File sharing is killing the music industry

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An article in the Metro this morning covered the statement by the British Phonographic Institute (BPI) that they would consider prosecuting people sharing music files. They will be targetting the ‘heavy’ user of course, so people like you and I should be OK (I don’t think I’m actually sharing ANY music files at present… and obviously I’m not sharing anything like TV episodes or anything…). They are insisting that the downward trend in sales of albums and singles is wholly down to illegal file sharing.

I think not.

There is a very good reason I don’t buy chart music anymore. It’s crap. Yes I’m generalising but the few singles I do like are typically from an artist whose album I already own or consistitute what I would term “transient pop” – I quite enjoy it’s catchy melody or chorus whilst it’s on the airwaves (weeks before it actually charts of course) but have no real urge to own a permanent copy of it, especially not for £3.99.

Mind you, I have to admit that I’m slightly bemused as to why album sales are down as I’m buying more than ever, particularly since we started our ‘music club’ at work – bi-weekly one of us brings in an album for us all to listen to, and we discuss/berate/laugh at it. It’s certainly increased the diversity of my CD collection at home, much to the bemusement of my wife (let’s just say that she’s stuck in the 80s and leave it at that). I also recalling reading a news article late last year that stated that album sales were UP on last year’s figures, so which is it? Up or down?

I’m thinking that albums sales will always be prone to fluctuation, and it may be possible that more people are buying CDs ‘cheaper’ rather than ‘less’.

Single sales can be blamed on the approach that the music industry has taken. Remember how it used to be..

[cue wavy ‘dream’ effect, everything shimmers and turns to cloud, then clears to reveal “how it used to be”]

The first time you heard a song was maybe a week in advance of release, and even then it was rare that a single went straight in at Number One. Songs used to climb the chart. Remember that? Do you remember sitting with a tape, recording the chart show, trying to pause at the right moment so you’d end up with a music only tape of the latest singles. It was almost like a competition – Who has the best chart tape this week? – and great pride was taken on a Sunday evening. Hell I even remember once recording it on TWO tapes at the same time. Not sure why, but I’m sure it was a good idea at the time.

To be honest I’m taking an almost perverse pleasure at watching the music industry bleat and moan about losing money. For years it’s been know that we are being overcharged for our CDs. My message to members of the BPI is this: “Suck it up”. I’m sure your marble floored, 10 bedroom house (with ‘collection’ of Ferraris) will compensate.