Only a few of the subjects of my “I’ve got a bone to pick with you” posts have ever got in touch. One wrote to apologise (which was unnecessary of course, but we had tea, and it was nice), another to ask me to take the article down (which I did because it was unfair) and Norman Lebrecht told me I don’t have any balls.*
Yesterday I wrote about Anil Prasad’s attack on streaming services. Today he got in touch. He has deleted most of his tweets now, so I’ve arranged the screenshots below in the order that makes most sense of the conversation:
That last one was a witheringly sarcastic put-down that will keep me awake at night, but the good news is that he has written a new piece. Here it is. I’m less inclined to take this one apart line-by-line because (1) I have work to do and (2) it doesn’t propose anything that might actually happen.
It does not address any of the flaws in his argument against streaming, but builds on this non-existent foundation to propose a business that charges significantly more for access to a smaller collection of music under an exclusive agreement that is the very definition of price fixing.
“Price fixing and bid rigging are among the group of antitrust offenses that are considered per se unreasonable restraints of trade. The courts have reasoned that these practices, which invariably have the effect of raising prices to consumers, have no legitimate justification and lack any redeeming competitive purpose and should, therefore, be considered unlawful without any further analysis of their reasonableness, economic justification, or other factors.”
You can charge more for your music. You cannot get together with a group of other suppliers and agree to only sell at a certain price, even if you do not say out loud that this is what you are doing, and even if you believe you are doing it for the right reasons. It is a crime punishable by up to ten years in prison.
As he says: Good luck.
* Or possibly either that balls do not exist or that I should send him a picture of some – there were no verbs in his email, which rendered its meaning somewhat ambiguous. I have yet to work out what part of my behaviour would give him the idea that I’m afraid of him, so maybe he did want a pic. I’ll let you make up your own mind. The Internet is weird.