You can’t monetise everything

Interesting article that’s been kicking around the web, regarding the BBC giving away some of its own recordings of classical pieces by Beethoven. Major music labels have been up in arms, claiming it amounts to “unfair government competition” (Note, however, that the article fails to name the “Classical Music Label record exec” who supposedly claimed the BBC’s actions are “devaluing the perceived value of music”. Whoops!).

The recordings were downloaded by about a million people, which is great for classical music and hopefully will bring a lot of enjoyment to people who might not otherwise have been exposed to these recordings.

This comes back to that old (new?) chestnut: The Internet, by making it trivially easy and practically free to copy any digital data perfectly, has forever altered the business landscape for those who trade in information (such as music, text, videos etc). The traditional business models no longer apply. Things that used to be profitable may no longer be profitable. Get over it.

The Internet could be the greatest and most amazing library ever, providing instant access to high-fidelity reproductions of the greatest works of mankind. Please, please don’t fuck it up for us by clinging to a pre-Internet understanding of how these industries work. The BBC didn’t break any laws by doing what it does, it just offered media for which it owns the copyright at an Internet-age price: free. You can still make money by selling the stuff you own, if it’s worth something to people.

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