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Talking Heads: David Byrne blasts streaming sites; Nigel Godrich responds to pro-file sharing report

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“The internet will suck all creative content out of the world”

Former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne is the latest public figure to blast streaming services such as Spotify in a blog post for The Guardian published yesterday. Echoing Thom Yorke’s recent attack on Spotify earlier this month, Byrne took a rather strong stand against what he perceives as a threat to artists and the creative industries.

Taking the angle that streaming services offer consumers “free content”, Byrne recaps a lot of what has already been publicly debated about the idea of music as a service as opposed to music as a product before arguing, as others have done before, that such services only benefit artists with established careers and catalogues rather than upcoming ones. In one paragraph he also seems to contest the idea that Spotify can help people discover music and whether those who discover music this way would actually make the effort to buy it rather than using the “free” version in front of them. You can read the full post here.

While Byrne’s latest public statement is sure to catch attention, some are already pointing out that it doesn’t seem best placed to generate meaningful discussions on what are serious issues for the upcoming creatives Byrne refers to. Motive Unknown’s Darren Hemmings rightfully notes that one issue with Byrne’s post is that it is seemingly lacking a point. Hemmings further highlights how Nicolas Jaar and others have been eloquent in pointing out that people are finding models that work for them outside the monopolies.

Byrne wasn’t the only one speaking on the new realities of the creative industries yesterday. Atoms For Peace’s Nigel Godrich also issued a reply to a recent pro-file sharing report published by the London School of Economics.

Taking to his own blog, Godrich spoke his mind about the report – titled Copyright & Creation: A Case For Promoting Inclusive Online Sharing. He accuses the authors of ignoring the realities of the world and the current music industry in order to support their arguments.

Obviously the authors of this report are believers in this free content concept, and they appear to have set out to try and prove that it is right at the expense of any relation to the world that we actually live in. This explains why the report is so mystifyingly off the mark to anyone who works in the music industry. The intellectuals at the London School of Economics are trying to evangelise these ideals but appear to have no real grasp on the actual situations to which they are referring.

The report is called “Copyright & Creation” and claims to be acting in the interests of copyright creators, but the bulk of their argument is based on the fact that in spite of copyrights being breached, money is made in other ways and thus there is no need for copyright law to be fixed or enforced. They argue that the music industry is in a stable healthy condition, and point to revenue collected on concert ticket sales and merchandise. They do not point out that these revenues are being generated solely by larger already established artists who can set very high prices for their tickets and t-shirts to make up for their lost other revenue. Smaller artists who are not in the position to charge anything like the Rolling Stones or Madonna are not the ones benefit from these new incomes, and yet these are the very people who’s interest the report is claiming to serve.

Earlier this year Godrich, alongside Thom Yorke, also spoke out against Spotify and streaming services.

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