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Rock impresario says file sharing is inevitable

Peter Jenner, who helped launch Pink Floyd and also managed Ian Drury, says the music sector can learn about selling songs from RapidShare.

Peter Jenner helped launch some of the most influential and soul-stirring rock 'n' roll bands ever recorded in Great Britain or anywhere else. But what does the former manager of such acts as Pink Floyd and The Clash know about the economics of digital music?

Cover of Pink Floyd's debut album, 'Piper at the Gates of Dawn' EMI

Apparently, Jenner has spent some time considering the current state of affairs in music. The former Cambridge University economics lecturer has some ideas on how the industry should proceed.

"Attempts to stop people [from] copying are clearly a waste of time," Jenner said on Wednesday at the Westminster eForum. "Not only are they a waste of time, they make the law offensive. It's very similar to prohibition in America in the 1930s."

The blog Music Ally covered the conference, and you can find more of what Jenner, 66, said there.

Some of the highlights include Jenner's thoughts on music prices, antipiracy efforts, the labels' loss of control over distribution, and the need to "rebuild the relationship between creators and the public."

Jenner doesn't like to use the word 'consumer' in the context of the digital world," he said. "We do not 'consume' files. There is no limit to the number of files that can be copied. Every time you send a file to somebody else, you increase the supply."

He said controversial file-hosting service RapidShare, which has been accused of being a pirate tool, is an example of how to get people to pay for content. "The best thing I've heard about is the whole thing about RapidShare," Jenner said. "People pay for RapidShare, so that seems like a model we can use."