Saturday, June 6, 2009

Ben Goldacre (whom you should be reading regularly, if you are not already) has written an interesting piece today. He does that voodooscience that he does so well, and talks about reality. In this case, the reality often obfuscated by deliberately fuzzy thinking on the part of record industry mouthpieces.
A big part of Ben's job is heaping scorn on lazy and credulous journalists. And this is a doozy. Apparently, piracy of music costs the UK's recording industry 10% of the Gross Domestic Product. You would think that as this number were bandied about that if mystic fairies came from beyond the veil and abolished music piracy forever, the entire economy of Britain probably wouldn't suddenly regear itself into a mechanism designed to feed money to recording companies.
(One of the biggest obstacles to rational thought is wishful thinking. Keep that in mind.)

Or concurrently, you'd think they might realize that music albums are ludicrously expensive, what with about 70% of their cost being overhead that goes to the production companies. Raise your hand if you think any of these journalists took the numbers as an impetus to explore the world of mass market music. Why do we pay so much for musically jejune preprocessed garbage? What alternatives we could explore? what might be looming on the horizon?
Put your hands down.

As a whole, the heaviest downloaders of music do so because they love music, and are also among the heaviest purchasers of music. There's a rising tide of "amateur" music artists, who love creating music more than anything. The Internet is creating a place for these groups to come together, one where the greedy siphon of middlemen have no place. I'd be scared too, were I the recording industry. But this is just undignified.

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