Musicians have spoken out strongly against UK government plans to disconnect the Internet connections of repeated copyright infringers. They argue that the plans, much applauded by the big music labels, will further alienate fans from artists.
While the music industry paints a picture where file-sharers are criminals who refuse to pay for music, the reality is quite the opposite. The people who share music are dedicated music fans who actually buy more music than their non-pirating friends.
True music enthusiasts simply want to consume, sample and discover as much new music as they possibly can, and the most straightforward and convenient way to do this is through file-sharing networks. Music pirates are just regular consumers really, and they love music just as much as anyone else.
The music industry fails to realize this though and has declared war against their main source of revenue, which resulted in UK plans to disconnect alleged file-sharers. Instead of finding ways to please the changing demands of music fans in the digital era, they have chosen to defend their old models and punish the fans instead.
This trend is worrying artists, the people who actually produce the music but who are never heard when new legislative measures are drafted. Unlike the big labels they don’t want their fans to be punished for a ‘problem’ that was created by a lack of innovation from the labels.
The Featured Artists Coalition (FAC), the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (Basca) and the Music Producers Guild (MPG) have joined forces to prevent a three-strikes disconnection regime being implemented.
In a statement the broad alliance of musicians, producers and songwriters criticizes the new UK anti-piracy plans, which they labels as illogical and “extraordinarily negative”. With this move they go directly against the wishes of the major record labels who are represented by the IFPI and BPI.
Unlike the musicians, the labels are advocating stringent measures to prevent the industry from going bankrupt. To back this up they feed the legislators with dizzying numbers. Statistics that have been fabricated by the music industry itself, and blindly accepted by the UK Government.
However, in reality the anti-filesharing antics of the major music labels only continue to further alienate fans from their artists. Most musicians oppose the label’s strategies and rightly so. Music is thriving more than ever before, but now consumers and fans are taking over the distribution role.
Eventually the labels might have to give up the distribution component that has been their core business for years on end. This paints an uncertain future for the labels and that might be one of the main reasons why they are so resistant.
Luckily there are some smaller labels out these that realize that file-sharing should be embraced, not fought.