2024-07-24 17:57:21
Billy Bragg On the music industry economics/music

BBC NEWS | Entertainment 

The past year has also seen the rise of social networking sites such as MySpace, seen by some as a great way to reach potential fans and, with unsigned acts, talent-spotters who can offer record deals. But it is easy for material to be placed online illegally – and singer-songwriter Billy Bragg, now in his 30th year in the business, has particular concerns.

“The majority of people posting songs on to social-networking sites don’t have a record deal,” he says.

“They’re using the site as a way of getting attention to get a deal, so often the first legal contract they’re entering into regarding their work will be through the terms and conditions of that site.

“If we’re in a situation where sites are harvesting intellectual property rights, it almost becomes impossible to use these sites without consulting a lawyer.”

“I reckon if they’d been around 25 years ago, it would have saved me two years of playing in dingy pubs in south London,” he says.

“Undoubtedly Rupert Murdoch is making a lot of money selling advertising on MySpace and he’s not paying a penny for content.”

“The supply to Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda is going to lead to the collapse of HMV as a record business,” he predicts.

Jenner believes that the record industry has been wrong to license tracks which appear on CDs given away by magazines and newspapers.

This signalled discs “did not have a great value – that they were incredibly cheap to make”, he says.

“I suspect that making them cheaper is the record companies’ latest own-goal. They’re cheapening their premium product.”

He also fears the internet is misunderstood by labels.

“They weren’t really able to come to grips with the essential truth of the internet, which is that it’s all about sharing of files.”

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