The Internet: Opportunites, Not Threats, For Developing-Country Musicians
Musicians in developing countries have much to gain and little to lose from the digital and Internet technologies that the major international recording and publishing industries view as the core enablers of piracy. But to realize those gains they need more control over the copyrights to their recordings and compositions, UNCTAD argues in the E-commerce and Development Report 2004.
Digital and Internet technologies and music are a near-perfect match. Earlier 20th century technologies brought music to growing audiences and helped boost artistic creativity. Those technologies have long since been superseded, and music has now run away from its guardians, the recording and publishing industries, to cavort with appreciative and distant audiences on the Internet's peer-to-peer (p2p) networks. But do all these exciting new developments really offer any positive creative and financial propositions for musicians?
UNCTAD's report explains that traditional sales of recorded music are often insufficient to cover production costs and leave musicians in financial peril. Artists are also left with little control over their work, having forfeited the rights to their compositions and recordings under standard industry contracts. According to industry sources, only 5-to-10 percent of all recordings recoup the advances paid to artists and become profitable. Thus, on top of losing their rights, many musicians also accumulate debt.
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