As the British music industry lobby hard for the roundly hated Digital Economy Bill to be passed before the next election, it begs the question: why the rush? I’m fairly confident the industry will NOT collapse if a proper debate takes place over the next two months.
In fact, the more I looked into it, the more the cries of industry destruction (which have been going on for most of the decade) seem strangely detached from reality. Here’s a quick reading list, going back to 2002:
2010 – The demise of the music industry is visible everywhere but in the facts
2009 – UK music industry’s own economist says revenue up 4.7%
2008 – How the music industry garnered record profits in 2008
2004 – BMI posts record year, despite music industry doom and gloom
2002 – RIAA’s (Recording Industry Association of America) statistics don’t add up to piracy
Of course, this is a patchy history at best and I don’t claim to be an expert on the subject. However, since the whole piracy issue was first raised, I haven’t seen any convincing figures showing the alleged ‘end of days’ style decline. Most of the genuinely negative figures I’ve seen look bad in isolation but don’t show the bigger picture. For example: CD sales may be down, but digital sales are up; album sales are down a bit, but single sales are up more; ticket sales, ringtone sales, merchandising sales have all increased, as has sponsorship. More people are listening to music than ever before.
If there is undeniable demand out there, why is the British Government taking undemocratic actions to punish consumers while protecting the bad business decisions of a billion-pound industry?