¶ 1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 In Agatha Christie’s classic detective novel The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, the titular character is killed, and nearly everyone he knew immediately becomes a suspect, from the obligatory butler to members of the victim’s own family. At the end of the book, it turns out (spoiler alert) that the narrator himself, who is assisting Detective Hercule Poirot in his investigations, is to blame for the heinous deed. In his “Apologia,” the murderer even confesses to being “rather pleased with myself as a writer,” for having told the story in a way that obscured his own guilt, thereby shifted the readers’ focus to the other, innocent suspects.
¶ 2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 In the narrative of the music industry’s decline since the turn of the century, a very similar dynamic is at work. This narrative, which has been constructed and promoted aggressively by the music industry itself, positions the steep drop in music retail sales revenue as a kind of industrial murder, and fingers nearly everyone for the blame, from digital music startups to major companies like Google and Apple to the hundreds of millions of people who use their products. P2P file sharing even plays the role of the butler, as the inevitable primary suspect. In point of fact (spoiler alert), it is the music industry itself that deserves the bulk of the blame for its own misfortunes, a fact it has tried its best to obscure by carefully curating the narrative to emphasize some details while obscuring others.
¶ 3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 My aim in the second section of this book is to debunk the music industry’s version of events, and to offer a more thorough counternarrative that fully explores the industry’s own role in the process, while exonerating those parties who have been wrongfully accused. I will begin with the “butler,” by examining the pros and cons of P2P, and by showing that it can’t reasonably be blamed for the majority of the music market contraction. I will then move on to examine the many economic factors that contributed to the industry’s boom during the 1990s and its bust in the following decade, and describe the music industry’s decisions that contributed to both boom and bust. Finally, I will review some of the ways in which the industry’s own methods of doing business with partners, musicians and consumers has eroded its goodwill, further undermining its market value and revenue potential.