(From a discussion on usenet)
Skip this if you don’t want to be bored. But if you think the CD as the medium of distribution for music might soon be obsolete…
Actually, your point is well taken. I have often thought and said that I wish some days that the copyright-holders get exactly what they wish for. Because it would kill them off more quickly. What I believe is happening is that copyright holders want it both ways. They want to benefit from widespread exposure. Then they want to assert the right to not expose their work.
I firmly believe that if the government had required Microsoft to put effective copy protection on all of their products, we wouldn’t have the monopoly we have now. And I firmly believe Microsoft knew that, and that is why, when Word Perfect, for example, removed copy protection from their product, Microsoft almost immediately did the same. It is therefore hypocritical of Microsoft to demand protection from competition, by asserting their copyright. Compete!
And, in fact, you can easily see that Microsoft has been very circumspect on this issue. They know dimly what Google understands completely: there’s a lot of money to be made in giving away your product.
As for music, copyright holders want their music exposed, on radio and tv, in promotional tie-ins, scandalous newspapers, etc., etc. If you truly believe that Ashley Simpson gets her face on my local entertainment section because even a Kitchener, Ontario newspaper believes she is so talented she deserves it, God bless you, but I don’t. She is there because her corporate Svengalis want her “exposed”. They want you to see her face. They have established a very sophisticated and effective system of promotion that ensures that her face will be on magazine covers. They will also want you to hear her music– why else would you buy her CD? Most commercial radio stations only play music by artists they believe will obtain wide exposure through tv and magazines. One hand washing the other. They all profit by selling advertising, not music.
Since I have no intention of spending one red cent on Ashley Simpson products, I would have no problem with her corporate Svengalis being absolutely, totally successful in preventing me from being exposed to her music, her face, or her tantrums, without having paid for permission. Go to it! Please– be absolutely successful. Prevent her music from ever being downloaded to my computer, or played on my radio station, or her face from being on my tv, or in my local newspaper, unless I actually offer you money for it.
I have absolutely no problem with finding my music by reading reviews or hearing personal recommendations from people I know instead. I also like to support local talent.
But that, of course, does not happen. And up until recently, this system worked to the advantage of the big corporations, who could control access to the actual product, the CD. Now the corporations have lost control over the actual product, so the system is becoming unbalanced. But only if you believe that for the rest of all time, we must all consume music by purchasing a discrete material product, and music companies must only profit through the sale of that physical product.
That model has been made obsolete by technology and the music industry (and Hollywood and television) are crying the blues and they refuse to accept it. They are the carriage-makers of our era. They deserve to go out of business because they have failed to adjust to changing market realities. In retrospect, does anybody doubt that if the music companies had moved aggressively to make their entire catalogues available as paid downloads in a high quality format that they would not have made a killing? It took Apple to show them it could be done. But it might well be too late. As with prohibition, individual transgression has been replaced with a transgressive infrastructure that will not be easily suppressed.
Google, iTunes, eBay, and Amazon, and even Microsoft, are the new emblems of astute corporations that understand where the market is going and what it wants. All this wailing and gnashing of teeth is misplaced. The music industry should sit down together, face the fact that the old model of business practice is now obsolete, and move on to something new, or join the other dinosaurs in the museum.
Congress, despicably, in exchange for ready election campaign cash, is doing everything it can to keep an obsolete business model afloat– this from alleged believers in a “free market” (“free” for everyone else). It’s like requiring train companies to keep stokers employed. Or more like when a city in Bolivia tried to make it illegal to save rain water in order to help a private American company make a bigger profit with it’s monopoly on the water supply.
The museum is full of creatures that failed to adapt.
Finally, I absolutely believe that a very profitable music business model can survive downloading. How does Google make money?
The difference is, the Recording industry will have to work hard and use their brains. That might be asking too much….
A recent documentary film producer was asked to pay $10,000 for the rights to use a six-second cell-phone ring tone that was derived from the theme from ROCKY (Gonna Fly Now). Tragically, he couldn’t afford a team of lawyers, so he had to pay a negotiated amount less than that, even though he was not convinced that he had to pay, legally, for it’s use in a documentary.
That is not really farce anymore: it’s tragedy.