Artists' Groups Sound Off Vs. Pew Survey

Bodies question support for P2P services.

Two recording-artists' groups are responding with skepticism to a new study showing that a majority of artists and musicians queried do not think peer-to-peer file sharing networks are a danger to the creative community.

Top officials representing the Recording Academy and the Recording Artists Coalition say the survey, carried out by the Pew Internet and American Life Project with the help of the Future of Music Coalition, was tilted toward new artists who have not gained much traction on the music scene and use the Net to get their work exposed.

The nonprofit group based its report on a survey of 809 “self-identified” artists in December 2003, most of them contacted via the Net. Forty-seven percent of the artists agreed with the statement “File-sharing services are bad for artists because they allow people to copy or use an artist’s work without getting permission or compensating the artist.”

Forty-three percent agreed that “file-sharing services aren’t really bad for artists, since they help to promote and distribute an artist’s work to a broad audience.”

The response that raised eyebrows at NARAS and RAC was that two-thirds of those surveyed said file sharing poses “a minor or no threat to them,” and less than one-third said file sharing was a major threat to creative industries. Only 3% said the Internet hurt their ability to protect their creative works.

Jay Rosenthal, counsel for RAC, says the group views the study as “severely flawed," saying it "does not accurately reflect the opinions of ‘professional’ recording artists.”

Daryl Friedman, NARAS’ VP for advocacy, points to a recent e-mail from his organization asking for members' support for the pending Induce bill, which would take on certain P2P networks.
“First of all, these are dues-paying professionals, so there’s a threshold there,” he says. “We said, 'If you agree, send a letter to your senators.' More than 3,300 members sent letters of support. You know how many wrote back saying 'We don’t agree'? Four. So I think the survey may not adequately reflect the overall music community on these issues.”