Yesterday, TV got the blame. Today, it’s computers – and p2p file sharing, of course.
The blame for what? The lack of parental control. That’s Billboard editor in chief Keith Girard’s theory, as quoted in a Reuters story here.
In ‘Music biz exposes parental irresponsibility,’ Girard writes, "When the Recording Industry Assn. of America launched the first wave of lawsuits against illegal downloaders, it indirectly raised an important question: Where were the parents?
"It quickly became apparent that in many cases, they were nowhere to be found. It seems as though computers had become to the 21st century what TVs were to the 1950s – high-tech babysitters."
The RIAA’s subpoena campaign revealed a "serious disconnect between kids and their parents," says Girard, going on, "But the lawsuits served as a dramatic wakeup call."
Actually, it reveals a serious, and continuing, disconnect between the RIAA and the major record labels, and their customers. Parental control? RIAA subpoena victims are represented by a 12-year-old girl at one end, a 28-year-old student in the middle and a 75-year-old at the far end.
Girard goes on, "In its effort to rouse concern about illegal music downloading, the record industry discovered that kids were exposed to a lot more potentially damaging material – such as child pornography."
Andrew Lack, chief executive of Sony Music Entertainment, would agree. Heartily.
"As a guy in the record industry and as a parent, I am shocked that these services are being used to lure children to stuff that is really ugly," he’s quoted as saying in a recent New York Times article
on porn and p2p.
Little young thing go around my d**k with your tongue ring / Deep throat my nine inch – From a Sony Music CD
"The good news is that in the wake of the RIAA’s campaign, at least some parents are taking more responsibility for what their children do on the Internet," Girard continues, not mentioning if the same will apply to the labels and their porno CDs.
Enter the NPD Group
"In August, as many as 1.4 million families in the U.S. deleted all of their digital music files, according to research firm NPD Group," says the Billboard story. "What’s more, the company attributed much of the trend to the RIAA’s lawsuits."
The NPD group is a marketing research company which in a matter of months has gone from zero, as far as the music industry and file sharing are concerned, to becoming an apparent authority on the subject.
Some time ago, p2pnet emailed NPD wondering how many years’ experience it has in the music research field, asking about the team of interviewers/statisticians it must have, and suggesting it probably has a number of clients associated with the music industry.
We never did hear from them, and when we visited its site, we weren’t able to find a single music industry client. In fact, three representative companies on NPD Group’s client list, plucked from the top, centre and bottom, are:
- adidas International;
- International Flavors & Fragrance; and,
- Wrigley (of chewing gum fame?).
But back to Girard, he points out that the music industry’s troubles are far from over, mentioning that "illegal file swappers are heading underground," that the storage capacity on computers is growing and that by 2008, "experts say 15-terabyte systems will be common. That’s enough to hold every song ever recorded – about 5 million tracks – using today’s MP3 format."
So, the RIAA had better be ready to carry on its legal war "indefinitely" or "Find a way to harness that technology."
Great idea, Mr Girard. Start working with p2p developers instead of against them? Nope.
"You know the old saying: If you can’t beat ‘em, step in and take away their market."