This isn’t something we’d usually blog about, but last night on SBS Television, the discussion program Insight screened their episode entitled MiTunes, focusing on the multifaceted issue of illegal downloads – should music be free, how much is it costing artists and the music industry, and what should be done to curb the phenomenon.
In a time where the debate is so convoluted, Insight did their best to sift through the issues and devise some interesting and creative solutions. There were a slew of special guests on the show including Phrase, Tim Levinson (a.ka. Urthboy), The Audreys, Sharman Network’s Markus Kern (responsible for KaZaA), and respresentatives from ARIA, Australian ISPs, record labels and the downloading public.
So instead of checking out some new music today, head to the SBS website and watch the show online. (The episode is divided into three clips you’ll find on the right-hand side.) I think the resounding message from the episode is that there’s no one fix for the problem, a range of solutions need to be implemented to stop people downloading. To me, the first step needs to be eliminating any avenue by which people can download (well, let’s say “steal” shall we?) music, and I personally vote on the side of warnings from ISPs. If people have a way of downloading music for free, why would they pay for it? To me, that’s the crux of the problem. Secondly, a system needs to be set up to encourage people to purchase music at a resonable price, and the idea of a subscription-based initiative (which is discussed in the program) bodes well with me.
One billion songs illegally downloaded was the figure bandied around by ARIA. If that’s true, it won’t be long before music is no longer a viable career for individuals, and then there’ll be no more music to download. (Then we’re screwed, right?) And while we may look at international superstars and think they don’t need anymore money, they fall in the miniscule minority of musicians, many of whom struggle to make a living doing what they love.
Check out Insight and wade into this pressing debate. It’s an issue that the Australian govenment seem nonplussed on, but as a music devotee, I feel illegal downloading should be something we tackle urgently.