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Gama Bomb frontman Philly Byrne is “stunned” that Paul McGuinness believes implementing a “three-strikes” regime to punish illegal file-sharer is less worse than suing them in court being that both are a prosecution of the “very people artists rely on.” Endorses the idea of free content as a “route to profit,” and says that the “freely distributed album is the path to record tour profits.”A few weeks ago U2 band manager Paul McGuinness wrote an op-ed explaining “How to Save the Music Industry” in which he again criticized P2P and offered solutions to the ailing record business.Gama Bomb frontman Philly Byrne read the article, and was apparently amazed by McGuinness being “crazily short-sighted” on what needs to be done. He faults the article for being filled with “logical blind-spots on the current state of the business.” “He’s got the numbers right, but the headspace is all wrong,” he says.The first problem Byrne sees is McGuinness’ admission that suing individual file-sharers was “cumbersome, deeply unpopular and ultimately ineffective,” and yet advocates a “three-strikes” regime that he thinks is a less “ugly alternative.” Byrne says that threatening and disconnecting users from the Internet is “no less a persecution to the very people artists rely on.”He also questions McGuinness’ claim that the music industry has very little success in trying to “‘fight free with free,’ seeking revenues from advertising, merchandising, sponsorship – anything, in fact, other than the consumer’s wallet.” He points out that 360 degree contracts have been the norm for more than 10 years with record labels even buying up merchandising and production companies to guarantee themselves a bigger cut of the action.“It’s also startling because U2 signed a 12-year deal with Live Nation in 2008, giving control of the band’s merchandise and web presence to the concert promoter in sure recognition of those being vital cogs in the machine,” he adds. “And as for the rest? The band famously synergised corporate sponsorship and high-end merchandising in the form of the U2 iPod in 2004. Textbook new-industry pathfinding.” For complaining that the music industry can’t “fight free with free” he seems to be doing a pretty good job of it over at U2 Inc..He says the only way to fix the music industry is to “sweep the decks clean, overturn the idea of file sharing as ‘theft’ and rethink how to profit from it. Industries world wide have done this time and again in the face of social and technological advancements.”Byrne believes that free albums are the real key to the future, providing an opportunity for record tour profits as you expand your fanbase. Gama Bomb recently gave away copies of its third album for free, and oddly enough, still sold just as many physical copies as their second album did.Now they’ve “seen a groundswell in our fanbase and now get paid more for playing gigs and sell more merchandise than before,” he says. “On the balance I think we won out, because we gave people what they wanted; a quality album and a bit of credit.” He thinks there’s money still to be made from music fans, but that it’s just changed a bit.“What Paul needs to tell the labels is, if you’re not willing to change the column titles on your spreadsheet, you don’t deserve to be in business,” he continues.It has to be better than restricting content, throttling bandwidth, or playing an endless game of whack-a-mole right?
It seems some are listening to their fan base.