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ICA's Reg-freetard smackdown: Low bodycount

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One member of the audience had achieved modest success in Asia in a band but found there were hardly any record sales to go with it. He challenged the notion that simply because P2P was popular, it should be legalized. Knife crime was popular too - but that was still theft. Did he want that to be legalized, to?

Matt objected to the comparison, but sidestepped the question. One solution was to adopt his own business strategy, and "play live".

"We're not really a live band," was the reply.

That argument had also been advanced for authors. Personally, I don't think the book is under any threat from electronic media, because paper remains such a good technology. But maybe authors like Martin Amis could "play live" and give their books away for free too, a questioner asked?

Well that's JD Salinger and Thomas Pynchon stuffed, then. Dance for Mr Burns, you performing monkeys!

(This questioner turned out to come from Matt's publisher, by the way.)

I probably should have mentioned, but didn't, that when you have a consultancy business aimed at brand advertisers then the books you write to plug the business will tend to be promotional material - that gives the ad agency and brand people what they want to hear. But, er... I didn't.

Apart from that, there was really only one outbreak of the self-delusions that you get with "Freetardism". One member of the audience said she downloaded stuff but it didn't mean the record companies lost any money. Eh? There is a discovery element to P2P - so did she mean was she spending more or less overall on recordings then? Less, she said. So that's less money going into the sound recording business, then. If the money that would have gone on a CD or iTunes purchase has gone on a video game, or a night down the pub, then that's money spent elsewhere - but she insisted otherwise. Must be a quantum thing. You get some very clever people at the ICA.

I did blank one question, because I couldn't think of anything clever or insightful to say. James Harkin quoted a porn producer who had predicted that half of the professionals in the industry would be out of work in a year. Were there any lessons to be drawn there?

What I should have said is that when there's a 'crisis' in the media - and when there isn't - someone will write a book. This one could be called The Wanker's Dilemma.

Thanks to everyone who came. ®

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