What happens when something is supposedly under threat? A support group or charitable organization is set up in order to save it. But while that may be admirable when it comes to endangered animals, is it really such a noble cause when the species feeling threatened is musicians?
We are all well aware that the music industry is evolving. It’s having to because the Internet has changed the way people buy, share, and listen to music. The idea of having hugely powerful record labels controlling everything is old-fashioned with musicians able to control their own destiny via selling their wares online.
But the record labels and decades-old music industry isn’t going to lose control without a fight. To that end, there are a number of umbrella groups fighting for their paymasters to stay in charge. The best known of these is the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America), and its British equivalent, the BPI (British Phonographic Industry), but there are a number of others, all of whom look after a certain section of the music industry.
But there’s always room for another umbrella (just ask Rihanna) and from today, UK Music becomes the umbrella group that encapsulates all of the others. The RIAA, being American, isn’t part of this endeavor.
UK Music is being lead by Feargal Sharkey, ex-lead singer with The Undertones. Its aim is to fight music piracy and look out for the welfare of British musicians. To this end, the new group has spelled out a five-year plan to try and get the music industry back on its feet. Although despite falling record sales, I wasn’t aware there was that much to fix.
Sharkey told The Guardian:
The thing we all realized is that we all agree with each other 95% of the time. It’s looking at where the industry is going to be three, four or five years from now.
Quite simply, music is one of the few areas where this nation continues to punch above its weight and something we should all be celebrating.
The thing is, we are all celebrating British music, it’s just that the normal punter on the street who has helped make record label bosses and musicians extremely rich over the past few decades are doing so by embracing new technologies rather than living in the past.
Music piracy isn’t going anywhere. Sure, ISPs co-operating with the record labels by handing over details of file-sharers could make a little dent in the number of downloaders, but nothing will stop it outright. Instead of trying to keep the status quo (not the band) going where record labels control everything and everyone else loses, Sharkey and his cohorts should be looking at solutions for the future.