The Sky Is Rising : Magic Beaver Edition

It’s unfortunate that some people are gullible enough to take a tech lobby funded Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) sponsored report “The Sky Is Rising” researched by a tech blogger as fact. As we detailed in our post about the SF Gate blundering the facts (obviously without fact checking!) here are some quick responses to the grossly selective and highly biased reasoning that enables such propaganda, and should have everyone questioning the credibility of such work.

Eventually there will a complete break down of the fallacy’s presented by a real economist but until then here are five quick standouts of absurdity:

#1 :  This is not an academic study or serious scientific study. It is a tech / internet industry commissioned (CCIA) lobby report.

#2   : The report falsely claims that the value of global music business grew from 130 billion to 160 billion. They do this by including iPod and music instrument sales. We are not joking about this!!

#3:  To claim that the entertainment business grew 50%  they include revenues from computer and video games.  Video gaming has exploded over the decade. And global gaming revenues are about 5x the size of global recorded music revenues. Console Gaming also has very robust DRM booting users off console networks if pirated or cracked copies are detected (Xbox, Playstation, Wii).

#4 :  Instead of showing the fact that gross recorded music revenues which have fallen over 50%,  the report uses the number of transactions.  Of course there are more transactions since a single album is now available by tracks which can contribute 10-15 times more “transactions.” Clearly the use of this metric is intended to deceive. This chart from The New York Times represents the actual facts.

#5  : Number of tracks cataloged?  Pointless.  This is mostly hobbyists using Tunecore and CD baby to “release” their tracks.   How do we know this?  Of 75,000 albums released in 2010, 60K sold less than 100 copies. Here’s more info spelled out by Ted Cohen and Tom Silverman from a Midem Presentation.

This all really begs the question, if the internet is really working for musicians than why are there less musicians working professionally?  Salon reports a decrease of over 45% less working “Musical groups and artists” from 2002 – 2011 according to the Bureau Of Labor Statistics. The tech / internet community it seems has confused  the democratization of distribution with the democratization of talent.

Of course coming from people who insist that “the internet is different,” (different from what?) and “old economic laws do not apply to the cyber economy,” (despite Google’s Chief Economist disagreeing with them) it’s not hard to take the leap to such absurd and nonsensical beliefs that a magic beaver lives in a space ship under the googleplex, which could also lead to the distorted magical thinking that produced The Sky Is Rising.

It’s also important to understand the near religious devotion some in the tech and internet community have taken to these issues. There is a fanaticism that is blind to all logic and reason that can only be described in the cult like obsession of “The Singularity,” as Jaron Lanier comments.

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[ THE 101 ] [NEW BOSS / OLD BOSS ] [ SPOTIFY ] [GROOVESHARK ] [ LARRY LESSIG ]
[ JOHN PERRY BARLOW ] [ HUMAN RIGHTS OF ARTISTS ] [ INFRINGEMENT IS THEFT ]
[ THE SKY IS RISING : MAGIC BEAVER EDITION ] [SF GATE BLUNDERS PIRACY FACTS ]
[ WHY ARENT MORE MUSICIANS WORKING ] [ ARTISTS FOR AN ETHICAL INTERNET ]

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One thought on “The Sky Is Rising : Magic Beaver Edition

  1. Excellent investigative reporting. Building on a decade of misinformation to support a business model that generates revenue from the unauthorized use of other people’s work, we are beginning to see an aggressive response from the creative stakeholders.

    The real tragedy is that this false rhetoric has misled an entire generation into believing that their actions have actually helped musicians and the music that they love, when in fact their choices have ended careers while vilifying these same individuals.

    Will Buckley, founder, FarePlay

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