Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Lion Music Refuses to Sign New Artists Until Gov't Stops Piracy

In late 2007, the Finish record label Lion Music posted a message* on their website saying that they would no longer be accepting any demos from new artists until, "our politicians have stopped the P2P sites."  A number of their signed artists have also contributed commentary on the evils of illegal downloading and how we should all stop it and make things the way they used to be.

To start, let me be explicit.  We at the Commons Musician in no way advocate the illegal downloading of music (or anything else for that matter), but we also do not advocate the use of government regulation to hold back disruptive technologies to support dying business models.

The wrong-headedness of the position Lion Music is taking is utterly astounding, yet entirely par for the course for many old school record labels.  Rather than adapting to a changing world, they are wanting to world to stop changing so that they can continue business as usual.  This position denies the inevitable forces that are reshaping the industry:
  • disruptive technologies that lower the cost of distribution, removing incentives for musicians to use record companies for that purpose.
  • the economics of selling things that are scarce, not things that are abundant.
  • the promotion engine the Internet provides to anyone savvy enough to use it, essentially cutting them out of the loop.
(I'll be talking in depth about all these items in future posts)

On the other side of the equation, some record companies are doing an admirable job of adapting to these factors.  Case in point: Thorny Bleeder Records has just released the second volume of their free download series available directly from their site or via Bittorrent.

There is so much more to be said about these things, so stay tuned - it will all eventually be said.

* it seems the recent publicity has compelled Lion Music to take down their message, but thanks to the Wayback Machine you can still read it here.

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