How Not To 'Save' The Music Industry: Ask The Folks Who Benefited From Old Inefficiencies
from the oh-come-on dept
There’s a group in the UK called “MusicTank,” which is supposed to represent something of a “think tank” around the music industry. It was the head of MusicTank, back at Midem, who “joked” about how everyone there could solve the industry’s problems, because all the stakeholders were present, “except the consumers, since they can’t afford to be here.” That should give you an idea of one of the main reasons why the industry is in so much trouble. It never really considers the folks who actually listen to the music to be a serious constituent.
That’s become obvious again, as MusicTank is out pushing its new whitepaper, called “Let’s Sell Recorded Music!”, which is based on a series of talks that the group held. But reading through the actual paper, three things quickly become clear:
- The group started with the wrong premise: how to sell recorded music. What they should have been looking at was how to make money from recorded music. The two things are quite different, and starting with the wrong premise entirely will lead you down the wrong road.
- While this paper does consider the “consumer viewpoint” and does make some decent points about consumers and music, it never looks at how consumers interact with music beyond buying or downloading. It doesn’t look at the many ways that a fan might support a band.
- Most importantly, the paper spends a lot of time getting the perspective of the various collections societies. This gets to the root of the problem. These collections societies are middlemen who profit off of the inefficiencies of the old system. Asking them how to fix the system is always going to get the same answer: just create yet another licensing right and let us handle the collecting of it.
It’s that last issue that is clearly the big problem with the music industry moving forward. You’re never going to get an industry to move forward when you think that (a) the consumer (i.e., the demand side) isn’t a major constituent and (b) you’re asking those who profit from the inefficient system to define how the new more efficient system will work. The whole process of collective licensing is a joke that needs to be done away with. The collections societies not constituents — they’re the parasites feeding off an old system that doesn’t need them anymore.