Fair points from RIANZ

January 19th, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

I blogged a few days ago with some approval what Kim Dotcom said would end piracy:

1. Create great stuff 
2. Make it easy to buy 
3. Same day worldwide release 
4. Fair price 
5. Works on any device

I said:

I basically agree with Dotcom on this. It would not end “piracy” entirely, but it would massively decrease it.

Pat Pilcher has published a response from RIANZ:

“The music industry has delivered on all five points suggested by Dotcom”

And they’ve responded to each of Kim DotCom’s 5 points with the following:

1- Create great stuff 
“Great” is obviously subjective but with legal digital services offering tens of millions of music tracks there’s surely something for everyone out there.

2- Make it easy to buy
New Zealanders have access to 20 legal digital music services, not only for buying but for on-demand and curated playback. The world leading brands in each category i-tunes, Spotify and Pandora are open for business in New Zealand.

These are available 24/7 and very easy to use. The website nztop40.co.nzprovides multiple links to the most popular international and local tracks and albums every week.

3- Same day worldwide release
The overwhelming majority of newly released music is available simultaneously worldwide. In fact due to time zone differences New Zealand is often the first country in the world to have access to new superstar releases.

4- Fair price 
Music has never been cheaper to buy or access. Some on-demand services even have a totally free option. Tracks from albums are can be purchased individually, often for under $2. Premium on-demand services are as little as $3 per week.

5- Works on any device 
Tracks and albums purchased from legal digital download services are DRM – free and all are usable across multiple devices using Android and iOS operating systems – i.e. the overwhelming majority of devices in the marketplace. Likewise on-demand services all have apps for multiple platforms and devices.

RIANZ makes the point despite this, music piracy continues unabated, and has grown every year since 2006.

It is disappointing that music piracy is at levels, when it is so easy and relatively inexpensive to buy the music online legally.  I’ve got around 380 songs purchased through itunes, and would never consider torrenting a song I can get on itunes.  People should pay for content, when they can.

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15 Responses to “Fair points from RIANZ”

  1. beautox (408 comments) says:

    KDC was clearly talking more about movies – the part about “Same Day Worldwide Release” makes this obvious. Also the fact that music does not have DRM has nothing to do with the music industry and a lot to do with Jobs insisting they remove it for the iTunes store. And after all, CDs never had DRM. But DVDs and BluRays are loaded with DRM

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  2. mavxp (490 comments) says:

    Music is like fashion for particularly teens and young people, and they want to have the latest music available. They have a larger appetite than their allowance will let them have for even $3 a track, and so they download what they can’t pay for. They may also be listening to music they want to try out and not buy before trying, but then once they acquire it, and come to like it why pay for it later? It creates inertia even if they would morally agree that the musicians responsible for these joyful sounds should be supported. In summary it is probably along the lines of:

    1 Music they absolutely love = pay for to have quickly.
    2 Music they like but are not willing to pay for = pirate.
    3 New music they want to try out = pirate. If they like it or even love it – why pay for it after acquiring it? If they dislike it – delete.

    Perhaps a different model would be to make low quality digital recordings (say MP3 96kB/s encoding) totally free for all music from legitimate download sources. Free sharing etc. Then you can pay $1 to upgrade to moderate quality, $3 for high quality or lossless audio (FLAC, Apple Lossless etc).

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  3. dog_eat_dog (682 comments) says:

    1. Create great stuff

    The RIANZ argument is a bit naff here – there are countless live shows and bootleg performances that no one has ever released commercially that are only available to fans via illegal methods and black-markets. There’s more to music than just an album, and you can’t claim you’re loosing money on products you don’t bring to market.

    2. Make it easy to buy

    Fair point on this one, but…

    3. Same day worldwide release

    A lot of these methods are still subjected to geographic discrimination. I can’t get access to half the stuff on 7Digital’s NZ storefront that I can see available in their UK store. I want to give them my money to buy an album, but the only thing stopping me is where I live. How is that right?

    4. Fair price

    Again, if you can access it. It’s worth pointing out that the prices for music only became more reasonable after the piracy era, and before then you were stuck paying $35 to hear a song if it wasn’t released as a single or B-side.

    5. Works on any device

    I would add “and can be purchased through multiple storefronts”. Again for region reasons, but if they’re asking someone to choose between piracy and legitimate downloads, then making us nail our colours to certain masts (iTunes, etc) is naff. They should be releasing media on as many digital platforms as possible without trying to channel people into a tech provider’s monopoly, no matter how lucrative.

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  4. meow (11 comments) says:

    DPF: how many of your 380 iTunes songs can you transfer directly to another device, like a Windows phone or a USB drive? If you can’t then the songs are not truly DRM free and device independant (remember: NZ law allows you to port music you “own” to other devices).

    I would also not totally trust RIANZ’s claim of increasing piracy. The figures used by them and other affiliates have always been tenuous and dodgy. A download does not equate to a lost sale, despite them claiming that. They are partially a lobby group, they have a vested interest in piracy figures still being alarming.

    Personally I buy a lot more music these days, although I will still sometimes “pirate” an album to sample it first before buying. I also defend my right to download stuff that is not commercially available here, or stuff (like Metallica albums) where I have already bought innumerable copies of it in the past.

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  5. berend (1,602 comments) says:

    Not sure I agree. I tried to purchase an album (classical, Chopin’s Nocturnes), and the only way I could buy it was with itunes, and on a windows computer. Fortunately I still had access to a Windows computer, but otherwise I would have been stuck.

    And on the piracy:
    1. How many of these supposed pirated songs would have been purchased if piracy was impossible?
    2. Let’s assume the songs pirated are the popular ones, but the pirate uses his money to buy songs less easily pirated, does that balance things out?
    3. See meow above: you bought a cd 10 years ago, and you can’t play it any more, is it piracy if you download a copy?

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  6. tristanb (1,133 comments) says:

    RIANZ can comment about how they’d like to restrict our actions, when our government stops using taxpayer to fund douchebag NZ musicians. We waste so much money making music videos for the talentless shitheads that populate the quotas on the radio.

    The reason music piracy continues unabated is because no-one thinks it’s a crime. It isn’t – is does not harm anyone. Currently music companies have the government protecting them, their business wouldn’t exist without it. The government creates laws stifling the freedom of what we do on our own computers.

    There is nothing inherently wrong with copying someone else work, as long as you do not claim it as your own. It is only “wrong” because there are laws about it. There are only laws about it because the government listens to these non-productive companies and does whatever they say.

    If someone can do something cheaper, then they should be allowed to do it cheaper – anything else is just anti-capitalism. I can copy an MP3 cheaper than I can purchase a CD – so I should be allowed to – as long as I’m not committing fraud.

    Just like if a handiman is cheaper than a plumber, you can use your discretion – the government can’t force you to use a specified tradesperson for a specified job.

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  7. labrator (1,691 comments) says:

    Haven’t seen any proof of privacy continuing unabated. Spotify only recently became available in NZ and it is certainly slowly spreading through my acquaintances. Certain people will take some time to change over as often their MP3 playlists are very well manicured and particular specialist songs aren’t always availalable. Additionally, Spotify doesn’t have a family account, so different people can’t listen to different songs in different parts of the house like you can with MP3s…

    I agree with comments above that KDC is mostly referring to movies, music is almost there already.

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  8. gazzmaniac (2,270 comments) says:

    DPF: how many of your 380 iTunes songs can you transfer directly to another device, like a Windows phone or a USB drive? If you can’t then the songs are not truly DRM free and device independant (remember: NZ law allows you to port music you “own” to other devices).

    iTunes songs can be transferred directly to any program or device you want that can read MP4s (which is an open standard). There is nothing (apart from maybe a clause in an EULA) stopping you renaming your *.m4a files as *.mp4, the only difference between the two file types is the extension. The smart devices (that’s most of them these days) recognise that an m4a and m4v file is just an mp4 by a different name and you can skip that step.

    I can copy an MP3 cheaper than I can purchase a CD – so I should be allowed to – as long as I’m not committing fraud.

    Yes, but the artist isn’t being paid if you do that, therefore you’re committing fraud. That’s the whole point of copyright – so that people who produce something get paid for their work. I might be able to print out a copy of a book and read it more cheaply than if I actually bought the book, but that still doesn’t make it right. Your post indicates you disagree with copyright altogether, which is a legitimate point of view, however that’s not what this is about.
    Don’t disagree with you about the “talentless shitheads” though.

    In general – I don’t have a problem with copyright, and I don’t have a problem with paying for music. I don’t pirate music through the internet, I am more than happy to pay for it on iTunes. The music industry isn’t anywhere near as restrictive with its copyright enforcement than the movie industry, and I think that is because they had to deal with piracy 15 years ago and have built a bridge and got over it. Not so with the movie industry, who are probably now where the music industry was in 2003. And where everyone else was in 1998 when parallel importing came of age in New Zealand.

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  9. bc (1,252 comments) says:

    Possibly fair comments about music, but the issue to me is movies.

    I would also disagree about the cheaper price. CD’s have been around $20 for as long as I can remember. Many CD’s have 15 tracks, some around 20. Even at the low end price quoted of $2 per track, it still makes it expensive to purchase per track. And you don’t have the hardware of a CD, booklet etc. Should be about $1 per track.

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  10. Graeme Edgeler (3,222 comments) says:

    These points may be true for music. They are not true for television. And part of the reason they are not true is the music industry Ans music rights for television.

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  11. Pauleastbay (5,030 comments) says:

    I’m loving Spotify, all I can eat for $12.99 per month. More music than I could possibly listern to. Download to my Desktop and then to my Andriod. Can play it in the car with a 3.5 plug or bluetooth. The Android copy has more compression but I not a ‘golden ears” so I don’t mind that

    And if I really like what I’m hearing I’ll buy the CD ( nothing modern for me, Jazz , old rock and Country) at JB or Groovey for $12 max

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  12. tas (530 comments) says:

    RIANZ’s response is b***s***. Here is my DRM story:

    I wanted to buy my parents a BBC’s planet earth series on DVD as a christmas present. (I highly recommend this series BTW.) However, I realised that if I buy the DVDs on amazon they will not play on a NZ DVD player because of region restrictions. My parents have limited tech ability, so I decided on the following solution: I would buy it on iTunes and then plug my laptop into their TV and play it for them. (This was far from ideal, but I knew my mum would really appreciate it.) Everything seemed to work fine: I could play the show on my laptop and the TV showed up as a second monitor. So I got my parents and hit play. Up popped an error message! Apparently their TV didn’t support HDCP. i.e. their TV didn’t have the right DRM support so iTunes refused to play it. This was a highly infuriating experience.

    I paid US$33 for this TV show and couldn’t watch it the way I wanted. If instead I had pirated it, it would have worked perfectly from the start.

    DRM hurts legitimate users and does not affect illegitimate users!

    I’ll let you guess how I ended up solving the problem.

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  13. SHG (321 comments) says:

    Or as depicted by the Oatmeal:

    http://theoatmeal.com/comics/game_of_thrones

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  14. V (660 comments) says:

    The music industry has stopped development on the technical side, we went from vinyl > casette tape > CD > Digital files. But what about improvement in the sound quality? TrueHD, DTS-HD anyone?
    Also music industry should film more concerts in IMAX format. The U2 3D one was pretty good and worth paying for.

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  15. iiq374 (262 comments) says:

    RIANZ actually prove a lot of Kim’s points – last time I would have downloaded music was back in the days of Napster. As long as you ignore the fact that I have downloaded virtually every CD I own to a couple of our computers because it was easier than pulling out all the physical disks from storage. So that would probably show up in their piracy stats even though Id contend downloading rather than ripping the cd shouldnt be.

    Most people I know don’t bother pirating music because it is accessible enough, it is tv and movies that hit contention.

    To add to SHGs Oatmeal I’d also remind of the meme on what it takes to watch DVD once you have it: pirated copy put in press play watch movie. Bought copy you’re lucky if you’re actually in the movie in less than 5 minutes

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