New York Magazine has a pretty interesting article on music file sharing (in particular the recently defunct OiNK) with a focus on albums being leaked before their street date. The gist is more or less than many of those responsible for leaking albums are actually folks who work in the industry. That's no big surprise, is it? Who else is getting promo copies before an album comes out? You could make a very good argument that the biz is perpetuating it's own downfall with it's ungodly number of promo copies, which this article more or less does. However, it doesn't really delve into the biz's hypocrisy of giving away 1000s of promo copies for just about every release then crying foul when the public wants the same access. Nor does it discuss their failure to adapt to new technology. I find a bit ironic that the industry's push of the compact disc format 20 years ago sustained them in the short term (higher suggested retail price, baby boomers replacing their beaten LPs) but would eventually be the impetus for its undoing. After all, CDs made the music digital and thus paved the way for easy and nearly instant one-click ripping. How many members of the music buying public do you think are taking the time to convert vinyl to MP3s? (I'm not talking about geeks like you and I. I'm talking about the people who buy Fergie and Rascal Flatts albums.) And perhaps if the industry wasn't quite so focused on pushing disposable pop then maybe the public wouldn't think of music as being disposable and would want it in a hard format.
But I digress. The article is worth checking out (even if I find the idea of "ripping crews" to be a bit hard to swallow). Here's an excerpt:
But it’s clear that even those whose careers depend on plugging leaks participate in spreading them. They just can’t help themselves. One label employee estimated that 90 percent of his friends in the industry download unauthorized music (which, it should be stated, is less controversial than uploading, but collaboration nonetheless). I spoke to a label owner who has liquidated almost half his CD collection. “I’ve downloaded music, yes,” he says. “It’s like masturbation— technology is at a point where you can’t prevent people from doing something they can easily do. That’s demanding too much of human nature.”
Read the entire article here.