Thursday, 18 March 2010

Pink Floyd Wins?

You may have noticed that last week, Pink Floyd won the right in the High Court to prevent EM from selling individual downloads from their albums. (See for example The Guardian and the BBC).

Originally uploaded by bloomsberries
Artist rights
I think it's good that an artist is able to retain control of what they have created. Pink Floyd successfully argued that their concept albums were designed to be listened to as a whole and shouldn't be unbundled just because it suits the record company.

Generation gap?
I have some sympathy with this as I generally like to listen to listen to music an album at a time. I like hearing the whole work - whether it is designed as a concept album or not. Apart from anything else, there are some tracks I disliked on first hearing but are now among my favourites (for instance Darkness by Peter Gabriel from the Up album comes to mind). If I didn't listen to the whole album, I could skip tracks like that and miss out on some great music. This may be a generational thing though, since my daughter listens to her iPod almost permanently on shuffle!

Smart or stupid?
Having said all that, can't help but think Floyd are being a bit foolish. For instance, they were happy enough to get a Christmas number one from The Wall in the shape of Another Brick In The Wall. And did they go to court to punish the Scissor Sisters for destroying Comfortably Numb a wee while ago? No! So they seem happy to unbundle tracks some times but not others.

At least one of the news reports hinted that it is all down to money, saying that artists get more for album downloads compared to individual track downloads. That sounds like stuff and nonsense to me. Even if they get proportionally less per individual download, my guess is you'll sell more individual tracks so you'll end up ahead of the game anyway.

So, although I'm pleased that the artist has won the right to say how their music will be distributed, I can't help but think Pink Floyd are cutting its analogue nose off to spite its digital face!

What do you think? Good move on the part of the Floyd or daft move by a Mr Pink who hasn't kept up with the changing music market?

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