£15 a month for legal P2P?
UK pirates mull options: Pay or defy?
Over a quarter of file sharers would pay £14.50 a month for a legal P2P service, according to new survey of UK downloaders. A quarter also agreed with ISPs blocking web sites as a countermeasure against infringement. But around a third of pirates (34 per cent) reckoned that ISP threats would make no difference at all to their download habits. Yarr.
The survey is law firm Wiggin's annual research into consumer and entertainment expenditure, this time conducted with Entertainment Media Research. You can compare the info-nuggets just published with those from a predecessor here, if you like. The survey comes up with some surprising results. In 2008 the same survey found 49 per cent of people thought DRM was a good idea. Moral: always take "an online consensus" with a large bag of salt.
Infringers were asked what they'd ideally be comfortable with paying for a legal P2P service, and were prompted with a range of fees from which to choose. 59 per cent opted for £3.00 to £3.50 a month. That's about the price of a pint of beer in the West End, or about 20 minutes of watching a Millwall FC game from a cheap seat, if you could watch Millwall by the minute from a cheap seat.
That's likely to be met with a slow hand clap and a raspberry from license holders, because of two unavoidable facts. Two thirds of broadband users don't do any infringing at all - they're just not interested. Either they don't like music - we were reminded recently that 44 per cent of the UK doesn't buy recorded music in any form - or they buy through legal channels. And secondly, as surveys have repeatedly shown, many infringers are music fans simply pursuing their interest, and many have a greater propensity to pay for music.
So it's in the interests of artists and their reps to cater to the real music fans with cash in their wallets, for they spend the most money. This means maximising income from a small part of the population. This is not going to be achieved by giving away the farm for a couple of magic beans. Or £35 a year…
High spending music fans also go hunting for unlicensed music - shock!
There are some subtle divisions amongst the labels when the topic comes up. The world's biggest major, Universal, has blessed unlimited downloads because it reckons it could capture more casuals this way. Indie boss Martin Mills recently told us that a low-cost unlimited service would hurt his roster of labels - their customers are music fans quite happy to buy stuff.
So unlimited deals, such as the Virgin-Universal venture, may hurt indies quite badly. £14.50 for P2P may do too, but less so.
There's a few more highlights from the study via Music Week, here. ®
Labels love it
The reason labels like this is because a flat fee means they don't have to actually pay any money to the artists.
If you download a track by band X then band X get a cut.
But a general download tax means all the money goes to the RIAA/PRS who take a cut and pass some on to the labels that are in their club (so non to small labels).
The labels then pass on some to their current favorite artists by some formula they get to decide - so it becomes a way of underwriting the launch of their latest boy band.
It also gives labels a continuing reason to exist in an age when a band can do a deal with itunes directly.
In Canada there is a tax on blank CDs to pay for illegal downloads (go figure) but the money goes to the equivalent of the RIAA who spend most of it on fees. - the rest they give to Celine Dion.
Meanwhile an indie artist that sells their own CDs have to pay a 25c levy on each disc.
Y'know - that *does* sound like a much better place than the one we live in where petty jobsworths do their best to make life miserable for everyone else...
"don't like it"? - more like "can't find it"
Given the enormous range of recorded music available IF YOU LOOK FOR IT, I would suggest that a lot of that 44% don't know what music exists past the crap we endure on daytime radio, and the shite acts churned out through X Factor and Britain's got talent.
The problem is not one of tastes not catered for, it's one of visibility. It's why I've believe there's more justification for keeping the non-commercial programming of stations such as 6Music and getting rid of chart and major label centric commercial daytime Radio 1.