Downloads and sales: where is the evidence?

Feargal Sharkey has taken on one of those jobs that attract almost universal derision. The former vocalist for The Undertones has become the spokesperson for the UK music industry, a job akin to serving as the front for a kitten pie manufacturer in the eyes of many. Respect must go to him for taking on such unpopular job, someone has to do it. Nonetheless, the problem with that job is that he is forced to make some outrageous statements from time to time.

Last week Charles Arthur wrote a great piece about music sales in The Guardian, in which he commented that overall entertainment sales have gone up in the last decade, but mostly for DVDs and games. This is something that I have been commenting as well for quite a while, as it is something that I have noticed in my own music purchases. I do not download music in P2P sites anymore, but I do not buy that much music either, instead I buy DVDs, books and games. Sharkey now has responded to Arthur’s article claiming that:

“However, to deny that a totally free, unregulated peer-to peer ecosystem – which redirects revenues from UK creators, artists and entrepreneurs towards Pirate Bay and other unlicensed businesses – has a negative impact on jobs is illogical.”

This is the place where Sharkey should own up and give us some counter-evidence that makes his case. If it is illogical to think that there is a link between downloads and music sales, then there should be a wealth of evidence to prove it right? But Sharkey does not give us any evidence, he just gives us more talking points from the industry about innovation.

Until the music industry starts making sure that their propaganda is based on facts, we will continue to deride their statements.

I loved some of the comments to Sharkey’s article. This one in particular:

“The idea that you can make a record in a few weeks, then live on the proceeds for the rest of your life is over, pal.”

True.

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