Dear Lily.

25 Mar

The music industry is collapsing under the pressure of illegal downloads. That’s what we’re hearing from the record labels and from the artists that have decided to pursue this perceived injustice as some kind of political cause. It’s an argument that stirs passion from both sides, particularly among those of us in the immoral majority, who have become quite accustomed to file sharing over the past decade.

Lily Allen, seeing to it that pop stars get paid. And Dan Bull, at odds with the idea of pop stardom entirely.

Immoral majority. That’s something you don’t hear often. If a whole bunch of us went out murdering and burglarising, you wonder if those activities, too, could become socially acceptable. I’d hazard a guess not.

In response to similar moves internationally, New Zealand has now revisited sections 92A and 92C of its copyright laws for new technologies, and imposed clear punishments for partaking in what we have long referred to as ‘illegal downloading’. Basically, you lose your internetz.

Many critics are saying it’s time for the industry to adapt or die. It’s a valid point. If you think about the way the consumption of music has changed in the last century, there’s no reason to suggest that a record company (in itself a relatively recent concept) should be protected by government intervention at all.

It’s not as if file sharing has discouraged people from producing music – there are more recording artists enjoying notoriety right now than ever before. We are blessed with the luxury of discovering underground acts from all corners, and thanks to platforms like YouTube, it’s not only the major label artists that are able to market themselves to a mass audience.

Has this law simply been devised to defend a dead business model? A battle won in a war that ultimately will not be? Dan Bull certainly thinks so. Check out these brilliant open letters he’s penned to various UK music industry spokesfolks on the issue.

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