John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

U2: The Unforgettable Ire

mcguinness.jpg If Bono is U2′s geopolitical pragmatist, the band’s manager Paul McGuinness is its neo-Luddite.

At the Music Matters confab in Hong Kong, McGuinness slagged broadband Internet service providers, accusing them of aiding and abetting music piracy while CD sales and royalty payments to musicians plunge. “The recorded music industry is in a crisis, and there is crucial help available but not being provided by companies who should be providing that help–not just because it is morally right, but because it is in their commercial interest,” said McGuinness, adding that Internet service providers have been “turning their heads” away from the music industry’s troubles. “One way or another, ISPs and mobile operators are the business partners of the future for the recorded-music business. But they are going to have to share the money in a way that reflects what music is doing for their business. The music business once had to bear the accusation that it was full of dinosaurs who looked back to an old business model rather than embracing a new one,” McGuinness said. “Today, though, it is the music business that is charting the way to the future. If there are dinosaurs around today, I think they are the Internet free-thinkers of the past who believe that copyright is the great obstacle to progress, that the distributors of content should enjoy profits without responsibilities and that the creators and producers of music should simply subordinate their rights to the rights of everyone else.”

By Internet free-thinkers, McGuinness presumably means those crazy longhairs in Silicon Valley whom he accused of destroying the recorded music industry in another keynote address back in January. “Embedded deep down in the brilliance of those entrepreneurial, hippy values seems to be a disregard for the true value of music,” he said at the time. “I suggest we shift the focus of moral pressure away from the individual P2P file thief and on to the multibillion dollar industries that benefit from these countless tiny crimes: the ISPs [internet service providers] the telcos [telecom companies], the device-makers. … We must shame them into wanting to help us. Their snouts have been at our trough feeding free for too long.”

Out of the car, longhair …


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work