Bono On File Sharing & The Future Of Media

Is The Internet Making ISP's Rich On The Backs Of Musicians?      03/01/10

Buying Choices

Bono has penned an New Year's opinion piece for the New York Times, offering 10 ideas that might make the next 10 years more interesting, healthy or civil.

Of specific interest to musicians are his thoughts on file sharing and the future of media:

The only thing protecting the movie and TV industries from the fate that has befallen music and indeed the newspaper business is the size of the files. The immutable laws of bandwidth tell us we’re just a few years away from being able to download an entire season of “24” in 24 seconds. Many will expect to get it free.

A decade’s worth of music file-sharing and swiping has made clear that the people it hurts are the creators — in this case, the young, fledgling songwriters who can’t live off ticket and T-shirt sales like the least sympathetic among us — and the people this reverse Robin Hooding benefits are rich service providers, whose swollen profits perfectly mirror the lost receipts of the music business.

Bono has benefited as much as almost anyone from the status quo of the mainstream music industry, and this may lead some to dismiss his anti-file-sharing comments.

But fifteen years after the first .mp3 files started showing up on the Internet and ten years after Napster, people are still trying to figure out how musicians are going to deal with file sharing and make some money. 

Bono argues that file-sharing is making Internet Service Providers rich at the expense of musicians - which raises the question: can the music industry turn this back around?

Ten to fifteen years into the digital music revolution, it's looking like the Internet has created a buyer's market for music and it's likely to do the same for other digital media.


James Lewin
Twitter @podcasting_news


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