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back to article How to destroy the music business

Put yourself in these hypothetical shoes for a moment. My goal is to make as much money as possible by doing as little work as possible. I have no creative talent except for generating and recycling marketing buzzwords. I have no technical knowledge or ability - but I can get my head around a Twitter feed. It doesn't sound …

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Law
Happy

omzfg!!!!1111one

An article written by Andrew Orlowski that has comments enabled?!?!

*rubs eyes and stares at screen in disbelief once more*

When did you start doing this?? I used to always have something to moan or agree with, and always died a little inside when I realised there wasn't a comment link, and before I even glanced at the author used to grumble your name! lol...

On subject - the freetard in me screams for this sort of blanket license, but your article was too vivid and logical for me to agree it's a good thing... I still think the industry is in need a massive slap up the backside though, the big labels are dinosaurs that need to be replaced, the internet is the tool of their demise... now we have the goal (rid us of the leeches, give artists more money, make cheaper for consumers), the tools (internet, local access points, local gigs) - but no actual game plan.... hopefully it will be solved by somebody smarter than I.

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too many organisations not enough consensus

Big problem with any concept like that is that essentially it is invoking some kind of 'tv licence' for music. That makes no sense and doesn't cross borders because while it could work in one country it would fail in another.

There are so many things which as you have nicely put together are completely retarded and yes this all boils down to marketing and advertising executives failing to hit unrealistic targets.

The internet hasn't actually destroyed music or labels at all. What it has done is widened the catch net. You can now find everything and anything you might like. As a rocker myself (OK metal head) I have discovered countless artists through mainly epitonic originally long before torrents and myspace, that would never have been brought to my attention otherwise.

The fact is that the 3 major record labels that own and run the entire industry also control the radio stations. Where things are failing is that the subversive sales tactic of getting a track onto constant radio play on country A's top radio station is that again, with the internet there are now niche radio streams and we don't have to listen to their shit peddling any more.

Labels need to stop investing millions in one pair of tits and spread themselves thinly over a broader selection of artists who are talented in their own rights. I am talking about real bands, and the hidden away song writers for the likes of Britney Spears. Pay the poster girl less and the song writer more to write for more artists.

The 'record industry' is run by marketing and the visual is easier to sell than the audible bizarrely. If we stop the endorsement and repeated distribution of attractive people with no musical talent of their own there is still money to be made by marketing teams.

Just because you can sing doesn't make you an amazing artist you are just a good singer, do you write your own lyrics? Probably not. Do you write your own arrangements? I doubt it. Well guess what? There are literally millions of people who don't have the looks of Rihanna who can write and perform a millions times better night after night.

Let the modern day Malcolm Mclaren's be the ones on the TV every day selling an artist and stop creating 'role models' out of naive average but attractive people.

There is money there it is just nobody has bothered to change tac and are still sailing away from the horizon instead of towards the sun.

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Paris Hilton

I've been seduced myself

There are several problems with these types of schemes; not the least of which is that the money never gets to the performers and writers of said IP. It ends up back in the hands of the snow-snorting hooligans who claim to "represent" them. As any fule well know; when there's money floating around, multiple hands will be stretched out for their share. BPI, IFPI, RIAA are just the start. You have the groups that support the printing and publishing of music; the groups that support the writers of the music, and then you have groups that support the performers of the music. Not just in one country, mind you; but around the globe. Sure as you start payola to one of them, the others will be beating a path to your door looking for their "fair share" of the proceeds. Now, mind you; that WON'T be from your inital payment - which the first hand will get. It will come in the form of additional "payments" to all the other hands...and before you know it you will have no frikkin idea who is getting the money for what purpose.

Yes, she knows better.....

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Tom
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Stop

How to destroy the music business?

I don't think they need any help they are doing a fine job all by them selves.

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: I've been seduced myself

" ... multiple hands will be stretched out for their share. BPI, IFPI, RIAA are just the start. You have the groups that support the printing and publishing of music; the groups that support the writers of the music, and then you have groups that support the performers of the music"

AC, are you suggesting that the people who actually created the music and invested in promoting music should get a share? Wash your mouth out, the Freight Hard Army will be after you.

If you're suggesting the system needs to be simpler, then you're stating the Bleeding Obvious: everyone already agrees with you. Or are you suggesting nothing goes back to creators - and Google and BT can empty the black box and keep the lot?

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Unhappy

It's all well and good blaming the labels...

But has anyone stopped to think how greedy everyone else is?

The artists demand and take millions for a few albums. Venues charge extortianate fees to both the bands and the fans. The problem is that anything after the "music" and you need huge sums of money to get anywhere which is why there's no big movement in the industry as a whole.

As someone said already, the whole thing is ran by 3 companies who can always play to human greed to stop their resources (that is, the bands) going anywhere. Say some budding entrepeneur sets up a new label, with a new business model that scales well, the one thing he needs is a big band. A really big one. The kind that has millions of fans. And the big 3 know that. If one other label got a kick-start, it could go somewhere with a "hip-and-trendy" image, maximised use of the internet and enough money to continue paying the costs of gigs to make more money. So the big 3 will do anything to stop this happening, from lock-in contracts, to making it illegal to write songs for other companies and sometimes even as far as offering straight up cash.

Until then, our budding entrepeneur (talented or otherwise) will just have to wait.

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Hmmmm

The initial notion of user-generated mp3s got me thinking. Surely there are enough people who want to put up free stuff, and some of it is probably listenable. What you haven't hit on is the second half of web-2.0ism: users provide the content, but they also *filter* the content. What about some sort of youtube-pandora hybrid for music? Use thumbs-up/thumbs-down feedback to help rate tracks and filter out the crap. And best of all, you can still play all of the copyrighted stuff, because the users will upload it, and it's up to the rights owners to send you a DMCA takedown notice (search for any song title on youtube to see how well that's working out for them). All you need is the bandwidth, and you can start... what? youtube doesn't make any money? Damn...

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Black Helicopters

It's all a swiz

Internet distribution is one thing but the current non-internet model is flawed anyway.

I know that I can buy certain CDs for £8.99 on line and £9.99 in some shops. Why are other shops charging £11.99 or £13.99 for the same album?

The reason they give is that it costs that amount for distribution. Which is absolute hogswash.

Last I heard, the guys who wrote and played on the album are lucky to get 10% of the total which is paid for the album. So maybe 90p/£1.

...but all these "distribution" costs are annihilated as soon as we start to talk about downloads.

It's painfully obvious that most of the cost of the CDs in the shops are these "distribution costs" ie. money that is not going to the creative talent behind the music. Why would the record companies want to change that? If they're getting £10 minus £1 for the musicians and minus even £4 for shipping and overheads then they're making six times as much as the artists are!

I was actually quite surprised that music is legally available for download at all. Then I checked. Most of what I want isn't available for download at all! It seems to be just the high-profile pap that's available... if you like Brittney Spears then you're laughing.

Black helicopters because it's obviously all a big conspiracy!

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Joke

Music Industry

The Music Industry is doing just fine.

It's like anything; you have years and years and years of obscene profits. Then when the going gets tough, sue all of your customers, ask for bailout money, etc.

I think that's how business works. The company is always right, and the consumer is always wrong.

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@It's all a swiz

I hope you're just being naieve. The internet is not a free distribution system. You've got all the site development costs, hardware and server costs, bandwidth and maintenance. Never mind DRM, licencing and some money aside for the inevitable lawsuit .

Although I'll admit it's a *lot* lower than CD's in the long run, in those opening months and years a website can be very expensive, especially without a "big break" and nailing a hugely popular artist. And I'm sure I don't have to tell you that Internet Celebrity != real celebrity. Good luck getting the music out on the radio waves and on the telly.

All this and you have to consider that the return per album will probably be much LOWER for artists online. Apple has set the bar at 99p per song, loaded with DRM. So you'll *have* to undercut that to go anywhere. We know in America it can go for 99c so that's 50p over here (it certainly was at one point) so Apple can go as low as 50p per track if you got into a price war. So you'd sell each track at... what... 40p? (assuming 50p is the lowest Apple can go, which I doubt) You're going to need most of that to pay for the server, bandwidth, licence and user support so the artist will probably only still see 10%, but now that's a pathetic 4 pence!

It's a lovely idea, that this whole internet thing is free and easy, but as soon as you look at it from a realistic point-of-view, it's worrying just how much money you need.

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Tom
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Completely wrong as usual

'there are thousands of talent-spotters slightly better at our algorithms dedicated to finding it'

Apart from the unknown language its completely wrong. The talent-spotters dont spot talent they spot rising trends. The audience spots talent and turns up to watch and listen. The music industry then parasitises these trends.

@anonymousecoward 'Its all a swizz'. Its not its blatant theft! Apple threatened to close down Itunes when the record industry wanted to raise its cut of their 79p a track from 9p to 12p.

If you it costs you more than 5p to distribute an MP3 and charge for it then you really are in the wrong business - unless you're a monopoly of sorts.

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Magnatune

Some decent stuff on there, under CC licenses, with the option to buy media from the artists.

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Stop

market failure

The music business still get paid for the music you listen to when you go shopping. It's just that they are not so daft as to imagine they can charge shoppers for entry to browse a grocery or clothes shop for music played there to create the ambience the store owners think will increase sales. It's also not as if someone who plays music in a public place and profits from this can hide it, so the obvious market solution was that people doing this had to pay for a license. This is also simpler because it charges the smaller number of people at the mall who are there to make money for the music they play there, not the larger number who are there to go shopping.

Making music distributed over the Net similarly transparent and chargeable to commercial beneficiaries requires that this be made legal. You really can't have one without the other. It isn't as if it's not obvious how ISPs who advertise "enough capacity to download 2000 songs a week" in respect of a particular broadband product to their customers make their money.

Some of the sales of backup media also goes to backup my computer data and operating systems freely made available etc, which has nothing to do with music. But I wouldn't mind paying a mark up considered politically realistic so long as there is no taxation of this kind for the benefit of the lovies without proper political representation. But it's crazy to try to intimidate and prosecute people who share their favorite songs for no personal financial gain when the rights owners should be able to go after those who are making money out of the means of distributing the music, just as they can at a mall. Everyone pays in the end, but through a small markup on products sold at the mall, or on blank media or broadband connections. But to do this they need the transparency that comes with the legality which the music business won't agree to without something in return.

This is a classic case of market failure, where current law gets in the way of a market and where government will have to sort the market out. It's not as if copyright is a natural as opposed to a limited and politically granted right and in this case it won't be just the failed media business telling government what it must do. Surprise, surprise, it seems there are limits to how far voters will put up with politicians cosying up to publishers, music and movie megastars and delivering us on the menu before we vote to distinguish those who do and don't give a damn about our interests in this matter and if you need proof see:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirate_Party#Political_impact

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@Richard Kay: you fail

From the link you posted:

"The Pirate Party captured 34,918 votes in the Swedish general election of 2006 ... 0.63% of the overall votes"

No, that's was a huge fail. The Pirate Party missed their target, 1%, which would have qualified for state assistance. So voters smacked the Freetards good, and no one ever heard from them again. (The press clippings dry up in early 2007).

So it proves the opposite of what you claim. The public isn't interested in Freetards, either. Not even Freetards bankrolled by fascists:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/05/07/pirate_bay_accepted_right_wing_money/

The voters have no lurve for the record biz, but if you think people want to abolish or weaken copyright you're living in a sad deluded world. With some well dodgy friends for company.

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Thumb Up

@Hmmmm

Jamendo is similar to Magnatunes, and does pretty much what you're suggesting. All nice and free, lots of it CC...you can even get the music via P2P, if anyone seeds it.

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Thumb Up

How to destroy the music business? No, just the record companies.

The Internet is very scary to record companies, just like tape recorders were in the 70's. What record companies have either failed to figure out, or know and are really hoping we haven't noticed, is that there are two sets of monies associated with every sale. A physical element and a copyright element. The record companies used to love format changes. LP's, 8-tracks, cassettes, CD's and now music-DVDs that they can to sell to us the albums we already have, all over again.

A large chunk of us would buy the album and record it onto cassette so we could listen to it in the car. Was it really theft? I owned a licence to listen to the music, and I owned a bit of plastic, and the record companies tied this together so well we had no choice but to go with them, and be turned into pirates because our cassette recording process was better than theirs (Metal tapes, 1:1 speed, etc).

Now, when I buy a bit of software I am allowed to make a certain number of backup copies, I can usually get hold of the software again if I lose the installer. I have paid for a license to use the software, and the media it came on is pretty much irrelevant, other than a useful bit of anti-piracy hardware.

Having spoken to Pete Jenner in the past (and he does have a pretty good track record, so don't assume he is the dummy portrayed in the article), he does understand the music industry far better than the writer of the article. The record companies are but the tip of the iceberg. Many bands don't actually make any money from record sales, not least because they get tricked into accepting large advances and everything they do from then on has some sort of record company charge associated with it, stuff that the band assume the record is paying for, but in fact is being rebilled.

So many bands try to make money from touring. This used to be a good little earner in the 80's, when bands could spend 2 months touring the UK, going to places that have long since been turned into bingo halls. The big bands (Stones, Floyd, etc) make a lot of money out of it, and the Brits do it best. Our concert touring and theatre industry is the best in the world. ALL (yes I mean all. Why do you think there are so many trucks parked outside the back door of the venue?) that stuff you see at concerts will be in the back of a truck by the end of the night, and in most cases, being set up somewhere else the next morning.

Looking at this from a marketing point of view, if a band's USP is its live performances, you release your songs for free on the Internet, build up a fan base (if you are good enough, of course) and make money by playing live. You can't get the same live vibe from an mp3 or an mpeg4, or even a 70mm cinema screen, so it can't get pirated.

Oh wait, this means only talented musicians will make it. Can't have that. It would be the little boy pointing at the Emperor's new clothes all over again...

No Billy Bragg icon? Sorry Pete!

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Re: It's a swizz.

"Internet distribution is one thing but the current non-internet model is flawed anyway.

I know that I can buy certain CDs for £8.99 on line and £9.99 in some shops. Why are other shops charging £11.99 or £13.99 for the same album?

The reason they give is that it costs that amount for distribution. Which is absolute hogswash.

Last I heard, the guys who wrote and played on the album are lucky to get 10% of the total which is paid for the album. So maybe 90p/£1.

...but all these "distribution" costs are annihilated as soon as we start to talk about downloads.

It's painfully obvious that most of the cost of the CDs in the shops are these "distribution costs" ie. money that is not going to the creative talent behind the music. Why would the record companies want to change that? If they're getting £10 minus £1 for the musicians and minus even £4 for shipping and overheads then they're making six times as much as the artists are!

"

A couple of things you forgot..

1) The retailer has costs (or do you think they get their staff, heating, lighting, fittings etc for free?).

2) If you look at the economics of our music industry, very few bands actually make money (well, compared to the 10s of thousands that exists). The way it should work is that the money from the 100 or so succesful bands a major label might have pays for the costs of the 1,000 or so that aren't succesful. This is basic economics.

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Unhappy

re: Re: I've been seduced myself

No, all i'm saying is that it's not going to be as simple as pay one license fee and you'll get away with downloading whatever you want. As soon as that happens the floodgates will open on everyone wanting a "share"...which I guess is "stating the Bleeding Obvious". it isn't simple' it won't get simple; it won't ever get "free" just because people wish it so.

Sorry, not making myself clear. I need some lie down time.

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: How to destroy the music business? No, just the record companies.

Try again, Marco.

Musicians can always make money from T-shirts and playing live, and as far as I know, no one plans to take that away. What the article discusses is two ways of paying for sound recordings that are being shared. Pete's got one way, Playlouder is another.

You don't seem to have an answer to that. It's worth starting to think about.

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Stop

@Paul M

Paul, you clearly don't begin to understand the effect of political parties which campaign on single issues upon the policy selection process of multi-issue political candidates that want to win elections and need a few hundred votes to win a marginal seat. If you had read the article a bit more carefully then you'd have noticed the general purpose political parties shifting substantially on the file sharing issue in Sweden as a consequence of the very limited activities of the Pirate party, in order to win the votes of those who will vote on file sharing alone who probably otherwise would be unlikely to vote at all.

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Re: How to destroy the music business? No, just the record companies.

"Oh wait, this means only talented musicians will make it. Can't have that. It would be the little boy pointing at the Emperor's new clothes all over again..."

Spoken like a true Freetard. Are you actually so stupid as to believe that the only musicians with talent are the ones who constantly tour? There are a lot, yes a LOT, of musicians who don't want to tour. They have families they don't want to leave for months at a time, or they don't want to live their lives on a tour bus, or whatever other reason. It doesn't mean they aren't talented musicians.

Simply put, if you enjoy their music so much, especially so much that you want to go see them perform it live, why shouldn't you compensate them for the ability to listen to it in perpetuity (on CD, MP3, FLAC, whatever)?

As for music subscription services, I'll pass. If I hear something I like, I'll buy the CD. For one reason, I can play it wherever I want to; for another, I don't need to continue paying a subscription fee until the end of time in order to continue listening to it. Subscription services are only good for people who 1) only care about what's trendy today, 2) only use music to pass the time (and don't particularly care what's playing), and 3) companies who want it as background noise; and, of course, the labels who see it as a cash cow until the end of time.

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@Richard Kay: you fail again

Blah blah: I understand that the Freetard party got no votes.

Come back when you've "internalized" that fact - as our American friends say.

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Pirate

Aaaar....

....there be enough Pirates alreadeeee!

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Paris Hilton

@ Christopher Martin

The iTunes store has a system that allows one to see which tracks of an album are most appealing to their customers. That's not to say that you or I would agree with them, but it is an indicator (or filter if you prefer). One could refer to the iTunes store, for instance, and then download from some other source if the DRM is a burden.

Just a suggestion, of course. And I know the selection is limited, but it is growing.

Paris, since she knows what she likes.

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Anonymous Coward

@Stuart Castle

"The way it should work is that the money from the 100 or so succesful bands a major label might have pays for the costs of the 1,000 or so that aren't succesful. This is basic economics."

And I suppose you wave the hammer and sickle with pride.

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@Andrew Orlowski

I don't know where all you freetards out there get the idea that all bands make money from touring. It might be true for the big bands (even Pink Floyd lost money on their tour for The Wall) but most small bands do not - the venue, PA, sound engineer and fuel costs all take money out of what they can get on the door and the £10 tshirts.

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Stop

@Paul M

Paul, the Swedish Pirate Party didn't need many votes to get other parties to adopt their policies.

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Anonymous Coward

I don't really see what is wrong with the current system

To be honest.

OK, there are flaws, but they are mainly that music costs too much, much of the music available is rubbish, there are too many people wanting a cut and it is easy to pirate.

Consumer's want cheap, quality products.

Producers want to make as much money as possible.

Artists want drugs and loose women.

Prices have already reduced. Back in the 90s a CD was £12 and singles were at least £1 (I stopped buying singles well before then). Now a CD is around £8, singles are 79p. Adjust this for inflation and effectively music is much cheaper than it has ever been.

Mainstream music will always follow the trends of the day. Record buying teenagers (who drive the sales) will buy what their friends buy, because their friends buy it and to do otherwise would make them "different", which is bad mmmmmmKay?

True Indie music will be niche. By definition.

The music business is too lucrative for huge swathes of it to just bow out, and even if they did does anyone really think prices will come down?

Piracy will always exist to some degree. It may be easier now but look at things like Coldplay's free album. Freetards still pirated it. But to be fair to all sides, many if not most of the illegal downloads would never have been legitimate sales anyway.

The record companies are making shed loads of cash. Popular artists are making shed loads of cash. Consumers are buying shed loads of music.

It is possible that recorded music could be used as a loss leader for touring / merchandise but I am not really sure about that. It seems to be too much of a paradigm shift from the traditional business of touring etc. loss leading for record sales. I would like to see figures on how much touring would need to be done and how much tickets would need to cost first.

It seems the whole music environment is currently working OK, and that the only people who really want to change things are those who want a bigger slice of the pie.

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What title?

The problem is not the business model you adopt. The problem is the natural propensity of people to thieve, to get something for nothing. If there were a flat tax, an AMC, people would still find a way of dodging it: just ask the BBC. and as for the voluntary thing, well, we have one. they're called shops, and everybody is free to go in and buy music. There is also an online version: iTunes, and others whose names I can't remember. The voluntary business model is there (it's crap, but it would improve if more people started showing interest), but no one uses it 'cos the free model works very well. At the moment, for those prepared to do a little more work, it works much, much better than the voluntary model, AND it doesn't have DRM. Win-Win for the freetards.

The "free" model does have its costs: mainly in time. time taken to find the torrent, check it out, weed out the dross and the unwanted dog/duck pr0n or whatever.

The voluntary model will have to compensate for this extra effort the freetards make. i.e people will have to be prepared to pay for the convenience offered by the online shops.

As for the AMC. Well, the license model works for the BBC which is one entity. It takes the cash and spends it. it doesn't try and calculate/guess which actor/producer/cameraman deserves the most cash, it spends it where it sees fit on making telly. (whether you like it or not, and whether they spend it well is outside the scope of this comment). The agencies which nowadays collect the cash and divvy it up amongst artists according to some criteria of who has earned most are all very well for a small part of the revenue. It's just a bonus or something, each year (or whatever) the artist gets a few quid for having their song played a few times on radio one. Most of their cash will come from performing/record and tshirt sales and so on. If a larger part of their cash depended on the divvying-up algorithm, there would be little incentive to work extra hard: everyone would know exactly how much cash was available in total, and more or less how it would be spread around. We would simply get talentless gits who could game the new system better than anyone else.

I do think that most people would prefer a physical object to a downloaded one. If that physical object were sufficiently cheap, say a couple/few quid for a CD, then most of the people who download music would simply buy the stuff, and rip it for their iPods and so on, keeping the original as a backup. And so the online stores should go the same way: say a couple of quid for a lossless, DRMless encoding of an album complete with cover art and so on for those who want it, then I think more people would sign up. It would HAVE to be cheap, though. It would have to be easy to use, have lots of choice and bandwidth, etc.,.

Unfortunately I don't have a better option to offer :(

Dave

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Paris Hilton

One thing people forget

While you're jumping up and down, and being indignant.. because of the way the "music industry" (bleh) is run, even big name bands make more from touring and merch than record sales. Releasing music and making it available under this scheme, or even for free, can be regarded as promotional. If it means you can add a few dates to a mostly sellout tour, it's gonna be worth it- go look at the pitiful numbers for music sales these days, and then consider the record company cut.

Of course, then we have a new form of middleman to consider, ticket agencies- who charge a massive booking fee- and sometimes it seems a booking booking fee, a booking fee surcharge, a "cos we're worth it" fee and anything else they can levy without actually adding any value. Never any shortage of reptiles. However, at least the bands get some money, as people need them to turn up and do a good job on the night.

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Unhappy

Musicians can always make money from T-shirts

> Musicians can always make money from T-shirts and playing live,

> and as far as I know, no one plans to take that away.

Unfortunately, they do want to take that away:

"Time was when bands would supplement their income from selling

merchandise. Now, though, greedy venues want their share of the proceeds

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/musicblog/2008/jun/11/costoftouring

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@Chris C

"They have families they don't want to leave for months at a time, or they don't want to live their lives on a tour bus, or whatever other reason. It doesn't mean they aren't talented musicians."

So? I have a job that means I cannot be around my family. When work requires I go away, I must go. When it comes to getting a job, I do not go where I would have to spend more time away and this means I have fewer options on what job I can do and how much money I can make from it. In fact, I can find myself with no suitable work at all because I refuse to move house.

So when can I get government help to have a job supplied to me that pays as well as the one I want but doesn't require me to move home to do it?

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Happy

@lee - Artists want drugs and loose women

heck, I would be happy with just half of that.

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Stop

Tax

Rights transfer. Punitively, and in perpetuity.

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Flame

5 Reasons for FAILURE

Whatever model for selling music is adopted, in whatever guise you present it, it is destined to fail for any one of the following reasons:

1. Greed

2. Greed

3. Greed

4. Greed

5. Greed

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Flame

5 REAL reasons for FAILURE

1. Hans wants music, but he doesn't want to pay for it

2. Hans wants music, but he doesn't want to pay for it

3. Hans wants music, but he doesn't want to pay for it

4. Hans wants music, but he doesn't want to pay for it

5. Hans wants music, but he doesn't want to pay for it

"destined to fail" eh, Hans?

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The Party's Over

@Richard Key:

"Paul, the Swedish Pirate Party didn't need many votes to get other parties to adopt their policies."

None of the parties adopted the PP's policies, like reduce copyright term to five years. The Pirate Party was a complete failure all round.

Get over it.

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Pirate

How to revive the corpse...

1. Make ATM like Automat CD Audio dispensers -- connected to the Net with big pipes, so you could choose your twang from a menu and it would get it from a central archive (lossless if you pay more, lossy for a few cents a song) wrap it up in industry grade packaging, and get it charged on your VIsa (but please insure the better part of the payment DOES get to the Creator/Performer);

2. Have the Internet surveyed by an independent artist supported agency in order to determine what is getting (mostly) downloaded and share royalties collected accordingly;

3. Put out a special 0.1% levy on the profits of every media related operation and add that to the (fair) royalties fund;

4. Police the collection agencies to ensure they are collecting for the artists, not for the industry.

You'll have a flourishing industry in no time...

The Joly Roger -- you know why.

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What?

I'm not really sure what I've just read. The music business is thriving. Perhaps you are only talking about the record (content) business. This, it is true, is going through some drastic changes. It is time for the industry to become customer facing. The consumers have been empowered by the internet. The consumer is king. They do what is best for them. Record labels and copyright holders don't have a God given right to make profit. If the environment changes they have to adapt or become extinct. Natures law. A blanket license would be great. Of course the governments should intervene as the large copyright holders can't sort it out between themselves, as they have now proven. Free markets have their pitfalls too even if we don't like to admit it. Maybe the majors should go cap in hand for a billion dollar bail out and with continue their uninnovative and narrow mind sets. A content tax on ISP & MSP fees, to create a pool of money for recorded music, would sort it once and for all and then we could all get on with our lives.

Time for the labels to think outside of the box. They have to realise that the game has changed for ever. As far back as 1985 business strategy guru Micheal Porter suggested that the information revolution would create new linkages across previously unrelated industries and in the extreme cases cause a redefinition of certain industries. The record industry is one of them. Apple have beaten everyone to it long long ago when labels were squabbling with their customers in the courts. They brought out the iPod and iTunes. iPods rely on illegally downloaded music for sales but just in case they provided iTunes as a smoke screen which also happens to make them a decent profit for virtually nothing. They also started investing heavily into ISP's and developed the new iPod replacement the iPhone. They realised that there was no money left in recorded music copyright owning from a consumer sales orientated perspective and then duly placed themselves at all points on the value chain where there was a profit to be made. Now they are kings. This related diversification strategy has been proven genius. Perhaps if the majors hadn't squandered their capital reserves on court cases against 8 year olds and had instead also invested heavily in the content delivery value chain they would not be in the situation they are in. Now it is too late perhaps, so the only thing for it is to change to a 360 strategy and accept that content development is a necessary evil marketing cost, unless of course a change of heart leads to the acceptance of the ISP tax blanket license.

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