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Artist Revenues Increase with Weaker Copyright

The record industry is irrelevant. By Rick Falkvinge.

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A report will be released later Monday 14 December on statistics for 2000-2008 for the Swedish music industry - and not just the plastic copying industry. This under the years file sharing has grown. You can read the raw data here.


What's immediately striking with these figures is that the music industry as a whole is growing but the plastic copying industry is tanking. This is a sign of good health. Copying pieces of plastic is harmful and unnecessary in almost all ways and it's an industry that's going to disappear because it's not needed.

Bloggers everywhere are going to note that the industry as a whole is growing and doing well. And for this reason I choose a more narrow focus and look only at artist revenues - which have also grown with over 25% during the file sharing years.

The revenue sources are interesting. There are two sources dependent on strong copyright (royalties and collection agencies) and one source where copyright's a hinder for greater revenues (live performances). If one looks only to the welfare of artists and cultural workers then the apportioning of these three revenue sources with each another should be the basis of a future copyright politic.

Here's what the numbers look like in million SEK.

                 [Green: live performances; yellow: collection agencies; pink: royalties.]

And from this it's easy to see that the best way to help cultural workers collectively is to remove any unnecessary hinders to live performances - that is, weaken copyright. It's also worth noting that this is a relatively new situation which clerks in the justice and culture departments of the government still haven't grasped.

Whatever: the record industry's irrelevant and the question is if collection agencies aren't as well.

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