Music on a Card

November 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

In the growing battle for digital music, France took a step further in the beginning of the year with the creation of the Music Card by the government. The crisis in the CD industry is no breaking news, but figures make it sharper. Local artists’ album releases have dropped from 60 percent between 2003 and 2009 and figures show that one-third of French Internet users illegally download music.

In response to that, the Music Card allows French residents between 12 and 25 to purchase a 50€ worth of credit for 25€ – the government paying the other half – in order to legally download music on the Internet through the main music platforms. The plan is supposed to last for two years with the possibility of buying one subsidized card per year. A year after it started, the Ministry of Culture however had to admit his disappointment. With only around 50,000 cards sold, we are far from the million expected.

Beyond the inner critics – there is no check for the age of the customer, not all music platforms are accessible – the issue obviously lies deeper than just practicality. It is clear to the creators of the project that there is a huge step in asking for people to pay for something they currently get for free. Unlike the Minister claims, I do not think most of us realize – especially among young people – the impact of illegal download on artistic creation. But maybe the attempts on making it clear are taking a wrong direction by using threats and fees? In that respect, the project does appear as a nice tentative but will need to be refined and improved to become a successful alternative to piracy.

-Anne-Claire

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