Archive for September, 2009

Lily Allan and James Blunt “Download fury”

Here’s a confession. I read The Times. I know it’s owned by the corporate monolith that also has “Myspace” and that “Murdoch is Bad News”, but I still come upon it from time to time at work and I read it.

I don’t buy it.

Anyhow, this last week or so I’ve been following the debate about “illegal downloading” or “filesharing”, I’m never sure what they actually mean.

You have Pink Floyd and Radiohead on one side being relaxed about it all…”introduce new fans to the music” etc etc.

And you have Lily and James doing articles and letters in the Times. Who are they writing for?

As I read Lily Allan’s article on the sidebar of the page midway through the newspaper I couldn’t really concentrate on it because I kept asking myself what reader (who can afford the 90p every day to buy the Times) will this article persuade to stop illegally filesharing?

And a couple of days later the bold James had a letter of support published. Again, who is he talking to?

And then it dawned on me. They are not trying to convince the fans, or open a debate with music lovers. They were talking to the lawyers and politicians and regulators and judges and all those type of folk.

These are the same people who turn to the technology of ID cards and tell us how good it is for us and how our lives will be so much improved but they have actually no idea how real people work stuff like blogs and downloads and ebay and facebook and Bebo and connect in so many different ways.

But they do understand one thing.


They want you to download from Itunes and Amazon and pay for the privilige. But if your computer crashes and you lose the music do you think they’ll say…”what a shame, have another copy!”

Let’s get real. I’ve paid for vinyl, 25 years ago. I paid for CD’s 15 years ago, I even paid for minidiscs (once!) I’ve got videos of everything from Devo to  Roxy Music that I will never play again. I’ve bought originals, re masters, compilations, greatest hits, and soon it will be Blue Ray and HD….(ok maybe not blue ray)

As Half Man Half Biscuit would say “Them’s the Vagaries”

Let Lily and James and all those sorts do and say what they like. But don’t let’s have the cosy, cultural, supporting “art for art’s sake” arguement. These folk produce a product that they want to sell. Replace Lily Allan CD with “tin of beans” and you see the arguement more clearly.

I don’t really like beans. 

People know what to do to support what they like. They just get mixed messages on how to do it.


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