The BBC delivered a piece today which discussed Google as an enabler of piracy, a giant company with no “moral viewpoint” on the activity although it loudly professes the support of copyright.
I suspect that many of you reading this will come down on Google’s side. After all the music industry is hugely powerful, and has been ripping off consumers for years, right? Who are [UK the record industry] to take the moral high ground?
In the US and the UK the major labels are not nearly what they once were. They are not all powerful and their ability to develop and break artists has been irrevocably crippled by the destruction of much of the revenue they used to be able to make on the sale CDs, vinyl and tapes. This is partially reflected in that there is very little actual artist development. It’s one album, and if it doesn’t spawn a hit, the career is over.
But don’t forget that Google now earns about three times as much in the UK as the entire music industry. And if you think the call for action against the firm comes exclusively from bloated record industry executives who deserve no sympathy, listen to Alastair Nicholson.
He has been running the UK hip-hop label Son Records for more than a decade, battling to keep afloat. Visit his office, and you’ll find no flunkies delivering flowers or a boardroom decorated with rock memorabilia – just one man in an attic flat.
I put it to him that it wasn’t Google’s fault if the web was awash with free music and that was what people were searching out.
“You’re right,” he said. “There’s any number of people distributing music for free, I’m not trying to lay that at Google’s door.” So how would he describe Google’s stance, I asked. He thought for a bit, and then said: “There’s a lack of a moral viewpoint.”
The article goes on to point out what’s obvious to many who make, or try to make, popular music. The idea of all music being free, and that one must never pay for it because you are supporting the Man (down with the record labels!), has become the refuge of idiots. What the attitude has done is sweep away all opportunity for small labels to make any kind of money selling music. The only agencies to retain it are the old record companies which can still mount advertising budgets and promotional spends to lift acts above the noise and protect some potential for earnings.
“But the result of their actions is that the only future for a small music label is to cozy up to a corporate giant,” reads the BBC piece.
We now have a generation of young people who, just like me at their age, love music. But they’ve come into a world where the expectation is that it must be free. And it has made a cosmic difference. It is now not hard to find artists in their mid-to-late thirties who will routinely say that they would have never make it in the business, or last long enough to get a lucky break, if they had to do it all again today.
All thanks to the creative destruction process and mercilessly enforced freetardism.
In the Google-mediated world of winner-takes-all search and recommendation the above video was momentarily shoved into the “suggestions” that one got after viewing “Mean Future.”
It has 19 million views and is by f(x) a South Korean dance pop act wildly popular in Japan, China and its native country. It’s also the epitome of mega-corporate factory-manufactured no-expense-spared pretty-puppets-on-strings focus-group-vetted trash.
Why was it shoe-horned into my space? Who knows precisely. But it is part of the Culture of Lickspittle and has something to do with a kind of graft-by-algorithm Google properties impose on users. With Google, the door never swings both ways.
You get to piggyback the mega-popular even though your contribution — in terms of an audience would be infinitesimal. And that’s because when you add all the infinitesimals worldwide they eventually turn into a significant number.
However, the mega-popular, somehow, through the magic of Google recommendation, never never get chosen to piggyback you.
You get your own digital slum with high walls, so nobody else can see in.