p2p news / p2pnet: In what must be one of the most blatant, bald-faced distortions of truth it’s managed so far, the Big Four Organized Music cartel’s RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) is claiming unauthorized song swapping has been “contained”.
Quoted in USA Today, “The problem has not been eliminated,” dissembles RIAA boss Mitch Bainwol, “But we believe digital downloads have emerged into a growing, thriving business, and file-trading is flat.”
“Digital downloads” can be summed up as online deliveries through Apple’s iTunes, the only significant corporate music service. And it isn’t even a service. Rather, it’s a self-funding loading application developed exclusively for Apple’s iPod music player.
Moreover, the European Commission has looked into Apple’s pricing. It charges 79p (about $1.40) per track against the 99 euro cents (about $1.20) in France and Germany. Nor can Britons beat the differences by downloading from EU sites.
With Microsoft behind it, RealNetworks is mounting a determined effort to become a player, and Napster continues its fruitless efforts to emulate the success of the original Napster, killed by the music industry.
But it’s all academic, for the moment, because assertions by Bainwol and his opposite numbers in Europe notwithstanding, currently, there is no worthwhile corporate music market.
It could be otherwise. For example, instead of eliminating Napster, the major labels could probably have suborned it.
Unlikely? Napster (the original) creator Shawn Fanning has shown his eagerness to work with, and for, the industry. He’s behind Snocap, an application developed specifically to allow the labels to make money from p2p applications.
And even without that, if the Big Four were to drop their wholesale prices and open their catalogues, in all likelihood, they’d now be making as much, if not more, money as they did when physical sales ruled.
Proof of that particular pudding comes via Russia’s AllofMP3.com, a highly affordable p2p download services which bases its sales on download size.
Music lovers are flocking to it, one of the reasons the Organized Music cartel is, with the Bush administration in lock-step, going flat out to destroy it.
Warner Music, Vivendi Universal, EMI and Sony BMG currently wholesale individual digital files for at least 60 to 85 cents, forcing the likes of Apple to charge $1 and more for each download.
The result? Every minute of every day, hundreds of millions of music lovers, each one called a “criminal’ and “thief” by the labels, are ignoring the corporate offerings. Instead, they go to AllofMP3.com, or one of the growing number of independent music sites launched by professional and amateur musicians —— or to the free p2p networks.
This May, globally, the number of p2p users simultaneously logged on at any given moment was close to 10 million, p2p research firm Big Champagne told p2pnet. In May, 2005, the number was 8,665,319 and in 2004, 7,286,377.
In the US in May, 2005, the number was 6,290,327 and in 2004, it was 4,589,255.
Meanwhile, it’s estimated that some 60 million Americans have shared with each other. Against that, the RIAA has issued subpoenas to around 19,000 people, including young children, using the mainstream media to imply that the subpoenas are lawsuits and that the 19,000 have been successfully prosecuted for the non-existent crime of file sharing.
In fact, not one of the RIAA victims has ever appeared before a judge in a civil trial. Patti Santangelo, the New York mother of five, will be the first.
However, 19,000 is apparently a large enough number for Bainwol to be able to claim file sharing is being contained in the US.
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USA Today – RIAA chief says illegal song-sharing ‘contained’, June 12, 2006
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