Dear Jim Griffin: Let's Have An Open Discussion About Choruss
from the we're-waiting... dept
I certainly hope that's true!
The points I've raised are that the industry will continue suing file sharing networks, that they'll still pursue three-strikes policies, and that Choruss will be expensive, diverting a chunk of money away from other legitimate business models, which many musicians have been establishing successfully, by adding yet another middleman. Is he saying all of these assertions are false?
Actually, Griffin doesn't address or refute any of these points at all. With respect to the last one, he actually confirms it, by claiming that Choruss will be costly to run.
The only "factual" point he disputes is a rather minor one: concerning whether the program would also cover publishers and songwriters rather than just the labels. He insists that it will, noting that Warner Music owns one of the largest publishers. That's true, but hardly eases the worries. It just suggests, again, that this is a plan for Warner and its subsidiaries, rather than for building a better system for all stakeholders. And he doesn't explain how the system can cover the necessary rights at the price points being discussed. In fact, by noting how costly the program is to run, and how it will lose money at first, it certainly sounds like he's saying "this program will start out cheap, but then we'll jack up the fees."
He claims that Choruss "cannot credibly be claimed to be a money grab -- the costs will exceed the fees," but that's highly misleading on several accounts. First, as noted, it confirms just how expensive the program will be. Second, if it's a pure money loser, than why would anyone be involved with it at all? Obviously the idea, and the whole reason why Warner Music is backing it, is that it expects this to be a money maker, eventually. Claiming that it's costly simply confirms my original point, that inserting yet another costly middleman is the last thing that we need in the process. And this just suggests that any early pricing is, once again... bait and switch. The eventual prices will have to be increased once people are locked in.
That seems to confirm my initial complaints, rather than show how they're "factually incorrect."
Mr. Griffin, (on a private email list), again tries to refute the claim that they haven't included the stakeholders in the process, by noting:
"the calendar is a clear refutation: The coming week has Choruss at SXSW, a music conference in Nashville and the music educator's conference in Boston. We've done appearances and podcasts with Educause, dozens of public meetings at colleges and a keynote at Digital Music Forum."Yes, after coming up with the plan in back rooms, without input from the actual stakeholders, Griffin has started going out and presenting the plan to others. But there's been no open discussion with those of us worried about the inevitable consequences of his plan. There's been no explanation of why this is actually needed. There's been no attempt to actually respond to the numerous questions that we've raised about the plan and no attempt to bring the actual users into the discussion:
- Why do we even need such a plan when plenty of musicians are showing that they can craft business models on the open market that work?
- How does adding yet another middleman make the music market any more efficient?
- Will the recording industry promise to stop trying to shut down file sharing systems if this program gets adopted?
- Will the recording industry promise to stop pushing for 3 strikes if this program gets adopted?
- How will the program prevent the gaming opportunities, where artists set up scripts to constantly reload/download their songs?
- Why should music be separated out and subsidized while other industries have to come up with their own business models?
- Why should those who don't listen to much music and aren't interested in giving their money to the recording industry be required to participate if their university or ISP decides to make them?
To date, his form of "discussion" has been to have Warner Music PR send me a statement saying that it's "premature" to issue any criticism of his plan. That's not discussion and that's not addressing the many, many questions raised by his plan.
But, there's some good news. That "music conference in Nashville" where he'll be presenting about Choruss next week is the Leadership Music Digital Summit... which I happen to be keynoting. So, I'd love to sit down with Griffin and see if he'll actually answer some of these questions, rather than continue brushing us off as being "factually incorrect in every respect," without actually addressing the fundamental questions raised.