MEDIA AND MUSIC REGULATIONS

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With increased accessibility to technology such as mobile phones and the Internet, regulating these spaces has become a key concern. Media regulation is defined as “the control or guidance of mass media by governments and other bodies” (Wikipedia, 2016). Media regulations target the press, radio, television, film, recorded music, the Internet, and mobile phones.

Specifically I will be focusing on the regulation of recorded music. The world wouldn’t be quite the same without music. Almost everyone I know is passionate about at least one or two musical artists. So it’s obvious that music is a massively important cultural medium. It’s an expressive platform that has been around for as long as there have been humans roaming the earth. However, media regulations on recorded music, specifically Australia’s anti-piracy movements, have provided boundaries for the public in order to protect the income and copyright of musicians.

However, the battle to convert pirates to legal music streaming is gathering momentum in Australia, with new research from streaming service Spotify claiming a 20% decline in music piracy over a 12-month period. Until now, there had been little research conducted on the impact legal music streaming services e had on music piracy in Australia.

According to Spotify:

  • Music piracy is trending down in Australia, both in terms of volume and population.
  • Between December 2012 and 2013, overall music piracy volume fell by over 20%
  • Casual pirates are being converted to legal services, but hard-core pirates remain.
  • Demand for both TV and film on BitTorrent is four times that of music.

Although, Spotify and other services such as Pandora continue to face heavy criticism from artists though, who say it doesn’t give them a fair share of money. A tweet launched by songstress Bette Midler in 2014 captured the sense of frustration that many in the industry are now feeling.

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Her sentiments have been echoed by the likes of David Byrne, Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan and Radiohead’s Thom Yorke who colourfully described the state of the music business as akin to “the last desperate fart of a dying corpse” (Dredge, 2013).

In the music industry, exposure is key, giving people access to bands and artists they would never hear of otherwise. Downloading tends to be more damaging to the household names but it is a blessing in disguise for underground labels, who feed off the exposure the internet provides.

One of my all time favourite British bands named Arctic Monkeys debut album sold a staggering 360,000 copies its first week of release. The reason for this success in sell was due to the music file sharing community, spreading free CDs handed out at early gigs in 2004 on the peer to peer sharing networks (Blogspot, 2012). The band were reportedly amazed when crowds started to sing back the words as they performed at larger gigs, and highlights the role that viral Internet marketing and loyal fans played in promoting the band.

This supports the popular theory that the Internet is changing the way that bands break into the mainstream and market themselves, putting them in a very strong position, and setting an exciting precedent for the future.

As you can see, media regulation aims to be the hero of the music industry protecting them from “evil” pirates, although is this really a good thing? In terms of protecting copyright, I fully support this regulation. However, even though I purchase the majority of my music on vinyl for the sound and aesthetic quality, I firmly believe that file sharing is extremely beneficial for underground musicians in establishing a fan base that will result in increased revenue of tour and merchandise sales.

For further information about media regulations in Australia, check this link out!

 

Reference:

Wikipedia, 2016. Media Regulations. Wikipedia Media Regulations. Available from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_regulation

Dredge S. 7 October 2013. The Guardian. Thom Yorke calls Spotify ‘the last desperate fart of a dying corpse’. Available from: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/oct/07/spotify-thom-yorke-dying-corpse

Blogspot, April 16, 2012. The Good and Bad of Music Piracy. Why People May Download: Exposure. Available from: http://cstudyhcc.blogspot.com.au/

 

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