Insurer: music-festival tragedy caused by illegal downloading

Ernesto sez, "In August, after an unexpected summer storm, 4 people died when one of the festival tents at pukkelpop collapsed, leaving 10s of other people injured. The festival's insurance companies now claim this drama was caused by illegal downloading. The reasoning being that fewer CD sales have led to an emphazise on live-acts and festivals. Pukkelpop is a yearly music festival in Belgium (since 1985) attracting up to 180.000 visitors and has sold out every year since I can remember." (Thanks, Ernesto!)


  1. Anyone else get the feeling their insurance companies are somehow related to the RIAA or the Belgian equivalent?

  2. No, they are saying illegal downloading leads to more people going to live events, which we all know is a BAD thing. If the festival just didn’t have those gosh-darned music-loving customers, noone would have gotten hurt!

  3. So they’re saying that if those 4 people spent their money supporting the record companies by purchasing CD’s instead of supporting the artists by seeing them in concert then they’d still be alive.  

    Exactly what is advancing this argument supposed to do?

    They might as well suggest that the invention of the electric guitar and that we should only be playing non-amplified instruments going forward.

  4. An insurance company that can’t rationally assess a risk and resorts to, for lack of a better term, theology instead? Yeah right. Somebody’s lying through his teeth.

  5. you know how to solve all the worlds problems don’t you? disable the copy function on all computers – better yet, disble the paste function and really fuck with peoples minds

  6. I’d be interested in a full translation.  But if they’re saying that illegal downloading has lead to larger efforts in concert promotion and less concern about health and safety (we need to get our money from somewhere!) that sounds like a reasonable hypothesis at least.  I can’t imagine the implication they are trying to make is “we have to stop illegal downloading so concerts are less popular”, insurers will want more concerts as there is more for them to insure.

  7. OCR’d, corrected and fed through Google Translate for those who want it:

    The collapse of the podium of the rock festival Pukkelpop, who has five dead and 70 injured on August 18, is perhaps not due to the violence of the storm. Face many similar disasters, the insurance experts see it, in fact, an unintended consequence of falling record sales. Groups with a vital need for giant concerts, they rent huge stages, over-loaded with video equipment and spotlights. The rain and wind did not destroy more than before, but when they fall, that’s a lot more damage.

  8. Cheap translation by a non-professional: “The crashing down of the podium of the Pukkelpop rock festival that killed five and injured eighty last August 18, is maybe not due to the violence of the storm.  Confronted with multiple similar catastrophes, the experts of insurance companies see it as the unexpected consequence of the falling disc sales. The bands have a vital interest in giant concerts, they rent giant podiums overloaded with video equipment and spots. The rain and the wind do not destroy more often than before, but when they fall, the damage is much greater.”

    So the experts say that falling disc sales lead to bands doing bigger concerts with more potential damage. (I guess this assumes that bigger concerts don’t come with proportionally better safety regulations?)

      1. While I agree that this should be in the post, it doesn’t actually make it seem a lot more reasonable.  It’s mind-bogglingly stupid without this more nuanced description, and merely completely stupid with.  Reasonable is nowhere in sight.  (Hey, insurers: Which came first – stadium rock or TCP/IP?)

        1. Yeah.  If “rain and the wind do not destroy more often than before”, and you have larger gear, you need stronger rigging.   It’s pretty clever, though — the statement is wrapped in about 3 levels of stupid, and getting to it requires you to refute so many stupid things along the way that most people are just going to throw their hands up.

  9. so let’s be clear – they aren’t blaming it on illegal downloads explicitly – they’re blaming it on falling CD sales. The indirect cause could just as easily be the amazing amount of crap music on the market these days. Yes, I am very old and grumpy.

    1. This also could have been avoided if people spent more time at home with their collection of buggy whips.

      Yeah, I know, wink wink, nudge nudge and all that.

  10. Those silly Walloon and Flemish peoples. Everybody knows the only way to stop inclement weather deaths caused by illegal downloading comes through prayer and tax cuts.

    My only question is, why did they have a Gay Pride parade at a pop festival?

  11. Because no one ever went to live shows, or got hurt at them, before there was music downloading.  Suuuuure.

  12. Be fair, we’re judging what looks like a single paragraph reference to what the insurance company actually said.

    The most significant point is “Confronted with multiple similar catastrophes, the experts of insurance companies see it as the unexpected consequence of the falling disc sales”.  If 1 in 50 stadium concerts resulted in one or more fatalities and we went from 50 stadium concerts a year to 500 because musicians were moving to a different  economic model then they are exactly right.

    There are two suppositions here 1. there are more large scale concerts and 2. this is a result of falling CD sales.

    I think 1 is almost certainly true, if it is connected to 2, well it doesn’t seem unreasonable, but I don’t have any evidence for it on hand.

  13. As noted above, the statement basically claims that larger, more spectacular stage sets, with video equipment and huge racks of spotlights, cause more damage and potential death when they fall on people (and that these larger sets are a reaction to diminishing record sales).

    Which is totally beside the point, because if I’m not mistaken, those people were killed when structural parts of the concert tents they were in crashed down, not stage equipment. Tents have been used for outdoor festivals for a very long time.

    I wasn’t there but some of my friends were, including someone who actually worked on the stage sets. I remember reading that the stage sets themselves caused no harm whatsoever. I have no idea which publication this is from, but it seems there’s more than one thing wrong with it.

    Edit: What’s weird is that the top left of the page says “Belgique” (Belgium), which could suggest that it’s from a source that isn’t from Belgium nor aimed at a Belgian audience: it seems like a “third-person” (third country?) reference, if you see what I mean.
    Edit 2: Turns out it was in Le Figaro Magazine, a French publication. It highly doubt that the “insurance experts” quoted in the article have anything to do with the actual insurance company involved with Pukkelpop.

  14. Well that does it.  I’m going to buy more CDs (and DVDs, because movie theaters can be dangerous, too), stay home, order pizza and Chinese food, and be safe, fat and happy.

  15. If the festival didn’t have insurance it would not have been allowed to happen.  Those people would never have been there, that stage would never have been put up. Therefore the deaths must surely have been caused by the insurance company.

  16. The same way that Tom Delay of Texas claimed that liberals caused him to be arrested and tried for money laundering!! Are you sure the aforementioned insurance companies aren’t related to American Christofascists??

  17. I’d say its part of the insurance and planning companies to cut corners setting up these sets for all situations to cut deductibles and save money. 

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