Everyone has an opinion about the plight of the record industry. Some are worth listening to, others not so much. Henry Jenkins, author of Convergence Culture, is a renowned media scholar and cultural critic. Copy Grounds, a new media discussion form, had the chance to talk to Jenkins and he had some choice words about the record industry. He's in the midst of a new book and has been researching grassroots process of circulation. Asked his thoughts on the RIAA and whether or not fans have the right to actively participate in not only the production of culture but its distribution as well he had this to say:
"Our argument is that fans are helping to create value through their acts of spreading content and commentary through their social networks and that companies need to be more aware of value added through such processes...
I do think that what the industry labels as piracy is as often the result of market failure as it is of the moral failure of consumers, and that companies would do better to find ways to facilitate the kinds of sharing and access to content which leads people to step outside legal boundaries... I think people find themselves caught in such boxes more and more as they navigate a complex media landscape where the industry supply is not catching up with audience demand. As for the recording industry, they’ve acted like complete and total jackasses and don’t deserve any sympathy from anyone.
When Napster first appeared, they should have cut the same deal with its owners that they have historically cut with radio stations — technically stations are free to play whatever music they want and they pay into a fund which gets distributed to the various rights holders. There’s no reason to have made this such a moral battleground and in the process destroy your industry when you could follow historic precedence, embrace new technology, respond to audience demands, and tap into a system which had the potential to broaden markets for B-List content." (Read on.)