Picture by W oznia k - www.wozwoz.net
I admit not to have more than an eye distracts on the forums of the artists for some months. I don't know if it's the stupid debates on the sexuality of Manu Chao or the lack of relevant subjects, but this disturbing evolution of the discussions discourages me!
However, it's a link in the forum of "Macaco" that drew my attention this month. It sends us to an interview of Dani (singer of Macaco).
- Dani Macaco " I hope that people won't pirate my new album. I think that it's not expensive … It's easy for Manu Chao to say he's in favor of the hacking. He can say this because he sells a great deal of CDs, but if he only sold as much as I do, he probably wouldn't say so. "
My subject was quite found! The music-pirate, (we yeah!).
While reading the interview an ascent of adrenalin crossed my left hand, what resulted in bathing me in a wave of coffee, to end until my tongue, pulling a stream of insults which the propriety obliges me not to retranscribe here.
I don't know if it's the desire of his company that forces Dani Macaco to oppose to the hacking or if he was, as many, convinced by the simplistic analysis of the media, it deserved at least that I dedicate my editorial to bring a little more precise elements of answers.
It's the copying of CDs we all do at our home, for our friends, or to bring to the job, etc. but it's also and especially the whole containers of CDs pirated from the Eastern countries. Then there are the exchanges of data via the downloading by internet. This last one is called peer-to-peer ( P2P), represented by sites such as Kazaa.
There are three, four companies (Sony having had the agreement to merge with BMG and there's EMI, Universal and Warner) which hold, approximately, 80 % of the record-market.
Funny facts (it's better to laugh at it),
1-The reporter of the European directive on the "respect for the rights of intellectual property", the French representative of the UDF Jannely Fourtou, is nobody else than the wife of the president of the most important record-giants Vivendi Universal. These last ones obtained that the text foreseen at first to fight against the diverse industrial forgeries from the Eastern countries now also includes the downloading of music or films.
Originally, the proposition of the European directive on the "respect for the rights of intellectual property", subjected to the vote of the European Parliament settled a simple objective: fight against the forgery in the Union, possibly before the extension with the Eastern countries, accused of serving as entry to the traffics. Insufficient for the record-multinationals and the cinema industry, who demanded the addition of all the "non-commercial" achievements. Objective: harden the fight against the systems of free music exchanges on the Net as Kazaa. Their wish was fulfillled. Jannely Fourtou, reporter of the text, spread the reach: it affects just as much the traffics on industrial scale as the downloading by the private individuals of music or films.
2-The inquiry on the accounts of Vivendi between 2000 in 2002. Indeed, justice bends over the file of the refundable obligations in shares emitted by the group in November, 2002. The Authority of financial markets (AMF, the ex-Securities and Exchange Commission) opened from his part an inquiry on this operation.
The foundation Janelly and Jean-René Fourtou bought for 14,7 million euro of titles, their children for 5 million, a family civil society for 755 000 euro. Mr Fourtou's close, doctor Sarrouh, would also have acquired it. Actually, the close relations of Mr Fourtou realized a 11 million euro surplus (Source "Le Monde").
The profile of the pirate, pursued by record companies and other institutions of the music (Sacem, RIAA, IFPI, ADAMI) is you and me. Let the one who has never downloaded some music one day, throw the first spam. Remains to see if our behaviour as consumer of records changed for all that! At least the multinationals decided to apply a 100 % repressive strategy, declared nevertheless too simplistic by the Economic and Social Council (THESE). For the reporter, it's a question "to define a new social contract between the creators and the nation". A total fight against the pirates is vain, underlines the council. And to continue : "someone who downloads without paying is not a pirate, a pirate isn't an organized counterfeiter on the continental scale".
There's already a hard repression almost everywhere in the world, the arrests, the lawsuits and the fines. The novelty it is that the multinationals, gathered around an entity, the Snep, want to add a tax to internet access providers for the illicit music downloading via sites accommodated by them. Do I have to clarify the error?
Record companies decided to attribute the losses on the sales of CD (up to 30 %) essentially to the hacking. They lean on analyses done by Edison Rester, Forester and the University of Texas, among others and conclude (record companies not the analysts): "our own studies show that the persons who download most files are those who buy least CD."!!!
They don't worry to know if these even individuals, ahead of the CD-technology, don't direct their purchasing power on supports more suited to their need, or simply if the purchase of, for example DVD, isn't more important to the individual who handles the computer tool.
An inquiry, asked by Fnac, came to oppose to that of the record companies. It demonstrates that the hacking would be responsible for only 2 or 3 points in the decline of the sales of CD. Another study, targeting the hacking P2P, of two professors of economy Strumpf and Oberholzer tends to demonstrate that the downloading contributes to increase the purchase of albums.
Other explanations in the decline of sales:
What is certain today it is that the CD, which has been through its most glorious stage, is a product at the end of its career. The technologies evolve and the CD answers fewer and fewer at the request of the users. Record companies forget to mention the explosion of the sales of the DVD. According to the New Observer, sales would have increased by more than 55 % from 2002 till 2003!!!
Besides, the prices of CD are still excessive. A policy of decline of the prices of the CD in the United States allowed to make increase sales.
It has to be noted that the monopoly of these four record companies brings with it a consequent musical poverty for the sale of disks. A policy of production of "disposable" artists and no more a long-term edition is developing more and more. BMG, subsidiary of Bertelsmann, for example, plans to cancel 60 % of its contracts with the German artists. Bertelsmann who possesses RTL and M6 (almost everywhere in Europe) follows the same policy as its record company with preferential broadcastings, on radio or tv. Which results in an incredible quantity of broadcastings of the same artist, up to 40 times a day. Boring… leaving little place for other artists, thus to the cultural variety. That way you get a production identical to that of any consumer-product, leaving us the choice between Nike or Adidas, Coca or Pepsi, Mac Do or Quick, Bruel or Pagny!!!
Internet still allows to have a more ample musical wealth. It allows independent artists, small labels, to propose a musical choice richer than a Fnac or a Virgin.
And it's mainly because of this that record companies want to attack by preventing the proliferation of the P2P(downloading). Prevent that the artists can be brought to auto-occur, to prevent the development of musical exchange which can escape them and cause them consequent losses in their activity.
To conclude, I don't say that we shouldn't regulate the hacking in a intelligent way. The idea of the excessive free downloading doesn't seduce me more than the commercial policies of the record companies. It's also a question of respecting the work of the artist and the musical culture, its variety, in general. But I'm convinced that the hacking (P2P) is at first the product of a bad and long commercial policy of the record companies and that it contributes much more to the musical variety than the companies do.