The iMesh Challenge: Give Me All Your Music... Or Else
Yesterday's editorial struck a chord with many readers who either added their own reasons for slumping CD sales or how file sharing may increase purchasing. I'd like to add one more detail of tremendous importance: media consolidation.
While I may harp to no end on this subject, the fact remains that the 1996 Telecom Act may be having a more damaging impact on the music industry as a whole than file sharing. In fact, if you were to take that graph correlating the emergence of Napster with CD sales, and super-impose a third chart - radio consolidation since passage of the 1996 Act - the whole file sharing argument may look a little fuzzier.
Clearly, arguments that appear as logical as "file sharing cannibalizes CD sales," could also be made of the impact media consolidation has on the ability/cost to access consumer markets, break new music, and yes, sell CDs. And while I insinuated a possible link between file sharing and climbing concert prices/receipts, I could just as well attribute it to Clear Channel's synergizing of its duo market dominance in the live entertainment and radio sectors.
Now I'm not coming back on what I previously said of the likely impact of file sharing on the recording industry. But while the industry makes a big fuss arresting students, spamming file sharers and suing phone companies, the FCC may be getting ready to sell of the whole farm right under our nose.
Of course, file sharing gets all the attention because, unlike smoke-&-mirrors FCC Chairman Michael Powell, it is open and brazen. Take IMesh's call to the music industry to "make all material, including the newest and most popular files, available online in the same form and manner as original music."
"The time has come after last week's landmark ruling to realize that artists and publishers have clearly created a situation where users have little alternative but to search for free content online," stated Elan Oren, CEO of iMesh.
We look forward to reading the RIAA's response once their site is back up from its latest hack.
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