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23 September 2003
The net catches
Source : VG
The anarchy on the Internet is met with everything from fear to embrace from the artists themselves. In the course of the last week we have seen both of these extremes.

Lene Marlin uses half a page in the cover of her last album to warn against illegal distribution via Internet. Then it's of course ironically until perfection that her new record could be downloaded freely from the Internet over a week before it came in sale yesterday. Lene Marlin instead uses the opportunity in her inner cover by refering to her copy controlling record company's homepage, where you can download music legally.

However, there you will of course only find EMI's artists. Travis, who also have got their record put out out on the same website as Lene Marlin, belongs to Sony Music - for now. During the P3 concert which was recorded last Friday, and which is to be transmitted tomorrow, Fran Healy used the opportunity to praise the possibilities the Internet gives.

Here he pictured the Internet as the frontier litmus test whether an album is worthy of buying or not. According to Healy the record industry has tricked us for a long time already by making records consisting of two hit singles, and the rest is filler material. By entering various websites and file sharing services - Fran Healy mentioned KaZaa in particular - the consumer himself may check to see if the whole album is worth the money, or whether it should be sufficient just buying the single, alternatively downloading the two good songs from the Internet.

These are provoking statements from a multi-million selling artist. In many ways, Fran Healy has not much to lose by appearing idealistically - he has already earned his millions. This also goes for Lene Marlin as well, but she has chosen to distribute the loyality in greater portions to her employer than to the fans.

I have a suspicion that Fran Healy doesn't give a damned about what Sony Music must mean about his open-hearted statements. I believe it's not even important for Healy whether Travis at all is a part of Sony Music in 2 - 3 years. On the other hand, I'm sure that Fran Healy is one of a growing amount of persons whom is able to look forward in the revolution the international record industry is in the midst of.

The day a credible technology exists for copyright-payment of material which is put on the Internet, band like Travis won't be needing a record company anymore. They could be their own instead and put a larger amount of the profit in their pocket. Also distribution, PR, sale, and the management of his own band they might either control by an own smaller organization, or outsource to somebody they can trust more than they obviously do today.

Exactly that is why we also are seeing radical structural changes in the international record industry. Employees in the greater companies have to go, like we observed when EMI and Virgin merged last year. More people will have to go, either by the fusion of BMG or Warner, or - like it was known this weekend - that EMI and Warner merges. On a lesser scale, we have the Scandinavian greatness MNW who recently phased out their Norwegian department; in the last week it was V2's turn to phase out their smaller office in Norway. This is also how it is in other countries. RevolutiOnline!

Translated by Tef Johs


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