by Brad Hunter
The recording industrys future looks bleak unless music piracy is
brought under control, said Christine Prudham, vice-president of legal
and business affairs at BMG Canada.
One-third of our market has collapsed in the past three years,
Prudham said during a talk last month hosted by the John Molson MBA program.
Simply put, there can be no sustainable business model with such
Prudham placed the blame for the recording industrys woes squarely
with file-sharing sites like Kazza that enable users to download songs
for free and then record them.
When it comes to using such sites to download music, she told the audience
at the de Sève Theatre that Canadians are at the top of the list.
Per capita, we download the most music in the world, roughly 1.47 billion
downloads last year.
In fact, Prudham said the illegal music market is now bigger than the
legitimate market, a situation that has led to brutal consequences
for the recording industry. Companies must cut at least 20% of their employees,
It isnt just record companies, a group for whom many consumers have
little sympathy, that are being hurt by rampant piracy. Prudham warned
that music fans will also suffer if things dont change.
If you take away the reward for making music, music will stop being
made, she said. The idea that widespread swapping of copyrighted
music means record companies cant afford to release new material
is central to a recently launched campaign by the Canadian Recording Industry
Association to persuade consumers to buy music the old-fashioned way,
in a record store.
The Keep Music Coming campaign, unveiled last Sunday to coincide with
the Juno Awards, is targeted at teens, a group Prudham said views downloading
music from Internet as the only way to get their music.
If youre in your teens, weve already lost you,
she said. You dont know what its like to go into a record
store to buy music.
Prudham called the Keep Music Coming initiative a co-operative
way of changing peoples attitudes towards music piracy, an approach
quite different from that taken by the U.S. recording industry which has
emphasized the illegality of file-sharing.
However, she pointed out the Canadian recording industry has not hesitated
to aggressively pursue outfits like Kazaa and Napster that enable one
to illegally download music.
Will we survive? We really have no idea right now, Prudham
said, but something must be done to get back to being a sustainable
industry that can promote new talent.