Elton John has come out in support of Lily Allen’s stance on filesharing:
In a letter to the business secretary, Lord Mandelson, he said: “I am of the view that the unchecked proliferation of illegal downloading (even on a “non-commercial” basis) will have a seriously detrimental effect on musicians, and particularly young musicians and those composers who are not performing artists.”
The letter comes as talks to heal a growing rift in the music industry over piracy broke down today , with a group of artists including Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason, Billy Bragg and Tom Jones accusing labels of stubbornness.
The artists are part of the Featured Artists Coalition, whose members also include Annie Lennox and Blur’s Dave Rowntree. The FAC took the rest of the music industry by surprise by publicly announcing that it has “agreed to disagree” with labels over government proposals to suspend the internet connections of persistent filesharers.
I’d love for one of these mega-artists to prove just how filesharing has a detrimental effect on musicians. Taio Cruz, currently number 1 in the UK says:
“I could have been dropped from my record deal because so much was spent and so much of my album was leaked and not paid for. But luckily my label had great belief in me. File-sharing has had a very, very negative effect on my career, as it has on many others.”
He added: “I think it’s very positive to see that other artists, along with the government, are coming together to defend the right to protect our art.”
This is all hyperbole and no fact. The Wolverine movie was widely leaked before its cinema release, but the leak to p2p services made no impact to its takings. In fact considering how awful a movie it turned out to be, it was shocking that its leak had no financial impact. How on earth has Cruz’s album being leaked had a negative effect on his career? How can Elton say sharing music has a ‘detrimental effect’? Lily Allen says:
The music industry is now facing destruction because people have stopped buying music. For every car sold in the UK , a small piece of that profit will go to the designers of the cars, there are thousands ands thousands of other people working in the motor industry that need to be paid too. If we stop paying for a product, the industry supporting that product falls apart, as we have seen over the past few years. i hope that made sense….
Well sorta, but I don’t think the comparison is a valid one. Unless she can prove that the downturn in music sales is uniquely down to filesharing, there’s no reason why the downturn in the music industry hasn’t been down to a period of terribly bad product being made. And she can’t. And neither she nor Elton has attempted to come up with a credible justification as to why the government should be able to terminate households’ internet connections for what is overwhelmingly a civil offence. Maybe they should take their blinkers off and start encouraging their colleagues to make better music, just to see what happens!