‘Gimme gimme gimme more money money money’

Freelance writer Gene Oberto isn't buying the anti-piracy arguments put forward by Abba's Björn Ulvaeus.

Far be it from me to question the motives of a millionaire recording artist from declaring his fans and potential future buyers cheap for utilizing file sharing. But what I will say is the tirade from Abba’s Björn sounds like so much “Gimme Gimme Gimme”.

Ulvaeus also wondered why it was “so damn hard to understand” that an idea would only see the light of day if copyright holders and their financiers knew they stood a chance of getting paid for their work. I can imagine that there are many artists who perform and write for a creative release that is not based on the idea that he will get paid for it.

What must be apparent to a businessman as astute as Ulvaeus is that recorded music is like any other commodity. It is only worth what the consumer is willing to pay for it. Studies made show that people are willing to pay for their musical enjoyment. But what the public is telling the music companies is the music is not worth what you are charging me for a rapidly fading technology.

Björn might not be so strident if he looked at the situation from the consumer’s side. How many times do we need to pay premium price for a song that has been issued, and re-issued ad nauseum? Is Dancing Queen worth more now then it was in the 1970s? Björn and the record company think so. The audience says it’s not.

More people are listening to more music then at any other time in history. File sharing is not the cause of the music industry’s problems. Their problem is their apparent inability to adapt their business to new delivery methods.