The music industry won a small victory on Friday when the owner of the file sharing site, Lime Wire, agreed to pay $105 million to settle a $1.5 billion dollar copyright infringement suit. The settlement came after a federal judge ruled that Lime Wire had indeed infringed on copyrights by enabling peer-to-peer music file sharing on its site.
While that certainly validates the Recording Industry Association of America’s (RIAA) position on file sharing; what is perhaps most interesting about the case is this quote from Warner Music Group CEO Edgar Bronfman.
As reported by CNET, while testifying in court, Bronfman said “The truth of the matter is, if a consumer goes and spends $25, $30 to buy a couple of albums and that’s what they spend each year on music, and from those albums they’re getting two, three, four songs that they really like…that may not be a great experience. But if the consumer can spend the same $25 and get 25 songs that they love, that is a fantastic experience.” news.cnet.com
Well really. Finally. Somebody who is somebody in the music industry figured out after all these years that the consumer experience is actually important. It only took more than a decade and the nearly complete collapse of the record industry for that dim bulb of realization to shine into corporate consciousness.
No, wait. Let me amend that. That bright bulb of realization shone extremely bright in Steve Jobs’ corporate consciousness a long time ago; hence the meteoric rise of Apple’s profits from the unbundled and unbridled joy of consumers who finally had an alternative to buying $15 dollar CDs filled with crappy songs in order to get the one or two good tunes that they actually liked.
One small step for the RIAA. One giant leap for consumers. I think that’s a fair trade; don’t you?