OPINION

Got a Digital Music Library? Hoarder! Pirate!

Guess what? Your digital music library is not actually a library. It’s considered “hoarding.”

The entertainment cartels have already pirated the word “pirate” to replace “counterfeit” and/or “duplicate” and/or “share.” It’s so much more PR-friendly — more emotive and evocative.

And it works so well in a sound-bite or a headline.

Now the Organized Music family, Sony BMG, Vivendi Universal, Warner Music and EMI, plan to do the same with “collection” and/or “library” when applied to file sharing, and they’ve chosen the shadowy NPD Group to deliver the message via a “study.”

Spinning the Facts

The statement “Study finds many U.S. homes hoarding downloaded music” looks so nicely underhanded, almost criminal, doesn’t it? Much better than “Many U.S. homes have large digital music collections.”

“Most American homes have at least one digital music file on their computer, more evidence that Internet music piracy is widespread, according to a study released this week,” says the Gannett News Service, quoting an NPD report.

When I first came across the NPD Group in late 2003, adidas International, International Flavors & Fragrance and Wrigley typified its client base, but it was nonetheless churning out “studies” bolstering entertainment cartel party lines. The mainstream media immediately began quoting these studies as authoritative sources.

I e-mailed NPD wondering how many years’ experience it had in the music research field and asked about the team of expert interviewers/statisticians I thought it must boast given the nature and number of its outpourings.

I never did hear back, and when I visited the NPD site, I wasn’t able to find a single music, or other entertainment industry, client, although since then, the company has added movies, music, video, TV, etc., to the list it professes to be expert in.

Getting a Grip

More recently, NPD was touting iTunes as a “formidable competitor against free peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing services,” an assertion which is, of course, ludicrous.

iTunes also “tied with LimeWire as the second-most-popular digital music service in March, 2005,” claimed NPD. Not even in your dreams.

The corporate online music business so far exists only in the minds of the media and those trying to promote it, and iTunes’ sales of some US$600 million since it started in September, 2003, don’t even merit a statistical blip against what’s happening in the real world of online music.

There, the P2P applications and networks rule, and iTunes is a joke.

Meanwhile, “More than two out of three U.S. households with Internet access had a least one digital music file on their computer while more than half had at least 50 songs,” said NPD Group.

And you know what that means: Piracy! Hoarding!


Jon Newton, a TechNewsWorld columnist, founded and runs p2pnet.net, based in Canada, a daily peer-to-peer and digital media news site focused on issues surrounding file sharing, the entertainment industry and distributed computing.


1 Comment

  • In the ’70s I bought my music collection on 8 track tapes, then in the ’80s I bought alot of the same music on vinyl, then in the ’90s I bought the same music on cds. How many times should I have to buy my music? Shouldn’t I be able to listen to my music on any player that I want? Why should I have to repurchase my collection each time a new player format comes along? I think the consumers are fed up. Add to the fact that on alot of cds there may only be couple really good songs. If the record companys would charge a reasonable price for their product people would not take the time or chance of getting caught to pirate music. Talk radio is looking better all the time!

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