Home stereos and mobile phones are killing the music industry

19 Aug 2008

There are many tales about how mobile devices are the future of music. This is the best one yet.

Four songs from U2's upcoming album were leaked on to the internet after frontman Bono played them too loudly on his stereo at his villa in the south of France, enabling a nearby fan to record them using his mobile phone, and upload them on YouTube.

Nice one.

The story is made all the more poignant by the fact that U2's manager, Paul McGuinness, has been an adamant critic of ISPs who don't police their users for illegal downloads, and made a splash at this year's MIDEM event in a keynote speech in which he demanded that ISPs be held accountable for their users' behavior and become content cops who track what their users are doing and punish them accordingly.

The punch lines sort of write themselves, don't they‾ Especially considering McGuinness also praised the mobile industry in the same speech for being "still a relatively secure environment for legitimate content."

Except when Bono's playing his stereo too loud, of course.

Maybe at next year's MIDEM show McGuinness will demand that legislators require handset manufacturers to disable recording functions on cell phones, or install device management software enabling operators to remotely shut off any mobile phone found to be uploading videos to YouTube. Or he could just ask consumer electronics manufacturers to install lower volume settings on their stereo equipment.

Won't that be fun‾

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