When Will They Get the Message

When will the music companies get the message? Yahoo has released a list of its top 10 searches for 2003. And no Paris Hilton is not number one, nor is Britney Spears or Harry Potter. It’s Kazaa, the music download and peer to peer file exchange service.

Sure Kazaa has been moving towards hosting ‘legitimate’ music exchange, and recently announced the availability of movies (albeit only a couple so far); but by far its biggest marketplace is what the music companies would call illegal music swapping.

You’d think that being the number one most sought after thing on Yahoo might give the music companies something to ponder for the New Year. As a piece of market research – something they live and die for normally – the Yahoo rankings pretty much sum up the issue.

Despite a massive media campaign, issuing law suits against teenagers in the USA, and even securing criminal convictions against three university students in Australia, and generally endeavouring to scare the bejesus out of people, it’s clearly not having much effect. What people want is to swap music, and track down tracks.

There has to be a business case in there somewhere for the music companies, and not just the obvious like iTunes and the other pay per download music purchase web sites.

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