USA Today Recognizes The Future Of Music

from the well,-look-at-that... dept

For years, some of us have been pointing out that the future of the music industry is fairly simple. We don’t need new laws. We don’t need to sue people. We don’t need compulsory licensing. We don’t need to change much of anything, really. All we need to do is recognize the natural progression of economics. The music, itself, since it’s a digital good has a marginal cost of zero, and your basic economics tells you that competitive pressure will eventually drive the price of that good to zero. That’s not a bad thing. As things get priced at zero they become inputs, rather than end products themselves — and that can often mean more. In the case of music, free music becomes a promotion for something else, whether it’s concerts, merchandise, or something new entirely. People often say this will never happen, but according to USA Today, it’s exactly what’s happening in China. With copying music so prevalent, artists have learned to adjust. They want their music out there, and they use that promotional aspect to sell more tickets to concerts, to get endorsements and to appear in commercials. So, despite the claims of the recording industry, there’s little evidence that all this file sharing actually hurts artists. Who it hurts, of course, are the record labels themselves, who have a history of screwing artists anyway. They set up their business model to be totally reliant on selling tangible goods with music included. As that business model drops away, they’re left scrambling. So, once again, these claims from the recording industry that they’re only suing everyone to help artists is hogwash. They’re simply trying to protect an increasingly obsolete business model.


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Comments on “USA Today Recognizes The Future Of Music”

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14 Comments
slappy illtemperedmantis says:

cost? I see something emerging

if the music as a digital good has a marginal cost of zero, then the money spent by record companies on cases, sleeves, art, marketing, etc. can all be paid to the artist; right? If they charge, say, $1.35 (bleep.com pricing) per song, then all of that can be paid to the artist. Well, less the cost of hosting the website, and the webmaster’s pay, and…
who else is there to pay?

Charlie Quidnunc (user link) says:

The Future of Music

I agree with the author of this post. But I would add that the money movement has already happened. It’s moved to broadband internet connections that people use to steal music. Now we just need to follow it to its logical conclusion. And remember that in general it moves to a more efficient or otherwise better system that has less overhead.

I read this post in my podcast today to illustrate the point of economics of music. Give it a listen if you get a minute.

Trent says:

Music in China

i live in China, and i buy the music here. New albums run around US$1.20 each. The music is great, and the artists are great. Every year brings new talent. Just last year an artist (who no one had heard about at the time) relased a song on the Internet. People downloaded it, told their friends who also downloaded it, and it became nationally famous. He now appears on talk shows, music shows, and commercials.

There you have it. Music sharing destories the music industry.

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