I'm amused by anyone from FAST complaining about the creation of quangos, particularly in the area of copyright protection.
failed business models – if you look at the computer games industry, where FAST started most of it’s activity back in the 80s, it appears that rather than embracing new models, what we’ve actually seen is largely a flight to the DRM protected console gaming system, or online gaming (aka locking the software up on a server) - although there is obviously still enough money around to sustain a small DRM-free computer games sector, it’s peanuts compared to the closed one.
He’s also deliberately ignoring the fact that the music industry does offer things like site licensing (PRS) and other models other than the direct purchase one – it’s just that they’re focused more on the broadcast and public performance areas – but that is pretty much the same distinction as exists between domestic and business software purchasing.
I do agree with the overall point though – the idea of a flat fee/digital tax for music looks appealing as a relatively small tax can drive as large an income as the existing industry, but this becomes less true as you extend it to cover video, books, software, etc – until we end up effectively nationalising the entire ‘software’ (in it’s widest sense) industry.
(Then again I’m reasonably happy with what I get for my TV licence compared to what I’ve seen of TV and radio in other countries . . . )
But at the end of the day, there needs to be some money going into the system, and wibbling about ‘failed business models’ and ‘new business models’ strikes me as a load of cant, unless you can actually propose concrete solutions - along with a clear picture of their consequences. It’s clear that the status quo is not working, but it’s also clear that the outcomes of new business models (ahem) will be different.
For instance, we could create a situation that favours a large number of live cover bands, or one which is actually worse for original musicans/songwriters - i.e. if recording / authorship is purely a promotional cost, then whoever funds recording and marketing will have potentially more power than today’s record companies - the power of labels and publishing companies over authors, etc, comes from their control over capital.