FORMER FILESHARING FREE-FOR-ALL Napster is warning that free music sites are detrimental to artists and labels and detract from the real value of music. And no, your eyes are not deceiving you.
Napster's vice president for sales and marketing in Europe, Thorsten Schliesche, said that 'freemium' services would lead to consumers to forget that music has any real value, something that could put artists like Elton John out of business, hats and novelty glasses. We take 'freemium' to refer to those sites that do not charge for individual songs but charge a subscription fee instead. Much like Napster does these days.
"New business models are arriving, amongst which the ‘freemium' service model has been naturally and powerfully adopted by consumers. Yet the ongoing momentum of that model does not have longevity and my greatest fear is that there are now too many 'free' messages to keep music truly valuable, as it should be, in the eyes of the consumer," he warned.
Some might say that Napster itself played a part in this. Though Schliesche advises us that rather than devaluing music by making it free, Napster re-ignited people's love for music. Or something. "As a business Napster has been at the forefront of that change. In its original form, it was the first service to create a platform online that allowed people to search and find music, engaging millions of people. We don't deny that free music was part of that story," he explained.
To counter this recent devaluing Schliesche said that the industry should work together to remind consumers that there is an actual business behind the 12MB of tunes that they consume at the click of a button.
"If users no longer believe in the need to maintain the ecosystem that is required to inspire and support new and existing artists and labels because they are getting something that they perceive to be free, somewhere along the way something extremely valuable may be lost. This discussion is one that must be addressed by all parties in the coming 12 months to ensure that the value of music is recognised and prolonged." µ