Musicians believe the internet is an essential tool to help create and market their work, but at the same time more than half of artists say file sharing of unauthorized copies of music should be illegal, according to a new report. The study titled, “Artists, Musicians and the Internet,” by US. researchers suggests that musicians do not wholeheartedly agree with the tactics adopted by the music industry against file-sharing, artists are divided on the issue but not deeply concerned. 60% said they did not think the lawsuits against song swappers would benefit musicians and songwriters.
In Spring of this year, the not-for-profit Future of Music Coalition and the nonprofit, non-partisan think tank the Pew Internet & American Life Project worked with an array of other musician and songwriter organizations including Just Plain Folks, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, CD Baby, the Nashville Songwriters Association, Garageband.com, and the American Federation of Musicians. to conduct an online survey to gauge musicians’ opinions of copyright and the internet in general. Over 2700 musicians completed the survey, the results of which were revealed yesterday.
“Even successful artists don’t think the lawsuits will benefit musicians.” “We looked at more of the independent musicians, rather than the rockstars of this industry but that reflects more accurately the state of the music industry,” research specialist and author of the report Mary Madden told the BBC News website.
52% of all artists and 55% of Paid Artists believe it should be illegal for internet users to share unauthorized copies of music and movies over file-sharing networks, compared to 37% of all artists and 35% of Paid Artists who say it should be legal.
Songwriters Eric Lowen & Dan Navarro, who wrote the Pat Benatar hit “We Belong” said free file sharing can have tremendous promotional value, but artists should be able to decide if they want to give away their music. “I want the ability to choose whether it goes out there for free or not,” Navarro told Wired. “When people start taking (the music for free), it takes the control away from us. I don’t think that’s fair.”
Makers of file-sharing software like Kazaa and Grokster may be unnerved to learn that nearly two-thirds said such services should be held responsible for illegal file-swapping; only 15 percent held individual users responsible.
The report continues to say that 87% of the musician respondents say they promote, advertise or display their music online, and 83% provide free samples or previews of their music on the internet. 69% of the respondents say they sell their music online. 63% say that they sell their music online someplace other than their own Web site.
56% sell CDs through online stores like Amazon.com or CDBaby, 28% sell downloadable files through digital stores like iTunes, and 18% sell their music someplace else online.
“Some in the policy community and in media companies have feared that the internet would bring financial Armageddon to musicians and other artists,” said report author Madden, “What we hear from a wide spectrum of artists is that, despite the real challenges of protecting work online, the internet has opened up new ways for them to exercise their imaginations and sell their creations. To many, this feels like a new Digital Renaissance rather than the end of the world.”
For independent musicians, in particular, this newfound ability to bypass traditional distribution outlets and geographic boundaries has been a watershed. One musician explained that having the ability to sell music online was the most significant impact of the internet.
“A huge positive benefit is being able to have my music available for sale to anyone in the world who wants it. Ten years ago there was absolutely no way to sell your CD except through major distribution deals or at your own shows.”
The survey found that musicians were overwhelmingly positive about the internet, rather than seeing it as a threat to their livelihood. Almost all of them used the net for ideas and inspiration, with nine out of 10 going online to promote, advertise and post their music on the web.
The survey is the first large-scale snapshot of what the people who actually produce the music that downloaders seek (and that the industry jealously guards) think about the Internet and file-sharing. The Recording Industry Association of America, the trade group for the major music labels, declined to comment on the study.
Download the 61page PDF. report.
‘Artists, Musicians & the Internet’
Study:Musicians Dig the Net [Wired.com]
Musicians ‘Upbeat’ About the Net [BBC News]
Pew File Sharing Survey Gives a Voice to Artists [NYTimes.com-reg. req.]
How do Musicians Feel About File Sharing? [USAToday.com]
The WIRED CD: Rip. Sample. Mash. Share.[CreativeCommons.org]
File-Sharing Getting Bad Rap? [Rolling Stone] April 2004
Download This! Chuck D Interview [CBCNews.ca] March 2004
Grey Album Fans Protest Clampdown [Wired.com]
Killing the Music [CommonDreams.org] Feb. 2004
An Eagle Almost Gets it [A Networked World blog]
Musicians United for Strong Internet Copyright [MusicUnited.net]
RIAA Radar [Magnetbox.com]
Downhill Battle-Music Activism
Feeding the Mouth that Bites [ChrisVreeland.com]
Let the Music Play [EFF.org]
Recording Industry Association of America [Wikipedia.org]
Model & History of File Sharing [InfoAnarchy.org]
Tracking the Downloading Revolution [BigChampagne.com] PDF
Privacy & Piracy: The Paradox of Illegal File Sharing on Peer-to-Peer Networks and the Impact of Technology on the Entertainment Industry [US.Senate Study] 169pg PDF
Rappers in Disharmony on P2P [Wired.com] Oct. 2003
Changing Industry:Moby [Moby.com] Sept. 2003
Moby on File Sharing [Moby.com] Aug. 2003
the Internet Debacle-An Alternative View [JanisIan.com] May 2002
Lars Ulrich’s Death Wish: Metallica v their Fans [Disinfo.com] Oct 2000
Chuck D: Gotta Share the Tunes [Wired.com] Oct 1999
Downloading the Future. The MP3 Revolution & the End of the Industry as We Know It [LAWeekly] March 1999
Negativland and the RIAA