viernes, 29 de enero de 2010

Ellos sí son delincuentes: habla el mánager de U2, Paul McGuinness

Si hay algo que me cuesta tragar de los defensores del internet libre es su lenguaje abstruso, altisonante y conceptuoso. Deberían ser más directos y decir claramente: queremos todo gratis.

Paul McGuiness, mánager de U2, por el contrario, evade las curvas y espeta más frontalmente: ellos sí son unos delincuentes.

Ha sucedido en el Midem 2010, la 44 edición del Mercado Internacional del Disco y de la Edición Musical, que se realizó en Cannes.

Su conferencia se llamó "La bonanza online: ¿quiénes está haciendo todo el dinero y por qué no lo están compartiendo?". Delinea sin tanta palabrería el problema de la industria de la grabación y parte de sus soluciones. Si la legislación no actúa rápido, comenta, el contenido seguirá siendo robado quienes comparten ilegalmente archivos vía los servicios de download P2P y la industria seguirá colapsando.

Sin embargo, aunque perseguir a los individuos que bajan archivos sin pagar ayuda a llamar la atención de lo equivocado que es hacerlo, a McGuinness no le parece que tales acciones vayan a solucionar el problema de fondo. No; hay que exigir, dice, un cambio de actitud en los proveedores de servicios de internet -los ISPs, por sus siglas en inglés. Ellos están metidos de lleno en el negocio de la distribución de la música, pero con contenido ajeno. Si no empiezan a asumir tal responsabilidad y compartir esas ingentes y billonarias ganancias voluntariamente, tendrán que hacerlo judicialmente.

Son palabras duras, pero el vocabulario del comercio suele ser más transparente que el de la gratuidad. "¿Quieres algo? Paga."

No es que no exista la tecnología para hacerlo. La hay. Si Google pudo alinearse con las condiciones de censura en China en algún momento o si expulsó a la BMW de su motor de búsqueda es porque se puede.

Y más interesante es el caso entre la iPlayer de la BBC versus las ISPs. La concha de la década.

Por supuesto, ese acomodo de la industria de la grabación a la era digital exige un cambio en su manera de llegar al público.

Por lo pronto -aunque McGuinness no lo dice, pero lo dice la directora del MIDEM, Dominic Leguern- habrá que olvidarse del CD.

iTunes, dice McGuinness, tampoco parece ser el camino (los usuarios se quejan de la incompatibilidad y los sellos musicales de su vertical control de los precios). Además, aún sigue habiendo desconfianza en las transacciones por internet y no todo el mundo tiene tarjeta de crédito. Gran falla, una que no existe en los acuerdos entre la industria y los celulares: por ahí, dice McGuinnes, la cosa camina mejor, con más transparencia y seguridad.

Hasta aquí dejo de ser médium resumidor con la camiseta U2 puesta y paso al texto propiamente dicho. No se equivoquen: todos quieren -y queremos- ganar dinero por el contenido que se produce -producimos-. Pero pensar en el negocio es también pensar en mejorar el contenido. Algunas citas (y me disculpo por la extensión):

  • U2 always understood that it would be pathetic to be good at the music and bad at the business, and have always been prepared to invest in their own future.
  • What U2 and I also understood instinctively from the start was that they had 2 parallel careers first as recording and song writing artists, and second as live performers.
  • People all over the world are going to more gigs than ever. The experience for the audience is better than ever. This is proved by the upward trend in ticket prices, generally unresisted.
  • More people are listening to music than ever before through many more media than ever before.
  • I love the record business, and though I may be critical of the ways in which the digital space has been faced by the industry I am also genuinely sympathetic and moved by the human fallout, as the companies react to falling revenues by cutting staff and tightening belts.
  • Nonetheless there is one effective thing the majors could do together. I quote from Josh Tyrangiel in Time Magazine: -“The smartest thing would be for the majors to collaborate on the creation of the ultimate digital-distribution hub, a place where every band can sell its wares at the price point of its choosing”.
  • There is technology now, that the worldwide industry could adopt, which enables content owners to track every legitimate digital download transaction, wholesale and retail.
  • Remarkably, these new digital forms of distribution deliver a far poorer standard of sound than previous formats. There are signs of a consumer backlash and an online audiophile P2P movement called “lossless” with expanded and better spectrum that is starting to make itself heard.
  • Sadly, the recent innovative Radiohead release of a download priced on the honesty box principle seems to have backfired to some extent.
  • Notwithstanding the promotional noise, even Radiohead’s honesty box principle showed that if not constrained, the customer will steal music.
  • Network operators, in particular, have for too long had a free ride on music – on our clients’ content. It’s time for a new approach - time for ISPs to start taking responsibility for the content they’ve profited from for years.
  • It’s interesting to look at the character of the individuals who built the industries that resulted from the arrival of the microprocessor. Most of them came out of the so-called counterculture on the west coast of America. Their values were hippy values.
  • And embedded deep down in the brilliance of those entrepreneurial, hippy values seems to be a disregard for the true value of music. These tech guys think of themselves as political liberals and socially aware. They search constantly for the next “killer app”. They conveniently forget that the real “killer app” that many of their businesses are founded on is our clients’ recorded music.
  • “Access” is what people will be paying for in the future, not the “ownership” of digital copies of pieces of music.
  • He [Steve Jobs] probably doesn’t realize it but the collapse of the old financial model for recorded music will also mean the end of the songwriter.
  • Labels and artists, songwriters and publishers, producers and musicians, everyone’s a victim.
  • The ISP lobbyists who say they should not have to “police the internet” are living in the past - relying on outdated excuses from an earlier technological age.
  • And as it turned, the “Safe Harbour” concept was really a Thieves’ Charter. The legal precedent that device-makers and pipe and network owners should not be held accountable for any criminal activity enabled by their devices and services has been enormously damaging to content owners and developing artists.
  • Why does all this matter so much? Because the truth is that whatever business model you are building, you cannot compete with billions of illegal files free on P2P networks.
  • A simple three strikes and you are out enforcement process will see all serial illegal uploaders who resist the law face a stark choice: change or lose your ISP subscription.
  • Fortunately, there has recently been some tremendous momentum to get ISPs engaged – notably in France, the UK, Sweden, Norway and Belgium. President Sarkozy’s plan, the Olivennes initiative, by which ISPs will start disconnecting repeat infringers later this year, set a brilliant precedent which other governments should follow.
  • IFPI estimates say illegal P2P distribution of music and films accounts for over half of all ISP traffic.
  • I think the failure of ISPs to engage in the fight against piracy, to date, has been the single biggest failure in the digital music market. They are the gatekeepers with the technical means to make a far greater impact on mass copyright violation than the tens of thousands of lawsuits taken out against individual file-sharers by bodies like BPI, RIAA and IFPI. To me, prosecuting the customer is counter intuitive, though I recognise that these prosecutions have an educational and propaganda effect, however small, in showing that stealing music is wrong.
  • There are many other examples that prove the ability of ISPs to switch off selectively activity they have a problem with: Google excluded BMW from their search engine when BMW started to play games.
  • For me, the business model of the future is one where music is bundled into an ISP or other subscription service and the revenues are shared between the distributor and the content owners.
  • That's a lesson for the mobile industry internationally. Don't go the way that many of the ISPs have gone. Mobile is still a relatively secure environment for legitimate content - let's keep it that way.

El discurso completo abajo:

Paul McGuinness -

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