Another Example Of How The Music Industry Can Respond To File Sharing

from the oh-look dept

For years, we’ve pointed out that if the music industry actually bothered to think about it, there are many, many different ways they could respond to file sharing that don’t involve locking up content and suing fans. Here’s yet another example. Apparently, the latest Tool album comes with a book with a stereoscopic lens that lets you view images to go with the album. In other words, it adds additional value to make buying the physical CD worthwhile that can’t be copied by any download. Obviously, not every musician should do the same thing, but the point is simply that creative artists will always figure out ways to sell something that people want to buy, rather than trying to treat all their fans like criminals. For some musicians it may be this booklet and lens, for others it may be travel services to see the band in concert, for others it could be “access” to the band. The point is simply that there are plenty of business models out there for the industry to choose from.


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Comments on “Another Example Of How The Music Industry Can Respond To File Sharing”

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48 Comments
Peter says:

Re: business models

If taken into consideration that what you have to do,be
constantly aware , protect,prevent,spam,etc etc gives
a sort of silly story, as its action,reaction,action,reaction
adware,hackers,spyware.copying, i wonder what sort
of costs are involved which in the end is paid by us
for hardware,software,services etc and i quess if you are really make the correct sums you end up at a schizofrenic
amount of money for some people who try to sneak in,
selling emailadresses etc etc.the nuisance and time and
loss of user friendliness, the distrust, and the assumption
that you ar either pro or con.If let say a movie costs 3/4/5 dollar and a record 1 dollar,than most people would
have no problem with it and the downloading and quality
quicker,easier,better.The web is was and should not be
a cash generator but is today pretty polluted.The large
number of people who pay, and don’t make copies are sitting on the sideline and no one asks them if they have perhaps an opinion about it and i only started to realise it
the last years,a few religious fanatics holds the world at ransom.not new , the last 1000 year all sorts of religiously
inspired conflicts.The people who don’t believe are never asked something and just have to accept it.and that is also a form of abuse

JerseyRich says:

What would really be cool...

….is pictures of the artist. No, not just standard studio shots, but actual intimate close-ups that we have never seen before. Then, randomize which photos go into each CD so that everyone gets different ones.

I’d be all over that next Gwen Stefani disc ๐Ÿ˜‰

Oh yeah, FIRST, baby!

Neal says:

Re: What would really be cool...

Pearl Jam did that with their No Code album. It came with inserts of a few images with the lyrics to a song on the album. It only had about 8 cards but my buddies who bought the same CD got different cards with lyrics to other songs. Granted these images were not pictures of band members (actually maybe an eye was).

Stymie says:

Nice idea, but it won't work.

First, let me say that I think that music companies going after their own customers is ridiculous. I own 1000+ CDs, but have not bought a single one in the last 5 years, not because I share files, but because I refuse to give them any more of my money.

But the reality is that the expense of producing something unique for each release would be staggering. The actual cost of mass-producing a CD is pennies, the main costs are packaging and distribution.

It’s difficult to believe that music companies would invest huge sums of money into developing creative new ideas and spending money to put the goodies into CD packages. Throw in sums spent on failed ideas and CDs that didn’t sell as planned and bonus items like this could easily drive up the production and disribution costs for CDs to 3-5x current levels.

Let’s not be silly and think that the music companies will willingly absorb these costs and risks. Of course, I don’t think that consumers would willingly pay $5-10 more for a CD with some lame toy inside that will be thrown away within a few minutes. So who’s left to bear the cost? Nobody, so it ain’t gonna happen.

It might be a good publicity stunt for a on-off item (I remember the Pink Floyd package with the red LED) to have unique packaging or stuff inside, but realistically, it’s not a “business model” that the music industry can adopt.

Personally, I favor a fixed price all-you-can-download model of some kind.

jandel1313 says:

Re: Nice idea, but it won't work.

Bullshit it’s worked for Mcdonalds happy meals since the clown first slaped a cheeseburger in a box, every week 5 new boxes & 5 new surprise toys. Now I recall when the happy meal first hit the market they cost $1.79. I dont know what they go for now, but for under 2 bucks profit was still made.

Dosquatch says:

Re: Nice idea, but it won't work.

It might be a good publicity stunt for a on-off item (I remember the Pink Floyd package with the red LED)

Special packaging is quite common if the label thinks there’s a buck in it. I have that Floyd album (Pulse, if anyone doesn’t know). I also have the ZZTop Recycler in diamondplate. I have Ozzy Live & Loud in speaker grille. I have Aerosmith Get a Grip in fuzzy cow-print.

I don’t have any delusion that every album can come out clad in special packaging, but there are any number of inexpensive things that could be tossed in the CD case that would add virtually nothing to production costs. Band stickers, free memberships to fan clubs, whatever. Mixed media CDs also offer a wealth of possibilities, like videos, “karaoke” versions of songs with flash lyrics, whatever.

The point is, being creative does not have to be expensive. Being creative with packaging sometimes is expensive, but that’s passed directly on to the few suckers willing to pop for such (like me).

Dr. Worm says:

Re: Nice idea, but it won't work.

“It’s difficult to believe that music companies would invest huge sums of money into developing creative new ideas and spending money to put the goodies into CD packages…”

Well, they do invest huge sums of money on developing the latest copy protection technology (that is always cracked within the first week), so why not invest in something that simply adds value and is incapable of being “cracked”?

Michael says:

Hell with 'em

Artists do what they do for the pure joy of it, and most would continue to produce their art, music or whatever, for free. It is only in the last few decades that musicians were well paid anyway, and most can not make a living still. It is the business types, who can not strum an axe, that insist on suing their customers. Them and a few rock stars who have forgotten their roots.

Some artists (like Prince) embrace the download thing. Others (like Metallica) do not deserve the scum from the bottom of my shoe.

jandel1313 says:

Re: Hell with 'em

Sorry for back to back post but the music industry has been a soapbox of mine for a bit. Now as far as the whole dont blame the artist BS, I sugest you actually look at all of the musicians that are RIAA members http://www.riaa.com/about/members/default.asp

And if an artisit is truely into it for the art only you would never hear their work. I say this because of radio edits. Do to censorship laws in order to enforce governmental parrenting The FCC prohibits obscene materials from being aired outside of 10p through 6a. I have tried to find out what exactly is obscene material. So far, even after reading the entire FFC website, I know for a fact that is a pierced nipple covered in metal jewelry and the F word. interestingly the F word cant be used during the “safe time zone” of 10 pm to 6 am.

Bottom line is it’s for the money get to know any musician, and ask. Except maybe for blue oyster cult. Any band touring the chicken wire clubs for 30 years has a fetish for chicken wire not $.

Mike Mixer says:

Added value

Why don’t they do what the radio stations did in the fifties? You slip a few concert tickets in a pressing
and watch the clammer. The Rock And Roll stations did this with a lot of new talent to build a following
but it seems to be a valid idea for this too. And as far as Fucktallica goes, Henry Rollins said it best,
” Bands get older and they “EVOLVE” which means their albums SUUUUCK!!!”. Leave it to Henry.

Dash says:

That’s not really that plausible. I’m sure everyone realizes what makes legally downloaded music more attractive than CD albums – convenience, accessability, and cheapness (in case you don’t want ALL the tracks in the album.) Downloading is the future of music, with our computer and iPod-bred generation, and CDs can’t stop that, and shouldn’t try. And you can’t really add more incentives to legal music downloads.

DittoBox (user link) says:

Well, not quite

[Quoted from post:] Apparently, the latest Tool album comes with a book with a stereoscopic lens that lets you view images to go with the album. In other words, it adds additional value to make buying the physical CD worthwhile that can’t be copied by any download. [End Quote]

You’re right about external content. Though funky 3d glasses won’t make me a buy CD. Sorry, but dorky 3d glasses are well…dorky.

I stopped buying iTunes because of DRM, I only bought CDs. As something of an audiophile I prefer to have lossless version that I can convert into level 9 quality OGGs (think 320kbps VBR here folks). Now that I don’t buy anything from RIAA Member Labels (we need to boycott these fools) stupid gimmicks won’t bring me back. Here’s what will:

1) Stop screwing over (royally!) 99% of your artists.

2) Stop suing fans

3) Stop assuming everyone and their mother’s a “criminal” by implenting *any* DRM

4) Make online stores that I are both internet standard friendly and implement web 2.0 features like viewing and sharing playlists, AJAX interfaces (add songs and make playlists easily, fading effects and crap if you have to), easy and painless song purchasing. Windows, UNIX and OS X compatible, working easily with Safari, IE and Gecko based browsers

5) Provide MP3s in 3 quality levels, provide OGGs in 3 quality levels, provide AACs in 3 quality levels, and provide FLACs for premium users who take extra bandwidth. That way I can convert them into whatever format without needless quality loss

6) Implement a secure and anonymous file sharing system (think bittorrent) that allows you to share your files with others who’ve recently purchased the songs you have, leave it seeding for say 10 days and get a credit to your account that makes the difference between compressed and lossless versions

Until then…you RIAA goons can kiss my sweet dollar goodbuy.

Kilroy says:

Why should they do anything???

Its one thing to say, “Make it more attractive and I’ll buy it,” its another thing to say, “Make it more attractive and I’ll buy it instead of stealing it.”

What if you said the same thing about food or clothing? You can’t just wallk out the door with a shopping cart full of goods and expect the grocery store to not press charges… AND it shouldn’t be up to the store to entice you to stop breaking the law.

Lets all face it, it was fun while it was free but it was wrong and now we have to pay for it or they will come for us and punish us…just like stealing ANYTHING else.

Dosquatch says:

Re: Why should they do anything???

You can’t just wallk out the door with a shopping cart full of goods and expect the grocery store to not press charges…

Not the same thing. More closely, say I buy a melon at the store. I go home, plant the seeds from the melon, and give away all of the melons that grow from those seeds. Is this stealing from the grocery store? Are they then within their rights to come after me for felony melon infringement?

bitch_pickel says:

Re: Re: Why should they do anything???

Well for starters the mellon is not interlectual property, ( that has had weeks spent on it’s creation ).

if you did a painting and sold it to me. i took the painting home and sat it on my wall. after awhile my mates make comments about how they could do with a painting like that.one you tell your mates they can buy one off me or 2 you could get the painting copied (much cheaper). if you elected the second option then there are now 2 copies of my painting (creative property) out there for which i have only been paied once for.

so your happy with your painting

your mates happy because he got a painting cheaper then what you did

then theres me 2 artworks out there and paid for one!

i dont know about you but if i was trying something i made and then found out people where coping and making more i wouldnt be happy about it if i’m trying to sell them.

but back on your mellon theroy

you paided for the whole mellon when you bought it correct?

and you can do what ever you want with the mellon since you own it.

so you choose not to eat the seeds and plant them, thats fine because you bought the seeds with the mellon(as a whole unit).

so iif u want to give away the mellons you payed for thats fine =)

Kilroy says:

Re: Re: Re: Why should they do anything???

Ok, fair is fair, the melon example is bad for many reasons but mainly because a melon comes with the ability to reproduce itself included within, and, when it reproduces itself you do not have the same melon, but a different one and you will have spent a good amount of your own resources to create it But enough about the bad analogy that I myself started.

The point is, I cant buy a book and make photocopies of it then distribute those copies for free…I paid for just one. I can lend the book to a friend to read, because hey, I paid for it and its mine.

But what about my ability to make a back up copy for myself? OK, I can do that too. But there is a line, perhaps very thin and hard to see by people who simply refuse to see how this is stealing, but a line no less, that separates making backup copies for yourself and making “backup” copies for everyone else then distributing it on a massive level. Just because you aren’t charging for it doesn’t make it right.

Think TV. What if a rival channel taped a hit show and rebroadcast it to the public for free? How fair would that be?

People here piss and moan about the unethical behavior of compainies, CEO’s, telecos etc, and yet have no ethics themselves. Why is it so easy to demonize a company sticking up for its rights? (insert cliche arguement about five year old that didn’t “know” it was stealing” here) The truth is, thats life. Ignorance of the law is not exemption from it.

So, I ask, why don’t people just admit its stealing and stop trying to pretend its not? I don’t care if you steal or not, I really don’t. Just stop trying to justify it by demonizing the people who stand in your way, especially the people you are stealing from.

Cutter892 says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Why should they do anything???

The thing most of use are bitching about is that the RIAA is taking away are right to make personal backups of are music through DRM, also most of the music being put out is crap. If they did two simple things remove DRM and but out better music people will be more willing to buy it.

Me personaly I only bought 3 cd’s in the last five years not because I download them but most everything out there right now is crap.

freakengine says:

Re: Re: Re: Why should they do anything???

Wow. you’ve actually succeeded in making a point, but I don’t think it was the one you intended. In your painting analogy, you’ve made money off your work, and the “copies” (essentially someone else’s work based on your own) cost you nothing. You don’t have another original to sell, as it’s a painting. Other people endeavored to copy your design, but they’ve robbed you of nothing since you’ve been paid for your work at the rate YOU decided was fair. Hmmmm.

copied message below:

if you did a painting and sold it to me. i took the painting home and sat it on my wall. after awhile my mates make comments about how they could do with a painting like that.one you tell your mates they can buy one off me or 2 you could get the painting copied (much cheaper). if you elected the second option then there are now 2 copies of my painting (creative property) out there for which i have only been paied once for.

so your happy with your painting

your mates happy because he got a painting cheaper then what you did

then theres me 2 artworks out there and paid for one!

i dont know about you but if i was trying something i made and then found out people where coping and making more i wouldnt be happy about it if i’m trying to sell them.

ilovebuster says:

They can give cds buyers VIP access to the band’s website, by issuing a number identified with each cd purchase, online or in store. The code will buy them an allotment of time to access the site possibly until the next major cd release, or two years.

Through the website they can give access to: song demos, early releases, jam sessions, extended band biography, lyric explanations, etc. As well as monthly newsletter access. All only accessible online.

It’s business . Musicians and bands need to accomodate their consumers, and deal with the fact that their music is attainable.

Matt says:

It is almost 5%

Well since I’m a college student and only make about $500 a month, $20 IS almost 5% of my income. Not everyone works full time. Think about all the hs kids that download music? who the hell wants to pay 2-2ยฝ hours worth of part-time salary to listen to some garbage cd? Not me.

Cd’s do not cost that much to produce. Why does anyone in the recording industry need to be millionares? If the executives would stop hemoraging money and paying themselves millions of dollars in salary, maybe it would only cost $8.99 for the new breaking benjamin cd.

Then I might just buy it. Call me crazy.

Katman says:

Tool are not the first or the last

Well 2 years ago i bought a special edition U2 CD

It contained the album, a dvd and a booklet created by the members of U2.

it had various thoughts, paintings, photographs and a nice little philosophy too.

I actually payed triple the amount of money for the normal CD.

And it wasn’t DRM-ed either.

Quite a good investement. The special edition was a “limited” 1 million copies.

nunya_bidness says:

my two cents

I work hard for my money and don’t like to give away things I paid for, so I will not “share”. I also do not like mp3 quality, so I do not need to obtain any “shared” media from others. If all the people who paid for their music felt this way, I do not think file “sharing” would be so prevalent, maybe it wouldn’t even be possible. The future of the music we obtain mostly depends on generating income for someone, except for the limited free stuff out there, so do the right thing, you know what that is.

Mario Chavez (user link) says:

The music industry sues because they're scared

In an hyperlitigious society like ours, I am not surprised that the big ones in the music industry choose to sue consumers for downloading songs off the Internet. The RIAA does not like the winds of change that have been blowing well before the Napster heyday. Some recording artists feel secure in their market position and don’t care if some fans get free downloads instead of buying CDs. Others, like Metallica, overreacted and went for legal proceedings, despite the fact that they weren’t doing badly financially speaking.

Some recording artists seem to hold an exaggerated view of their copyrights and will seemly go to any lengths to preserve them. “What the heck, I’m a rich rock star but I’ll sue you anyway because you’re infringing on my copyrights!” they seem to be telling us music lovers.

Someday we will see a balancing of these forces. Fans will always get bootleg copies of music they like, that’s a fact. If you can’t beat ’em, join them…like the article’s author seems to suggest by pointing out to one of many business models to make money and please music fans simultaneously.

JC says:

Cheep

Downloaded music has no overhead. Why do they have to charge $1.00 a song. If the music was set at a disposal price like a dime or maybe even a quarter then more people would purchase instead of steal.

I just had a cd I purchased destroyed by my children. Should I have to buy another one? It was DRM-ed so I don’t have a backup. Would it be illegal to down load the songs?

800+ CDs says:

my 2 cents

I’ve only read a small number of the above posts, so maybe someone’s already made these points.

I still buy all my music on CD. I like the packaging, I like the physical backup, and the sound quality is better than what you can download (yes, I can hear the difference).

I also get copies of songs and albums from friends. The copy is of the same quality as whatever original they had, yet I don’t consider this stealing. Why? Because if I like what I hear I go out and buy the original myself. If I don’t like what I hear I don’t listen to it anymore and the copy that was given to me is either passed on to someone who I think will like it or tossed in the trash. Is there something wrong with this? I’m not sure that there is.

The only problem with what I am doing is that my wife HATES the wall of CDs in our living room. I think it’s pretty (almost art), but she thinks they need to go in the attic, drawers, or behind closed doors. Oh well.

yonder says:

Kilroy #39 has a good point!

You compare giving your friends “backups” of your legally-purchased music to rival television stations rebroadcasting shows from another station.

This is the key here (or one of them). Mass re-distribution (*cough*torrents*cough) versus small-scale, personal redistribution. I’ll use my book example.

If I buy a book and read it, then let my dad read it… is that my dad stealing it? Sure I can “give” it to my dad and that’s perfectly legal. What if I give it to my dad who gives it to his cousin who gives it to my sister who gives it to me. You know… recycling a gift or something akin to that.

Is that legal? At what point does it go from legal “sharing” to illegal pirating?

Personally, the instant I read this, I thought of Pearl Jam too. No Code is a perfect example. Their other albums are “value-added” as well. Pearl Jam has some of the best lyric-books and other “additional items” in the music business. I’m *PROUD* to physically own their albums. True… most of that is for musical reasons, but I like showing off what a cd *SHOULD* be.

The same goes with computer games. Sid Meier knows how to make great games. You know what else he knows how to make? Friggin MANUALS. If I know for a fact that a game box contains only a cd with the game itself as well as a 23-page PDF manual… I may just get it elsewhere. Whether that’s “borrowing” it from a friend to see what the game is like or grabbing it off of a P2P or torrentsite, it doesn’t really matter. I don’t look at a physical manual as “added value”… I look at not having a manual as “value subtracted”

When I open a brand-new cd and all I see is… well… a cd… I consider the physical item as worth less than the other cd’s at the exact same price. Which, btw… is too much… why the *HELL* are cd’s often more expensive than DVD’s?!?! That doesn’t make an ounce of sense.

Anywayz… yeah… make sure you read or re-read Kilroy’s post to get “added value” to my post.

segarocks1234 says:

Remember Willy Wonka

Who has seen the Willy Wonka movie(s)? Do you remember how everyone was buying his chocolate to see if they got a ticket to tour his factory? Why not do the same with albums?

I say, have a thing like you see on TV all the time? Put free concert tickets into a few albums. Maybe even slip in a grand prize of being able to meet the band. I’m sure people would definitely want to buy albums much more if they knew they had a chance of winning something cool. I’m not saying put something in every album, but make there be a chance to win something. Sales would go up, I’m sure of it.

Chris says:

Kill the music idustry.

What artists really need to do is form a “union” of sorts where they invest their own money into a publishing firm owned and operated by artists. So instead of having to contract their souls out to a record company, they can get some help from a community of like minded people. Set up a website and host your own downloadable audio files, and even sell people an actual CD for $7. People who care enough about a band, and want to support them directly this would be the best way to go. Cost of producing a CD would be about $1 (25c for the cd, and 75c for a package). Have the actual cost of the CD be like $4 [16x better than the meesly 25c artists get per cd from record companies (thats if they’re lucky)] and the other $3 for shipping. So if you want to support your band, and make sure they have $$ to get the right equipment they want, and to be able to set up tours (majority of where artitst get their cash) so you can see them live, then buy directly from the artist themselves. AS far as record companies go, they get all their money from outlet stores. So the only people loosing business is places like BORDERS, SAM Goody, EA botuiqe, or what have you. However, you don’t hear them complaning about CD sales going down, maybe beacuse they charge you $5 intead to use their WiFi so you can just download almbus in store.

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