Downloading not business as usual

Downloading music and movies has become an international pass time, but retailers and artists say the trend is quite detrimental in a variety of ways.

Mark Watler is the General Manager of one of Cayman’s audio and video outlets, Funky Tangs.

He says he has consistently seen sales of videos and music CD’s in particular, fall drastically from the late 90’s.

‘I think this is very troubling, as Cayman- and the world at large- seem to have a sub-culture of piracy that has gone unchecked.’

Watler was referring to the illegal market of pirated DVD’s and CD’s that is commonplace in many stores along Eastern Avenue and in fact across Cayman.

He said that though Cayman is under the ‘British Act,’ many people have succumbed to the illusion that no copy write laws exist in this jurisdiction. He stressed that this was inaccurate.

Persons in the industry say they feel that the sheer prevalence of these activities, has desensitized communities, and in some instances, has resulted in this kind of fallacy.

The notion that it is ok to exploit someone’s intellectual property has become the reality of today’s world. However music insiders and Watler say in plain terms this is stealing.

There are some bright spots however; as Watler says CD sales among more mature audiences are still thriving. He attributed this to these persons having less time to spend on computers, in addition to possessing more disposable income than their younger counterparts.

Downloading person to person (p2p) files can also be harmful to computers, as viruses and spy ware are the most common types of problems those exchanging files may be exposed to.

‘Music has become an advertisement or promotional tool to sell concert tickets,’ According to Watler. He continued to explain that if the music industry and the computer ‘giants’ did not come together, the result would be that musicians would be doing their craft simply for pleasure and not financial freedom.

With this said, there have been discussions and comments from the Barrack Obama Administration about appointing a Copy Write Czar, and the American Society for Composers and Publishers has placed the issue of anti-piracy at the forefront of its global correspondence. However most options for containing the internet and its users are merely theories that many music publications say are difficult to test in a new and ever changing web market and culture.

Many other music retailers in Cayman say they have diversified their operations to keep up with trends. This has been evidenced at Funky Tangs and others, with sales of radios, DVD players and computers.

For musicians, Watler suggested putting greater effort into live performances. He said this was the greatest possible revenue stream at present, especially for independents.

Ending his comments with an air of optimism, Watler surmised that though multi-media applications have threatened industries, many are realizing humanity is on the brink of awesome change in consumerism, which also means new opportunities.

Caption: General Manager at Funky Tangs Ltd. Mark Watler. Photo: Stuart Wilson.

Pull quote:

‘Music has become an advertisement or promotional tool to sell concert tickets.’