Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Teens Just Won't Pay for Music...

Teens Just Won't Pay for Music

Carrie-Ann Skinner, PC Advisor

Nearly two thirds of 14- to 24-year-olds illegally download music over peer-to-peer (p2p) networks, says UK Music.

Artwork: Chip Taylor

According to research, which was carried out by the University of Hertfordshire on behalf of the music body, 75 percent of teens also admitted to sending digital music files by e-mail, Bluetooth, Skype, or MSN to friends and family, while 86 percent revealed that had copied CDs for friends.

UK Music also said that 68 percent of those surveyed said they listen to music on their computer and on average 14- to 24-year-olds have more than 8000 tracks on their PCs.

Despite the recent popularity of music-streaming sites such as Spotify, 78 percent said they wouldn't pay for a music-streaming service.

Artwork: Chip Taylor

"Have they got the message that there is a thing called copyright and there is a philosophy of copyright?


They get it.

They just don't care," said former Undertones member and CEO of UK Music Fergal Sharkey.

The research also highlighted that 85 percent of those surveyed think a music download service that allows unlimited tracks to be obtained for a fixed price is a good idea, with 57 percent claiming it would stop them illegally file-sharing.

Just over half also said that artists should charge device manufacturers a fee to enable their tracks to be copied.

"If they're prepared to work with us if we give them an all-you-can-eat download service, well then, as an industry we may then well have to step up to the plate and try to provide them with that kind of service," Sharkey added.
and a comment by a reader: in response to Mr Sharkey's statement

Sun Aug 16 13:38:08 PDT 2009

"If they're prepared to work with us if we give them an all-you-can-eat download service, well then, as an industry we may then well have to step up to the plate and try to provide them with that kind of service," Sharkey added.

My college used one of those to prevent file-sharing.
The problem came when you had to pay to do anything with the music - unless you gave them more money, you weren't allowed to listen to the music anywhere other than the computer.
Needless to say, people there and at many other schools found a way around that, and the service went out of business shortly after I arrived at school.


The act of sharing music is copyright infringement, not stealing.
Learn the difference, people.
When single moms get sued for sharing music, it's because they were distributing it without paying the record labels for the right to, not because it's "hurting the artists".
I don't care what your stance on it is, but if you're going to make an argument against sharing, then LEARN THE DIFFERENCE.

The Weinsteins Write Their Own Epitaph

By Sharon Waxman

Is it all over but the shouting??

Leave it to the New York Times to take 5,000 words to give us a small amount of new information about the ailing Weinstein Company, which David Segal (um, who?) does in Sunday’s business section just weeks after one of the paper’s Hollywood correspondents weighed in on the very same subject.

And leave it to the ever-crafty Harvey Weinstein to tell his tale of woe to a reporter who has never written a word about him or his company, or his previous companies, according to my Google search.

So here is the news, after thousands of words, and six long, long e-pages of preamble, the big reveal, the golden nugget -- Harvey’s mea culpa: “In the end, I realized that I’m not a good C.E.O., I’m not a good manager,” he said.

In addition, Weinstein admitted to failing to focus on the filmmaking at his new company, and concluded: “I thought I could build the company and delegate authority, and that’s where it went wrong.”

Now this is interesting.

Let’s start with Weinstein’s choice of words -- “In the end” -- which certainly makes it sounds like he really believes that it is the end.

And it is instructive to consider that Wall Street may have regarded Weinstein as a traditional CEO or manager before entrusting him with, say, $1.2 billion.

You must be joking.

Harvey and Bob Weinstein are showmen, Barnum and Bailey meet modern day Hollywood.
No one expected them to be quarterly performers with predictable returns on investment.
Investors in the Weinsteins were hoping for a redo of the old fairy dust: big money, dinner with Nicole Kidman and permanent tickets to the Oscars.

Segal did have a look at the initial offering for investment in the Weinsteins, and learned that they were predicting $160 million in profits for 2009.

They are clearly nowhere near profit.
Segal notes:

“The first eight months of this year have been particularly dreadful for the Weinsteins.
They have released only four films, in a limited number of theaters, and they have so far brought in a total of $1.3 million domestically.”

But it is a shame that the Times gave the assignment of the Weinstein’s only on-the-record interview - the one we’ve all been chasing as rumors of the company’s imminent demise have risen to a deafening din – to an inexperienced hand.

Segal was given extraordinary access – he got to sit in on production meetings, and was shown six full films, including ads and – I still find this amazing – rough cuts.
That amounts to plenty of razzle-dazzle, and precious few financial facts.

As a result, a great many specific questions go unanswered (and quite possibly unasked):

· Segal does not mention progress in restructuring the Weinstein Company’s finances, which has been the subject of much discussion and the focus of the Miller Buckfire review.

· He does not ask specific questions about whether the company has the money to release the rest of its slate this year, which many nervous folks in Hollywood are worried about.

· We do not learn how far in debt the company is at the moment, how much cash remains nor how much it needs to ride out the slate that Harvey is hoping will save the company.

· Segal got to see six films, but we hear nothing of whether we can expect a rich vein of box office cash out of any of them.
(A Miramax Weinstein executive tells me he did not see “Nine,” which I think represents the company’s best hope for salvation. 'Inglourious Basterds,' meanwhile, is tracking to open at $25 million.)

We also learn no specifics at all about the 'self-inflicted wounds' of investing in Halston, the social network A Small World, and the cable network Ovation.

How much was invested?
How much lost, since Harvey is in confessional mode?

There are some errors of judgement too; Segal suggests that investors in The Weinstein Company did not consult former Disney CEO Michael Eisner for his opinion.
That’s quite laughable; no one would have needed to seek Eisner’s formal opinion to know what he thought of the brothers before tossing them out on their keesters while, Grinch-like, keeping the beloved name Miramax for Disney to own and completely marginalize.

Here is Segal’s conclusion: “the Weinsteins adopted the methods of old, bloated Hollywood, rather than finding a new way to again outfox the majors…. Harvey has been gravitating to more star-driven vehicles with larger budgets.”

But Harvey doesn’t know how to do it any other way.
He long ago gave up the “Pulp Fiction” model for the more extravagant, and glitzy path of “Chicago,”"Gangs of New York" and "Cold Mountain."

In fact, some of those movies have worked for him.
Arguably, Harvey Weinstein is one of the only moguls in the business who knows how to make those movies, and how to make them work.

Which is why “Nine” could be his ace in the hole, if it works.

What Weinstein may not know how to do is how to make the math add up.

Long time loyalist Kevin Smith gets the last word; and his rejection of the Weinsteins may say more than any bean-counter’s spread sheet or Grey Lady magnum opus.

“They had impeccable taste when they were hungry,” Smith says.

“The problem is that they’re not really hungry anymore.
They’re starving and desperate.”

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