Rednex: The Record Companies vs. The File Sharers

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Kurz-URL: http://mkzä.de/352

Rednex love Pirate Bay... but WHY??!

Dieser Text ist ein Auszug dieses PDFs der Rednex, das sie anlässlich ihres Releases von "Devils's On the Loose" bei The Pirate Bay veröffentlicht haben.

Everybody seems to think that a fierce battle is underway between the record companies and the filesharers, but this is a naive assessment - the battle is long since over. Within 12 years the record companies will be extinct and any efforts in holding back the filesharers until then will be futile.

The moral and legal issues are no longer at play now that a new practical reality has outplayed them. While record companies must concede defeat, those with the real power associated with them need to give up their support, and new artists must invent new ways to spread their music.

For the release of Rednex's new single, ‘Devil's On The Loose’, we have partnered with Pirate Bay. Although seen as a villain in many eyes, they are quite the opposite and such filesharing projects are helping them to pioneer a fantastic revolution in information exchange that will grant the world an enormous range of benefits far beyond its innovative technology.

The music business today is dominated by ‘The Big Four’, the world’s four largest record companies in Universal, Sony, Warner and EMI. They attained their position during the second half of the 20th century thanks to a near total supremacy in the distribution and marketing of music.

If an artist wanted to succeed during the rule of the major labels then they first had to secure their patronage, for the labels held sway over the media that relayed the music to the artist's potential fan base and controlled the gateway to the record

It has now reached a level whereby if you ask an unknown artist today what their dream is, they won't answer, ”To play a concert in front of 1000s of people,” or ”To have 10,000s of fans listening to my music” or even, ”To make a living out of my music,” but instead respond, ”To get a record deal and release my own record”.

In an industry characterised by rampant ambition, it seems somewhat ridiculous that the predominant dream is something as humble as just getting your own record released. It’s as if there is a higher power that decides who is allowed to release their music or not. The record companies have succeeded so well through years of propaganda that artists now believe they need them just as you need a driving license to drive a car. That the labels should control which music reaches an audience is, of course, as insane as your internet provider deciding what songs from a certain artist are allowed to be released on the net.

Although the last century saw this control become a grim fixture of the industry, the digital revolution has now put a stop to it. Today, the reality is a very different beast - both distribution and marketing wise - and it is about time that everyone involved makes the necessary adjustments accordingly.

What most people don't dare realise is that it is no longer relevant to even ask the question of whether free downloads are right or not. No matter what people think about filesharing, one must understand that the moral and legal rights are no longer applicable. The battle is over. The filesharing communities won't budge. Now Pirate Bay has more visitors every week than London or New York has inhabitants.

How can anyone seriously believe that those tens of millions of people will just simply disappear? By now everyone must realise that any adjustment by the rights-holders will be immediately countered by the filesharers.

The next generation of filesharing applications - OneSwarm, GigaNews – are already ready waiting hand-in-hand with anonymity applications such as Relakks. If any more counter pressure is applied then the filesharing technique will simply be revised. For instance, information could be hidden in converted files - music can hide inside a jpg, pictures can hide inside a text file and so on. Technical development is always one step ahead. Laptops and soon portable phones have hundreds of gigabytes of storage, so friends can share files in the cafe over wifi, even without the internet.

Whether fair or not, upholding musical property rights is now as pointless as trying to patent a food recipe or a new word. In fact attempts to prevent a breach will ultimately just succeed in causing a lot of damage.

The filesharers themselves don’t need to worry because tracking them down is like initiating an investigation into who farted on an aeroplane. They know all too well it is an impossible mission. The resources available to stop them are comparable to having one lone standing police officer monitor a five-lane highway for speeding motorists. Sure he will catch one or two and some might slow down, but ultimately the highway itself will keep on roaring onwards at its own relentless pace.

We were fortunate to find out about Napster as early as 1999 when one of our owners visited two audio professors at the technical university (KTH) in Stockholm, Sweden. Within 30 seconds they had downloaded ‘Cotton Eye Joe’ without paying a cent. Afterwards the owner called his label contacts hoping to get some smart answers on how to avoid an imminent apocalypse in the music business that this event foreshadowed. Surprised and bemused by the revelation they have yet to respond.

Instead he was left with a head full of troubling thoughts that had become so intense that while staring out of a train window a couple of days later, a stranger approached him, laid her hand on his arm and said, ”Whatever your problem is, it will soon get better ...”

She was wrong, of course. Over the ensuing 10 years the solution has failed to emerge and we have long since stopped searching for it. If people want to download songs for free then they can and it will remain so. What’s more the economy of the music business will continue to shrink to a tiny fraction of what it once was.

Any new laws created by governments will prove costly and without significant effect. At the same time, artists asserting their copyrights will look increasingly stupid and greedy - which hardly provides a good foundation for people to voluntarily pay for music.

As people bear witness to the ineffectual efforts made by the industry, more and more will start usingfree filesharing, and the more people using it the more ineffective the next ‘preventative’ measures will be – and on it goes. What’s more if everyone is reportedly doing it then those that aren’t will think it’s now the norm and join in. Artists will eventually realise that there is no point in even trying to protect
their rights since they can't be protected in any practical terms.

In the end, no rights will be claimed and those that are won't be defended. Services such as Spotify may prove a temporary success - at least until someone works out a similar application that is free, and illegal - however, in the long run, music will be free to own and some of it legal, such as ”Devil's On The Loose”.

So, eventually we will reach a point where the record labels will not have the resources needed to stay afloat and will sink. No external body will believe they still have a value and the owners of the labels - who mostly deal with activities other than music anyway - will want to get rid of such costly and useless sub-divisions. This will all happen within 12 years, perhaps in as little as only 5-6 years.

Don't let yourselves be fooled by the relatively slow decline happening at the moment. The final 50% of the industry will vanish very quickly when the remaining enthusiasts finally decide it is time to flee the sinking ship. It is similar to what happens during a ‘bank run’, when the rumour about a bank’s impending bankruptcy is spread and people start withdrawing money. When the key investors withdraw, everyone else panics and follows suit.

To plead with the record labels to put down their guns is pointless. They have nowhere to go - they can't move forward or transform and will get increasingly desperate with each passing year. However, their employees should be careful. Do you really want your CV diluted by bankruptcies that you were stupid enough not to foresee? Who wants to have in their CV, ”2010 – fax machine salesman”? It is not very smart and probably says more about a person than you would wish. To invest knowledge and time in a dying system or product is hardly very productive.

How clever is it to sit on the losing team's substitute bench watching the opponents score over and over? Who will want to work in such a desperate and depressing environment?

But most important of all it is the artists that should worry and act to anticipate the record label collapse. Any artist who signs a contract with a label today might be stuck for more than 5 years. This includes the risk of having both yourself and your rights stuck with a company that no one wants and that will go bankrupt. There is only one piece of advice to give to artists today – flee the labels!

You don't want your rights to get stuck with these companies for 5-6 years. Their administration costs will be larger than their income, the royalty payments will not be paid. Rights will change owners several times during a short period of time and will be drawn into a dense legal tangle that will take an eternity to unravel.

Furthermore, within the near future, artists signed with the Big Four will be seen as out-dated, helpless, and lacking the innovation and creativity to move forward - traits hardly desirable in an artist.

In interests of self-preservation, it is not that artists need to rethink their opinions on filesharing but simply think more street smart. You need to raise your worldview above and beyond the mixing desk, and away from the narrow view of the industry in order to realise how the world is changing and how you will change with it.

Artists must try out new ways to release their music and distance themselves from the current model. In order to build new systems, old systems have to first be dismantled. Partnerships with filesharing sites such as Pirate Bay could be one great way - or may not. But right now anything is worth trying and the best way to move forward is to experiment. Get inventive!

One thing is for sure though, the new system will be one modelled to suit the new technically advanced reality, not one that pathetically attempts to choke it. Essentially this is how it works: the world doesn't give a shit about the music business - it won't hold its horses to wait for it. Only the music business cares about the music business. In its naive and false pride has it fooled itself into believing it is invulnerable and respected by all. However, on the contrary, the world couldn’t care less about the music industry and won't even flinch as it withers away.

The new system needs to come from a fresh, non-establishment source - or at least someone who has broken out of the establishment - since it won't change itself. This is partly born out by the extreme conservatism shown by the industry over the past 10 years, but also because it is not the nature of an establishment to make changes. Change is largely perceived as a potential threat to their position of power. Therefore, all changes needs to come from below.

Although the industry will shrink, the potential will still be sizable since whoever manages to come up with a new idea or product that supports the new system will have a great opportunity to ably position themselves within the new industry.

As the system of today reels and writhes in its foundations, ceasing to function before the new decade has passed, there is no valid reason for any artist to adjust to the old system of today. What's the point of decorating a room in a house earmarked for demolition?

The music business is standing at a breakpoint. As the boat sinks the question now is who will stay on board and who will abandon ship and swim for shore, where a new vessel can be built to better stand the new climate.

Well, well, sad tunes, huh? Actually, not at all! The fact is that this development is only bad news to a few individuals. For the rest of us it's fantastic and hugely beneficial, and not simply in terms getting free access to music and film, but in relieving all costs, borders and delay to obtain access to ALL information across the globe. The benefit to mankind is so monumental that it cannot be compared to
anything that we have experienced before.

This movement is part of something much greater and we all need to expand our perspectives to realise the enormous value and potential that lies within it.

It is time for the world to fully understand that we are entering an era where everything that can be digitalised will be - your pictures, texts, opinions, songs ... everything! The borders have been breached and it is now much too late to go back. The downloading of music is only one small part of this gigantic framework and to only have one form of information out there floating around, and not all, is neither possible or desirable. Needless to say, to install a system that can separate copyright protected material from non-copyright protected material is simply inconceivable.

Mankind will become more knowledgeable, wiser, smarter and ultimately stronger by this development. We don't expect that established artists will celebrate, but everyone else should.

That a bizocalypse – when companies and whole industries crumble when faced with new techniques – occurs now and then is nothing new and the bizocalypses will only intensify as the technological development increases its speed. One beautiful example is the Swedish company Facit, who were the world-leading manufacturer of mechanical calculators during the 1960s. By 1970 Facit were a ubiquitous presence around the globe with over 14,000 employees based in 140 countries, and boasting an annual turnover of more than $100,000,000. However, only two years later they filed for bankruptcy. The reason for their swift demise is credited to their failure to acknowledge the superiority of modern digital calculators and adapt to meet the new demands. Sound familiar? People should be pleased that they are no longer around providing the world with useless products.

This debate needs to be taken to another level. It is no longer relevant or even interesting to discuss whether someone has the moral right or not to exclusively demand rights to ones music or ideas. It is not at all as clear-cut as the music business and various law enforcement institutions claim.

The copyright is definitely not a holy natural right that people acquire at birth. The concept that as soon as someone has an idea they also have the right to it is absurd. Copyright is something that is claimed and needs supporters to then assert the claim. There is nothing wrong in trying to capitalise on ones ideas but it is important to realise that this is not a given right that everyone automatically must agree to and respect.

We are not arguing that one does not have the right to ones idea, but we are not arguing in favour of it either. Our point here is that the issue is much more complicated than what the copyright holders and their opponents choose to make it.

Nevertheless, there is no need to feel moral pity for musicians as they themselves are skilled in the art of thievery. There is not a music producer in the world who doesn’t have drawers stuffed with stolen samples, and there is not a successful vocalist who hasn't copied the style of another singer. Every piece of music is at least in part based on an earlier form of music first conceived by someone else. A musician that accuses someone of stealing is a hypocrite.

It should also be asked if it is not more appropriate to charge for a product after it's been used, as is the case with restaurants, massage and taxi, for example. How many times have you paid for a movie that on viewing you found to be rubbish or bought an album to later find out that two thirds of the songs are just filler?

Even the music business itself is confused by the issue of copyright, since it only claims copyright for the 50 or 100 years after the author is dead. This is weird. How do you defend this viewpoint? Shouldn't it be that one either has the right to the songs or doesn’t? The moral opinions are ill founded and confusing and it is of course not difficult to understand that the labels arguments’ are motivated less by morals than by profits.

It is important that the people in power realise how messed up the moral debate is, but even more so that they understand how paralysed they and the record companies both are. Any attempt to fight the filesharers will fail. If a politician fails it will just be another black mark on their resume but the consequences for society could be much worse.

To support the record companies and challenge the torrent communities is a huge waste of resources, money and labour. Some random filesharers will be punished but for no use. Maybe they will win some stages but in the long run they will be outclassed so any effort made will ultimately be wasted. The question is how much damage will be caused and how much blood will be spilled on their path to surrender.

The trial against Pirate Bay is one such example of hollow action that won't change a thing. What’s more as Pirate Bay were never responsible for hosting any illegal files it is also a gross miscarriage of justice.

Sweden has once again distinguished itself internationally as being an unfortunate mix of visionary geniuses with world class expertise (Nobel, Linné, Kamprad mm) - in this case Pirate Bay - and nervous sops intent on making politically correct decisions - in this case Tingsrätten (Stockholm local court).

When artists, filmmakers, software programmers and more realise the futility of copyright claims and decide to cease such endeavours thereafter, Pirate Bay will be acknowledged and hailed as visionaries and pioneers and be admired for their uncompromising strategy to speed the inevitable advance towards free information.

Rednex is enormously proud to be associated with Pirate Bay, who push human and technical development to new heights, and it will be a true pleasure to watch the pointless and inefficient record companies vanish and become nothing but a fossil in the lush digital jungle.

Obviously the existence of torrents and Pirate Bay have meant that Rednex have lost out massively over the years, but we have long since realised that it is pointless to fight against this torrent, and so celebrate a digital development that will enrich humanity on many levels.

Somehow we will attempt to uphold a profitable business regardless, but it will be a gamble. We will try to get people to donate money or become members at where people can also buy songs for only 30 cents. We hope that, together with income from shows, films, commercials and sponsors, this will be enough to keep us alive and well. It is a shaky business but amidst the chaos beginning to engulf the industry, there is no other alternative than to experiment and plant one boot firmly in the future.

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Kommentare (3)

es wird immer leute geben, die für künstler den ganzen administrations- und organisations-kram übernehmen. und es wird auch immer leute oder firmen geben, die so sehr von musik begeistert sind, dass sie in neue talente investieren und sie auf ihrem weg begleiten.

ob wir das jetzt label, agentur oder sonstwie nennen, ist wumpe.
die reinen kommerz-firmen, die nicht hinter ihren produkten stehen, mögen vllt untergehen, aber niemals die leute und firmen, die mit herzblut dabei sind.

künstler, die bei einer solchen firma unter vertrag stehen, dürfen sich glücklich schätzen.

"The filesharers themselves don’t need to worry because tracking them down is like initiating an investigation into who farted on an aeroplane."

Weltklasse! :-)

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