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“Musicians are not universally united in opposition to peer-to-peer file sharing. To the contrary, many musicians find peer-to-peer technology…allows them easily to reach a worldwide online audience.”
——from papers being filed by a coalition of artists
BATTLE LINES BEING DRAWN IN
THE DIGITAL MUSIC REVOLUTION
Will the 99 Cent Online Store Become a Thing of the Past? And Why Are Some Artists Lobbying the Supreme Court in Favor of P2Ps?
Buoyed by an increasingly active market for legal downloads, some of the majors are pressing online retailers to raise wholesale prices for music downloads, and Steve Jobs is not happy, the Financial Times reports. Neither, one would assume, are the iTunes Music Store’s rivals, who are focused on wooing customers, not turning them off.  

That said, there is no consensus among the Big Four regarding the issue, according to the story, which names UMG and Sony BMG as being reluctant to mess with what is turning out to be a good thing, as more and more online consumers accept the 99 cent price point;  the digi-download business now accounts for 2% of recorded music revenues  One unnamed major told FT that it wouldn’t raise the wholesale price at this point out of the belief that the download market isn’t “mature” enough for an increase, while analysts caution that a price hike at this point might very well incite consumers to switch from the legit music stores to P2P operations.

Those in the music biz who defend the move to up wholesale prices—which are now thought to be around 65 cents—point out that they were set low to stimulate demand.

“It seems to me to be singularly bad timing,” Gartner’s Michael McGuire said of the price-increase idea.

Meanwhile, a coalition of artists including Jason Mraz, Public Enemy’s Chuck D and Steve Winwood are urging the Supreme Court not to rule that Grokster, Kazaa and the other P2Ps bear the responsibility for the acts of file swappers, the Washington Post reported this morning. The group states in court papers to be filed today that while it condemns the stealing of copyrighted works, the P2Ps also provide a legal and useful alternative for non-mainstream artists to make their music available.

“Musicians are not universally united in opposition to peer-to-peer file sharing,” reads a draft of the group's court filing quoted by WaPo. "To the contrary, many musicians find peer-to-peer technology…allows them easily to reach a worldwide online audience. And to many musicians, the benefits…strongly outweigh the risks of copyright infringement."

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case on March 29.

In related news, the RIAA has sued 753 more alleged file-sharers, bring the total up to 6,500, and Sony BMG has announced an increased commitment to copy-protected CDs, based on research indicating consumer acceptance of the technology.

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