More iPlayer insanity

Good news — the BBC Trust has thrown its weight behind iPlayer. But every silver lining has a cloud, as Ryan Morrison points out.

The iPlayer that has been given the go-ahead will have a few changes to what has been proposed before. The changes are quite minor really. Infact, one of them — about taking a platform-independent approach — is very good indeed. But there is still the odd moment where I have to slap my palm on my forehead and ask, “WHY?”

Genres included in non-DRM audio downloads: Audio-books and classical music should be excluded from the non-DRM downloads.

In other words, audio books and classical music — two very worthy genres that ring the right public service bells — will be locked up and more difficult to access than other genres. So if the next generation grows up with absolutely no taste in books or classical music, you’ll know what’s to blame.

The public value to be created is not, in the Trust’s view, sufficient to justify the potential market impact of allowing downloads of these genres.

This is horseshit. This is about the greedy commercial music industry maximising its profits; not about maximising public value. When the BBC offered all of Beethoven’s symphonies for free download, it was a massive success and everybody loved it — apart from those greedy bastards who want to lock music away unless you pay their high prices. Because the music industry reacted so violently against it, the BBC has promised never to do anything similar again — despite the fact that it was a huge success. The same is now happening to iPlayer.

1 comment

  1. I completely agree with you – of all organisations the BBC is one of the only ones able to offer classical music for free without DRM.

    All classical music (assuming classical as written a bloody long time ago) is out of copyright so the only thing you have to pay for is the performance rights.

    As the BBC runs it’s own orchestras (paid for by the licence fee) it could easily offer the songs for nothing.

    Alas the Trust (doesn’t that sound a bit mafia like?), OfCom and the music industry don’t want the public to have what they’ve paid for already.