Page last updated at 19:31 GMT, Tuesday, 24 January 2006

Digital music: Industry answers

Some of the top executives in the music industry have answered your questions about digital music.

The BBC News website asked for your queries and gripes about the way new technology is being used - and the eight sharpest, most frequent and most important questions were put to the virtual panel.

Click on each question to read the answers.

The music industry is throwing itself wholeheartedly into the prosecution of people it perceives as "stealing" music. Can of the panel place their hands on their hearts and insist, honestly, that they never taped a song off the radio, or from a mate, in their youths? Simon Hayes Budgen, Milton Keynes, UK

  • John Kennedy, IFPI:

    You simply aren't comparing an apple with an apple.

    When you use an unauthorised file-sharing service you are effectively acting as a 'mass distributor' as whenever you're online, every other user around the world has the ability to access your hard drive and take what's on it. Not quite the same as making a compilation for your girlfriend on Valentine's Day...

    As it happens, I never did copy music off the radio - I was lucky enough to have a great record collection thanks to my brothers and sisters.

  • Peter Jamieson, BPI:

    There is a misconception that p2p file-sharing is somehow similar to home taping, but there is a world of difference between recording the Top 40 onto a C90 and distributing perfect digital copies of songs over the internet to millions of people - and that's exactly what file-sharing is.

    I've certainly never risked a legal bill for thousands of pounds by distributing my music collection to millions over the internet - to do so is to rip off artists and everyone involved in making music.

  • Steve Knott, HMV:

    I'm sure many, if not all, of us have taped a song from the radio or burnt a CD. But that's fine - and it's not an issue when people make small numbers of copies for their own use. It's those people who abuse the process by engaging in serial downloading and particularly 'uploading', where they are giving away thousands of tracks that are not theirs to give, that are effectively cheating on everybody else, including other music fans, who possibly have to pay more for their legally acquired music as a result.

  • Brad Duea, Napster:

    Simon, for years I have made compilations - initially vinyl to cassette and now purely digital. Compilations allow me to create my own personalised playlists for all sorts of events. Also, I used to listen to radio and jump to my stereo to record a hot new song.

    Today, technology has made this issue a bit more complex and has turned the recording industry on its head. To address the file-sharing issue, we have been working hard to provide a "carrot" - attempting to attract people from file-sharing networks by providing a better experience.

    Digital music: Ask the industry
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