Music owners are thieves

This is a little departure from the usual topics but I figure it does rate as a scam.

With the decision of Microsoft to cave in to racketeering on the part of Universal, it’s interesting to reflect on some of the comments made by executives in the music business.

Media companies (music, video) are in a pretty much unique position. I can think of no other business where you can accuse your customers of being thieves yet still stay in business. Well, except perhaps for the police.

We’ll start with a quote from Edgar Bronfman Jr, boss of Warner Music.

<blockquote>”We are selling our songs through iPod, but we don’t have a share of iPod’s revenue. We want to share in those revenue streams. We have to get out of the mindset that our content has promotional value only. We have to keep thinking how we are going to monetize our product for our shareholders. We are the arms supplier in the device wars between Samsung, Sony, Apple, and others.” </blockquote>

“We want to share in those revenue streams” is business language for “we want the money”. Now consider the tortured logic being used here. He is suggesting that his company should get a share of iPod sales because people buy iPods so they can play music. Based on this reasoning, there are many companies who are not being justly rewarded for their contribution towards the sales of products.

Should ham and baloney manufacturers receive a cut from sales of bread? After all, who is going to buy bread unless they have something to put in it? Perhaps bread makers should receive a cut from the butter industry, what use is butter unless you have something to put it on?

Edgar, in case you hadn’t noticed, you have already ‘monetized’ your product. Last time I checked, Warner sell their music, they don’t just give it away. Also, they receive money from public broadcasts and performances.

Warner are not an arms supplier, they are an army that has declared war on their customers.

Now let’s look at a comment from David Geffen.

<blockquote>“Each of these devices is used to store unpaid-for material. This way, on top of the material people do pay for, the record companies are getting paid on the devices storing the copied music.”</blockquote>

If they are to levy this charge that assumes all users to be guilty, is there a way of getting a refund if you can prove that your music collection is legal? I doubt it, they assume guilt and punish everyone.

Doug Morris, the CEO of Universal has this to say of this customers.

“”These devices are just repositories for stolen music, and they all know it.. So it’s time to get paid for it.”

Again, assumption is making an ass of him. Since they can’t see who has illegal music, they want to simply grab money from everyone.

Too many people in the music industry have adopted the idea that their customers are thieves and are suggesting solutions that will actually hurt the people who are paying for the products they sell. Is it any wonder that some people see no problem with illegal downloading? Where is the incentive to be honest if you are paying a tax even if you’re honest. Since Microsoft are paying Universal a fee for every Zune sold, it appears that Zune owners should feel no guilt if they illegally download music. They are being punished whether they do it or not so they may as well just go and fire up a BitTorrent client and download to their hearts content. This is the message that Universal have sent to the world.

There can be no doubt that illegal sharing of music does happen. However, is it right for them to punish their honest customers. Where on earth is my incentive to be honest?


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