Not standing up in court is the whole point to this article. It doesn't matter if it doesn't stand up in court....no one wants to get that far. So instead, we threaten to sue you unless you pay us a penny for each thing you do. Too little to bother fighting, so just pay it away.
And they don't have to actually take you to court. Just partner up with other service providers that agree to deny you services as long as you have outstanding liens.
"Go get another provider" you say? But there aren't any others. All competition has been M&A'ed.
It would be interesting to see how the numbers in the stylus project would change if there was the added incentive of "initial investor" added to it. That is, as the product sells, a portion of the profitability is given to the initial investors exponentially relative to their initial investment. If the product sells gangbusters and you invested $50, you stand to get a Very Healthy Profit whereas if you invested $1 you'd end up with a nice dinner paid for.
This additional variable may be enough to take away the concerns that Mike has for the "pay what you want" scheme. It is an opportunity to get a product for "cheap", balanced with the opportunity with reaping rewards for a larger initial payment.
Okay, so we agree that piracy is wrong...as I've said in other replies on this article. We disagree that we agree, as you continue to say that I support piracy, which I do not (nor does Mike, BTW).
However, you still have not given me any facts. You have not given me information about how playing within the label's rules (which I'm assuming you have done based on your stance in all these replies, but since you haven't actually provided any information on this topic the assumption is all I have to go on) has been beneficial to you, and/or measurements on how "piracy" has affected you.
I wasn't saying that indie labels do consider their customers criminals. I said that if the indie labels will be the saviours then they will not behave that way, the way that the big labels have been. However, there have been a few indie label execs interviewed in the media, at conferences and highlighted here who have certainly made comments that parallel the big labels.
Second, I completely agree that piracy is wrong and stand with you on that point. However I do not believe that enforcement should include the overreaching powers that we've seen in the past few years w.r.t. border searches, domain seizures and laws that limit consumers' rights to use their lawfully purchased items in ways that do not harm others.
Third, if you think that everyone that samples music is a "free-loading leecher" then you are blatantly smearing a good portion of your current and future customer base. The content is in digital form and the technology is only going to evolve in its ease of use, capacity and access to gobs more content.
As stated MANY times in this thread and throughout the stories on this site, give these "leechers" (a.k.a. potential customers) a reason to buy and a good portion will. These leechers (what we in the s/w, financial services, insurance and other industries call "qualified leads") are today's radio listeners, though (a) they don't have to put up with the ads and annoying DJs, and (b) your record labels don't have to break the law trying to get your materials marketed to the "leechers".
These leads will not buy copies of the content that is in digital form, because it makes no economic sense without something else of value added to it. If you disagree with this fundamental economic point, then you plainly are rejecting reason.
Interesting. So you are saying that you, someone well cultured in the routine of "the music business", is having difficulties adjusting to the new ecosystem? That when presented with well reasoned arguments about change, you lash back claiming that it cannot work and essentially point to the 50+ year industry to explain why?
Tell me, as a seasoned musician, how many members of your audience today are there because they bought a copy of your latest CD at a CD store or iTunes? And how many made that purchase because of the marketing clout of your label?
And then tell me how many of those people are there because they discovered your music via social networks, blogs, youtube and their ability to sample your music before buying that concert ticket or showing up to that club?
Oh, and since you have the goods on the inside track: can you share with us your breakdown (rough numbers is fine) on your revenues of published music vs performance vs other revenue streams? Feel free to compare the current breakdown with those of prior to, say, the year 2000 so we are clear as to how this rampant piracy has had such a negative impact on your personal experience in the music industry.
Yes, I am just a software developer (well, that's what you claim to know). But somehow I don't see that this fact is at all relevant to my ability to think through these issues and provide critique from what information I do have. I'm happy to be corrected in my understanding of the facts, but to date you haven't provided me much more information to go on beside "trust me, I know." So, what is it you know?
If indie labels are the salvation of the recording industry, then they will achieve business models that do not involve treating their CUSTOMERS as criminals. They will find ways to encourage those, who recognize that the content itself has a cost of $0.00 to reproduce, to pay money towards the label and the artist for other associated, tangible reasons.
Only then will the "recording industry" survive, short of invoking the government to smash down hard on the rights of citizens and placing economic and innovation burdens on other industries.
And the industry continue to propagate (and protect) the historical, mythical ideology that getting signed and published by a label is the only way to "make it" in the music world. I blame artists for not really taking a look at the economics of their world with anything other than the back-facing lenses that the recording industry provides them.
To be clear, as has been said on this site a large number of times: we are NOT advocating piracy. We are advocating that artists (and the industry as a whole) make economically sound choices, that they reason through their business models with a view of how the world is and where the current (and obvious) trends are headed, and adjust accordingly.
To argue that they shouldn't have to is silly. Every single industry ever adjusts. Coal miners today work very differently than they did 100 years ago. IBM is a very different company than it was 20 years ago. The environment and the economy changes with time. Why does the content industry not accept this and adjust? And no they haven't: putting out DVDs instead of 8-tracks is one-dimensional adjustment in a multi-variable reality.
In addition to needing a citation, realize that many in the industry continue to follow the failing routines because...it is routine. I bet there were students learning the trades of buggy whip making/marketing/sales and telephone operations at the time that those industries collapse.
This issue is, for the most part, the type of things that drive the trolls around here nuts. "But it has always been this way" (which is essentially what you are arguing) is the non-thinking man's argument. Why does it need to stay that way? Why is an industry's choice of business model dictate the paths of progress?
No rights are being violated when I download a song from the internet. So why are they getting my government to slap on taxes, search my stuffs, go after those I associate with, taking away my ability to "own", blocking my access to interacting directly with artists I want to, dictating how/when/where I can appreciate information that costs nothing to reproduce and is taking nothing away by my having a copy of?
It is not priced at $0, though the market is obviously indicating that it should be. Since it costs NOTHING to produce the copy that I want to get a hold of, a price of $0 is economically correct.
It is the business model that is broken. It is people doing work for FREE and then looking to get paid money for access to something that costs NOTHING to deliver. It is something like painting your house and then knocking on the door and asking to get paid.
If they changed their model they would either: (a) get PAID before doing the work and give the results away for free, or (b) give the results away for free and get PAID for other tangible, non-zero cost works that they associated with the free stuff.
And, in fact, most recorded music artists currently follow path (b). It is just that the masters they work for, who "discover" them, are having their middleman roles eliminated. So the artist believes that they themselves are being harmed, when in reality the $3 monthly royalty checks (after loan paybacks and marketing costs and discovery-referral fees and ...) were never worth the trouble. The majority of music artists make their money from OTHER SOURCES such as touring and private gigs. Now they could be focusing exclusively on the profitable portion of their daily work routine, rather than the part that the record industry has them believing might be massively profitable one day if you hit the lottery and we decide to back you and you don't realize how much of that lottery we are holding back from you....but in reality the vast majority will not hit the lottery and not make a profit catering to the industry's will.
So, if they aren't performing a useful function, but are still being paid big dollars . . . are they contributing to the economy?
Contributing to the economy? Well, they are a part of the economy. But they are no longer an efficient part. So the economy would grow better/faster if they moved to doing something more efficient.
Is a 419 Scammer contributing to the economy? They are causing money to move. They then spend that money to buy things, employing people. Does that justify their (inefficient) contribution?
No, I am not saying that the employees in the recording industry are scam artists. But they are performing a job that is no longer necessary and thus inefficient. And they are wasting huge resources (money and attention) trying to fight an almost certainly lost battle in getting the government to use the force of law to protect those unnecessary jobs.
AND I am not saying that the industry itself is unnecessary. The base services they offer artists are still completely viable and a potentially great way to become relevant and efficient again. However the industry needs to recognize this, realize that this new function might not be as profitable as their old function was, and so need to adapt.
Or, they can continue wasting resources awaiting their demise.
Musicians used to be paid when they sold albums. They aren't getting paid anymore.
Uh, no. Musicians used to be given an advance (read: loan) to create the album and hand over the copyright to the recording company. The recording company then charged the musicians for the privilege of recording (studio & production costs) and then for the promotion of that album. For each sale of a disk/tape, the artist made a very small amount of money ($0.10-$0.25), which was put against the "advance" until it was paid off.
In the event that an album did not rub enough dimes together to pay back the "advance", the artist was on the hook for the rest.
So musicians only got paid when their album made enough money to cover the reap HUGE profits for the recording company. Anything less left the artist indebted to that company.
Let's be clear here. The attempt to stop piracy is substantially less than 10% about the artists. It is 90%+ about protecting the business model of the middleman that have exploited those artists for 100+ years.
And as Techdirt (and many others) have pointed out for years: many, many more artists will do better under a model of unhindered distribution of their primary marketing materials.
Please, recognize the difference between value and price.
People may not be willing to pay money for it (price of $0), but they value it or they wouldn't go out of their way to get it and to buy the equipment to play it, and to spend time listening to it (which is a form of payment), and to look into ways to appreciate it more like attending live performances, buying physical, related merchandise, etc.