Could Radiohead's Success Spell Doom For Music Collective Bargaining?
from the well,-not-really... dept
Last week, we wrote about the details showing how Radiohead’s experiments with a new business model was successful. However, a couple of readers sent in an article at The Register, which looked into Radiohead’s success, and concluded that musicians shouldn’t be happy about it, because Radiohead’s success may destroy their “hard-fought” collective bargaining arrangements.
There is some amount of truth in this, but it shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing for musicians. Part of Radiohead’s success was that it, indeed, was able to get certain royalty collections groups to effectively “bend the rules” for the experiment. The Register seems to argue that this is a bad thing, as it will destroy the validity of those royalty groups. However, that’s not a bad thing for musicians at all. We’ve already explained why we think compulsory licenses are a bad idea, creating a bureaucratic nightmare where only the lawyers really benefit. More importantly, they serve as a complex patchwork system to guarantee an old and obsolete business model — which is why Radiohead had to work around them. Because of this, you get various collections societies making ridiculous claims about representing artists, when some artists don’t agree with their stance at all. Yet, because it’s “compulsory” many artists have no choice.
Cracking the legitimacy of these royalty collecting societies isn’t damaging to musicians. It’s just the first step in helping them to embrace much better business models.