The American Association of Independent Music (A2IM; www.a2im.org), as the not-for-profit trade organization that represents a broad coalition of independent music labels, comprising more than 30 percent of the music industry’s U.S. recorded music sales market, almost 40 percent of digital sales and well over 80 percent of all U.S. music label releases, applauds our bi-partisan supporters in the U.S, House Of Representatives for today introducing the proposed “Stop Online Piracy Act” legislation.
A2IM’s music label community includes small and medium-sized music enterprises (SMEs) of all types throughout the United States, from Hawaii to Florida, representing musical genres as diverse as our membership. All of our label members have one thing in common; they are small business people with a love for music who are trying to make a living.
This year, independently-owned music labels won over half of the 109 GRAMMYs awarded, but economic reward has not always followed critical success. A2IM members share the core conviction that the independent music community plays a vital role in the continued advancement of cultural diversity and innovation in music both at home and abroad, but we need the assistance of the U.S. government in Intellectual Property anti-piracy enforcement.
While piracy and the resulting music slump is a worldwide problem, the U.S. is particularly hard hit and needs support as we’re losing our place in the world music market. Per the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI, www.ifpi.org) in 2005, the U.S.’s share of the international music market was 34 percent. For 2010 the IFPI reported the U.S. as having 26 percent of world market share. As America’s manufacturing and service sectors continue to shift abroad, Intellectual Property is one of the few potential growth areas for our economy via exports and we, as music creators, small businessmen, and investors in music creation from across the country, need our government’s support for a cooperative effort to restore American global competitiveness in the music business.
The Internet represents a platform for entrepreneurship and expression, but at the same time, it also has produced tremendous financial difficulty for those in the creative community who earn their living from their copyrights, including recording artists, music labels, songwriters, publishers, and those who distribute, market, and provide support to our community. Some of our greatest opponents are search engines linking to sites that allow access to unlicensed music, as is done by services like Google to offshore sites like RapidShare in Germany or MegaUpload in the Ukraine (selling their Google ads along the way), with no piracy search engine linking liability. We need our legislators to focus on limiting access to these websites that encourage illegal activity.
A2IM member music labels as SMEs simply do not have the financial means or resources to engage in widespread copyright enforcement on the Internet, either domestically or abroad. The time and capital investment required for our community of like-minded, but proudly independent, small business people to monitor the web for infringement and take subsequent legal action simply does not exist. It will be tremendously beneficial for those whose livelihood depends on the ability to exploit copyrights in a free market to have a government partner helping advance a worldwide enforceable regime for the protection of Intellectual Property online.
As music creators and investors in the music creation and promotion of our artists, we applaud our bi-partisan legislative supporters and support their proposed actions.
A2IM is a not-for-profit trade organization serving the Independent music community as a unified voice representing a sector that comprises over 30% of the music industry’s market share in the United States (and almost 40% of SoundScan digital sales). The organization represents the Independents’ interests in the marketplace, in the media, on Capitol Hill, and as part of the global music community. A2IM is headquartered in New York City. The organization’s board of directors is composed of the following: Concord Music Group President Glen Barros; Sub Pop VP Business Affairs Eric Brown; tinyOGRE Entertainment COO Jim Cooperman; Epitaph General Manager Dave Hansen; Yep Roc Records co-owner Tor Hansen; Alligator Records Founder/CEO Bruce Iglauer; The Beggars Group Founder/CEO Martin Mills; Kill Rock Stars President Portia Sabin; Jim Selby, Naxos of America CEO, Tommy Boy CEO/Founder Tom Silverman; Razor & Tie COO Victor Zaraya.