Friday, August 03, 2007

What's This Stupid Internet Thing? Shut It Down

Sir Elton John wants the internet to be shut down. And pray, why is he singing this tune? In his own words -

"The internet has stopped people from going out and being with each other, creating stuff.

Instead they sit at home and make their own records, which is sometimes OK but it doesn’t bode well for long-term artistic vision."
The next gem is truly humbling. Because I was under the under the impression that my blogging was to change the world and according to Sir John, it isn't quite so. Thank You Sir for enlightening us.

“We’re talking about things that are going to change the world and change the way people listen to music and that’s not going to happen with people blogging on the internet."

"Let’s get out in the streets and march and protest instead of sitting at home and blogging."


I say dump your key-boards and get on the street, we're going to protest against the internet now. Imagine everyone using the internet out on the street shouting Internet Hai Hai. Or, Mera broadband connection waapis le lo. . Blogging, Wogging nahin chalegi, nahin chalegi.

More gems from Sir John in this Sun article. That's not music to our ears, Sir. The Sun reporter is better at puns. Joining the chorus with Sir John to give us more gems, she ends the article with -
I guess that’s what Sir Elt would call a net loss . .

Net loss, indeed it is. A Rolling Stone article on the decline of the record industry has some real eye-openers. Some interesting points from the article -

  • Overall CD sales have plummeted sixteen percent for the year so far -- and that's after seven years of near-constant erosion.
  • In 2000, the ten top-selling albums in the U.S. sold a combined 60 million copies; in 2006, the top ten sold just 25 million.
  • More than 5,000 record-company employees have been laid off since 2000.
  • About 2,700 record stores have closed across the country since 2003
And wonder when will the industry executives start looking at technology as an ally and use it effectively, like EMI offering its entire music collection DRM-free on iTunes. While physical album sales have declined, digital sales are growing as the numbers from the article indicate.
  • Digital sales are growing -- fans bought 582 million digital singles last year, up sixty-five percent from 2005, and purchased $600 million worth of ringtones -- but the new revenue sources aren't making up for the shortfall.
More such DRM-free offerings, more labels entering into license agreements with YouTube, innovative models like Amiestreet is the way ahead. And people talk about shutting down the internet.

The record labels just seem to be in a hurry to squeeze as much as possible from all possible revenue sources. No wonder then that all internet radio stations in the US went silent on June 26 to observe the National Day of Silence protesting against new royalty rates.

While music on the internet in India is still in its early stages, the situation isn't very different with the odds highly stacked against those who use branded content and wanting to do it legally. Hefty license fees, very hazy regulatory body structure, use of every possible opportunity to extract that little more money, rampant piracy and the inability of the powers that be to effectively control it. is threatening to kill internet radio in its infancy in India. Remember that story in which the greedy owner kills the goose laying golden eggs? Looks like another case of the same.
Hoping to come up with a more detailed piece on the scene here in India. In the meanwhile, Naa Bajega Baans, Naa Bajegi Baansuri! Isn't this what they say?

5 comments:

Shayon™ said...

Talking of internet radio, I'd say the model that Yahoo Launchcast has taken up is very viable. People around the world, especially in India, have come to associate radio with free entertainment. And this is why WorldSpace has still not been able to be very popular in our country. So, for the ones who wouldn't mind advertisements in between the tracks, as long as the experience remains free, Yahoo allows them to listen to x number of tracks per month, sparsed with advertisements in between. And if you feel advertisements are obtrusive in the whole experience, you always have the option of paying up and subscribing to their services!

Harish said...

When you have so many sites where you can download whatever music you want freely, sharing the ad revenue of those sites is probably the only way out for music companies. There is no point in fighting a losing battle against piracy in the same old way.

Nikhil said...

@Shayon,
True. But for online broadcasters, the licence fees are so hefty that it becomes very difficult to sustain unless one has deep pockets. Subscription looks a viable model, but people won't pay easily in India!

@Harish,

Looks like the record companies haven't woken up yet. They will one day, and find that the world is a totally different place.

Shayon™ said...

When music had first started being churned out on compat discs, in India, many claimed it won't survive, 'coz of it's comparatively high cost. Now we know better. You know what's stopping Indian crowd, more so the savvy ones, is the lack of enough bandwidth in cheap rates. If that part of the bargain could be sorted out, I'm sure there are lot many Indians interested in internet radio. And don't forget, Worldspace is slowly creeping into Indian homes, if that is any indication.

vishwachetan said...

I think it is time music went open source..... put up your songs for free on the net .

So how do they earn money?... Live shows.