"I know for a fact that a lot of people first heard my music by downloading it from Napster or Kazaa, and for this reason I’ll always be glad that Napster and Kazaa have existed."
- Moby, in his online journal last year
Fascinating discussion on file sharing from the artists perspective, via the the Pew Internet and American Life Project (pdf) :
A survey released last week, titled "Artists, Musicians and the Internet," combines and compares the opinions of three groups: the general public, those who identify themselves as artists of various stripes (including filmmakers, writers and digital artists) and a somewhat more self-selecting category of musicians.
Most notably, it is the first large-scale snapshot of what the people who actually produce the goods that downloaders seek (and that the industry jealously guards) think about the Internet and file-sharing.
Among the findings: artists are divided but on the whole not deeply concerned about online file-sharing. Only about half thought that sharing unauthorized copies of music and movies online should be illegal, for instance. And makers of file-sharing software like Kazaa and Grokster may be unnerved to learn that nearly two-thirds said such services should be held responsible for illegal file-swapping; only 15 percent held individual users responsible.
"This should solve the problem once and for all about whether anyone can say they speak for all artists," said Jenny Toomey, the executive director of the Future of Music Campaign, a nonprofit organization seeking to bring together the various factions in the copyright wars.
Ms. Toomey, whose group helped draft part of the survey, believes that artists are usually underrepresented in the debates about the high-tech evolution of the industry. "These decisions need to be made with artists at the table," she said, adding, "it’s not enough for both sides to reach out and get an artist who supports their position."
Very interesting discussion. Of course, the questions asked have a significant impact on the answers, a classic trial technique known as "framing the issue." I could have put together a survey that led to very different conclusions — namely, that file sharing is a disintermediating format replacing arbitrary decisions by labels and limited exposure on consolidated radio playlists with a broader, more meritocratic free market competition.
Expect to hear more about this in the near future . . .
click for larger graphic
Pew File-Sharing Survey Gives a Voice to Artists
TOM ZELLER Jr.
New York TImes, December 6, 2004
Here’s yet another online-only WSJ column: Season’s Subtotal. The WSJ will take a "regular look at how the holiday season is progressing at retailers, rounding up the latest takes from Wall Street, market-research firms and news reports."
I’ll point to it when I catch the updates; Here’s an excerpt:
And, they’re off! Retail-tracking firm ShopperTrak estimated that retail sales for Black Friday, so called because it marks a shift to profitability for many retailers, rose 11% from last year to about $8 billion. Saturday, however, "was weak and disappointing, so together it was only a modest two-day performance,” said Michael P. Niemira, chief economist at International Council of Shopping Centers.
Mall cornerstones J.C. Penney and Sears Roebuck reported solid sales, but a lack of deep discounts at Wal-Mart meant fewer rings of the retail giant’s cash registers. Analysts say discounters are likely to have a hard time this holiday season because lower-income customers have been hardest hit by soaring gasoline prices. Still, Mr. Niemira expects chain-store sales will grow 3% to 4% this holiday season from last year.
Way back in October 2003, we looked at master technical analyst George Lindsay’s repetitive chart pattern, Three Peaks and the Domed House. That version showed a fairly prescient call by Ned Davis, before the January ’04 top. That was then, this is now. Its time to revisit the pattern, this time via Jeff Hirsch of…Read More
In the midst of the recent big drop in oil – which is likely at least partly due to forced/margin selling – there is an interesting point to be considered.
Writing on the financial website Street Insights, Richard Ritholtz [Editor: no relation -- as far as I know] made the following comments today:
· It’s too early to write off the winter even though the weather has been quite mild in the Northeast and Midwest to date.
· Heating oil inventory is still at a low absolute level, although it is clearly in a building mode over the next weeks.
· The market experienced significant long liquidation yesterday as several large funds locked in their profit for the year; December 1st clearly signaled that year end is not far away.
· Based on information from several private forecasters, I believe that the overall winter temperatures from Dec. 21- Mar. 21 will be average to below normal even, though the November through early December temperatures have been milder.
As to the weather (ok…cue the “Let’s Make Fun of Rob Fraim” theme music here) here is something of interest (or fun if nothing else):
The Old Farmer’s Almanac has a noteworthy record for medium-to-longer range weather forecasts.
Oh, I know you’re laughing at me now. You’d rather pay attention to Skippy the Weatherman on your local Accu-Weather at 6:00 who can’t, for Pete’s sake figure out whether it’s going to rain tomorrow. (And who each year predicts 4 huge snowstorms that never materialize and misses on the blizzard that blindsides you.)