KEITH Harris, chairman of music-industry think-tank MusicTank, declared yesterday: “The music industry has been criticised for being slow to react to technological developments. But the people in the vanguard of anything are usually the ones shot at first. We’re bringing in an army of thinkers today to help us win the battle.”
Harris was kicking off MIDEM’s The Big Issue debate on how to stop illegal file-sharing. The debate, which included audience members, continued a discussion that had begun the day before with four experts declaring their position on the debate. Among them was Feargal Sharkey, CEO of new music-industry association UK Music: “We all need to grow up and act as sensible adults and address this issue.”
But Geoff Taylor, CEO of UK record-industry trade body BPI said: “Some ISPs know their customers will download music anyway so they don’t feel they need a licence.”
Nicholas Lansman, secretary general of the UK’s Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA), added that not every internet user wants to access music and should therefore not be forced to pay for it. Media futurist Gerd Leonhard argued that consumers don’t want to be told how they should access content online anyway.
It is file-sharing services (not ISPs) that should be licensed, responded Kenth Muldin, CEO of Swedish performing rights society STIM. But even if they want a licence: “They will find it impossible to get one.”
Peter Jenner, emeritus president of international managers’ body IMMF, added that while the dialogue between ISPs and the music business has improved, recorded-music sales continued to plummet: “We’re competing with free (downloads) and that is the issue.”