The Guardian had a piece on its business pages yesterday allowing the major labels to bemoan their lot and demand something must be done. Again.
This bit was interesting, though:
While the IFPI noted some success in growing sales in countries with new legal measures, notably Sweden and South Korea, it launched a withering attack on governments it accused of turning a blind eye to piracy. Spain in particular came under fire for a "culture of state-tolerated apathy towards illegal file-sharing".
"Spain has the worst piracy problem of any major market in Europe. In 2009, no new Spanish artists featured in the top 50 album charts, compared to 10 in 2003," said Kennedy. "It's getting to the stage where it is nearly irreversible."
The IFPI said investment was drying up in new artists in Spain, and that sales of Spanish artists' albums fell by two-thirds over the last five years.
Rob Wells, head of digital at Universal Music Group International, underlined the falling investment story in a market that had traditionally exported much of its local repertoire to Latin America.
"Spain runs the risk of turning into a cultural desert," he said. "I think it's a real shame that people in authority don't see the damage being done."
I'm sorry, I should have warned you that your eyes might hurt after you've rubbed them to try and believe the arrogance of that statement.
Spain is running the risk of turning into a cultural desert, because the chart drawn up to reflect the business performance of one small part of one of the arts is being stuffed with material from overseas.
If you take 'what's local in the top fifty' as a measure of a nation's cultural vibrancy - a bit like trying to work out what's happening to the climate by checking a thermometer in a greenhouse - then wasn't the problem already bad when there was only one-fifth local acts in there? If it matters, wasn't that the point to act?
More to the point, if the IFPI really is worried that foreign music is despoiling Spanish culture, couldn't they just stop releasing their American acts in such large numbers? It's akin to someone pissing in the streets, and then complaining that there's a stench of ammonia.
And their main worry seems to be less that Spain is turning into a cultural wasteland anyway, and more that they won't have any material to flog off in Latin America. Did Rob Wells really think through a complaint that his company's flooding of one country's market was reducing the flow of material he wants to use to flood other countries with? If Spain was turning into a cultural desert, isn't that good news for Latin America's homegrown artists?