instead of just letting things be. If people think something is worth paying for they will pay for it or if they think the artist is worth supporting they will buy the album regardless of whether they could get it free or not.

You underestimate the power of the "Friendly".
Once you embrace the "Friendly", you'll never want to pay for anything again.

(mocax said @ #5.1)
You underestimate the power of the "Friendly".
Once you embrace the "Friendly", you'll never want to pay for anything again.

I've been downloading music for ages and I still buy albums.

(ViperAFK said @ #5.2)
I've been downloading music for ages and I still buy albums.

ViperAFK and me both. Neither of us are proof of a general trend, but what mocax fails to recognize is that there's a lot on a consumer's mind. "Free" does not trump all, despite what many people claim. The only exception to that occurred when I was a teenager with no income and loads of time. Free trumped everything, partially because it was my only choice. After I was employed and wanted to do other things with my time, the idea of chasing down songs on the internet wasn't all that appealing. I buy albums and I've even purchased a surprising amount of music from iTunes, even though I hate the DRM and the fact that I just bought something that wasn't lossless. In the end the price was right for what I was getting, and that includes the time saved from searching and downloading from potentially unreliable sources or from having to go to a store to spend money on a full CD when all I wanted was a single song.

One thing worth noting is that in none of what I've written did I mention fear of lawsuits. I'm very well aware that the RIAA is aggressively pursuing people who pirate music, however. I feel guilty whenever I buy music that helps fund those lawsuits, and the last 10 or so albums I've purchased have been from used CD stores partly as a result. If my case is true for most people, then the RIAA is clearly in the wrong. They're penalizing people who truly wouldn't have bought music anyway, and they're alienating people who do want to buy because those people either don't want to fund their tactics or are not yet receiving service that would entice them to buy. The technology and the demand is there, but marketing hasn't quite caught on yet.

The RIAA exists to promote and distribute music, they are not going to put themselves out of a job like that. They're going to try to make themselves necessary and outlaw the thing that makes them (or part of them) obsolete.

Hal pretty much nails it here.

They're on a rampage and their killswitch/self-destruct isn't working. It's up to us to kill them.

We can, theoretically, kill them with piracy but we put ourselves at legal risk in doing so, as they still have enough resources to buy lots of laws.

If we kill them by legally starving them, though...by seeking out independent music and scenarios like Radiohead and NIN's online releases, then we'll have a much safer (albeit perhaps slower) time putting this alpha-capitalist corporate beast out of its misery once and for all.

The music industry should embrace illegal file-sharing websites, according to a study of Radiohead’s last album release that found huge numbers of people downloaded it illegally even though the band allowed fans to pay little or nothing for it.

Is it just me, or does the above make no sense at all?

They say the band allowed people to play as little as they wanted, yet despite this, it was still a success. This flies in the face of the idea that we have to fight pirates for profits, because here it was not necessary to pirate the album, you could just pay nothing.

(Shiranui said @ #2)

Is it just me, or does the above make no sense at all?

Makes perfect sense to me.

Even though you could get it for free, people still got it from torrents etc and not from the official site.