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Music biz should do more - Top Eurocrat

Viviane Reding gives industry a kick up the bum

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The EU Commissioner for Telecoms and Media Viviane Reding has called for the music business to offer much better services to recapture a 'lost generation'. Her speech gave no encouragement to parts of the music business looking for the European superstate to toughen enforcement.

It didn't mention legal P2P, but it's hard to imagine what else she meant - because everything else has been tried, or is about to be.

"Have we considered all alternative options to repression?" she asked.

(Answer: not yet).

"If we do not, very quickly, make it easier and more consumer-friendly to access digital content, we could lose a whole generation as supporters of artistic creation and legal use of digital services. Economically, socially, and culturally, this would be a tragedy," she said.

The past few years have seen the DRM come off individual music download sales, free streaming to large catalogs, and unlimited downloads, the latter with some kind of social twiddle to allow users to 'share' playlists.

But we haven't seen licensed file sharing as embodied by the original Napster, or file sharing licensed for other businesses to use. In technical jargon, the "exclusive right to make a copy of a sound recording" has not been lifted for use in a commercial environment.

Virgin came closest with its Unlimited service, but pulled out after investing heavily. For a couple of the major labels, it was a bridge too far.

Reding also spoke of a digital generation of er, "digital natives" - who she defined as "podcasters, bloggers, social networkers", who, she predicted, "will be turning consumers with important purchasing power." How? Presumably by blagging junkets from gullible quangos - for they have few other viable income sources.

She also blasted the European Parliament for throwing out the Telecoms Package over the issue of three strikes.

"The agreement encompasses a reform package of more than 160 Articles with 750 subparagraphs. There is only one subparagraph on which no agreement could be found so far. I call on both sides of this debate to come to a very swift agreement on this subparagraph. "

You can read the full speech in its full, sinew-stiffening glory, here [pdf]. ®

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