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Why Google Should Buy The Recording Industry

from the pocket-change dept

Rumours about Google’s music service have been swirling for a while now, but they certainly seem to be reaching a new stage with stories like this:

The latest rumor to emerge from the Google campus is that the company’s much anticipated music service is just about at the end of their rope with the major label licensing process. A source close to the negotiations characterizes the search giant as “disgusted” with the labels, so much so that they are seriously considering following Amazon’s lead and launching their music cloud service without label licenses. I’m told that, though very remote and my guess is that it would never come to this, Google may go so far as to shut down the music service project altogether.


When there are rumours that you’re about to give up on a project, you know it must be real.

But what really caught my attention was the following paragraph and its final, throwaway line:

I’m told that this is when the idea of launching without licenses came up. Google may be starting to think that if the industry weren’t going to sue Amazon, then why would they take on Google? After all, who needs whom the most in this scenario? Could you even wrap your brain around the legal costs? As a source pointed out to me, “Larry, Serge and Eric could buy the entire music industry with their personal money.”


The fact that this is literally true tells us something that is often overlooked: the music industry is economically quite small and unimportant compared to the computer industry. And yet somehow — through honed lobbying and old boy networks — it wields a disproportionate power that enables it to block innovative ideas that the online world wants to try.

On a rational basis, the music industry’s concerns would be dwarfed by those of the computer world, which is not just far larger, but vastly more important in strategic terms. But instead, the former gets to make all kinds of hyperbolic claims about the alleged “damage” inflicted by piracy on its income, even though these simply don’t stand up to analysis.

But that throwaway comment also raises another interesting idea: how about if Google did buy the music industry? That would solve its licensing problems at a stroke. Of course, the anti-trust authorities around the world would definitely have something to say about this, so it might be necessary to tweak the idea a little.

How about if a consortium of leading Internet companies — Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Baidu, Amazon etc. — jointly bought the entire music industry, and promised to license its content to anyone on a non-discriminatory basis?

At the very least, the idea ought to send a shiver down the spine of the fat-cats currently running the record labels, and encourage them to stop whining so much just in case they make the thought of firing them all too attractive to the people whose lives they are currently making an utter misery….

Cross-posted from Open…

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Companies: google

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Comments on “Why Google Should Buy The Recording Industry”

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198 Comments
Nick Coghlan (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I dunno, how much would they save in legal and licensing fees by buying out the 4 big studios and all the big publishing houses?

Take all those people they have working on keeping the studios happy (like ContentID), and put them on something more productive.

Heck, they could probably increase the royalties paid to authors and still save money in the long run.

Don’t necessarily think of it as profit seeking – it would be an exercise in cost reduction.

Anonymous Poster says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

This is why the suggestion that the major computing companies buy the industry and run it collectively makes more sense. No one company controls the music, and they all work together to ensure that the best interests of everyone from the consumer to the licensors are served.

Google alone would not control the music, but they could have a say in how it is controlled/licensed, and I doubt that the other tech companies would control music in the way the RIAA has — they’ve seen how badly the RIAA has run themselves into the ground over the past decade, after all.

ComputerAddict (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Google doesn’t even have to buy out all 4… buy 1 or 2.

1) Fire lawyers. That alone will make it profitable
2) Make content available through a plethora of services by reducing fees for companies like pandora, etc. Allow digital locker type services. Now you have a highly successful studio.
3) Incorporate High level integration with other Google services to tap their huge user base.
4) Sit on their deck, drink beer, and wait for the other 2-3 studios to come around knowing they can’t compete.

Dabe (user link) says:

Whither AAPL?

“a consortium of leading Internet companies — Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Baidu, Amazon etc.”

Conspicuously absent: Apple?

The only reason (that matters) why Google should “but the recording industry” is to beat the only man with enough cash reserves to actually do it, Steve Jobs, to the deal.

(They /could/ at least “bid up” the price for a little while, but that’s only delaying the inevitable…)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Why is Microsoft included in this pro-piracy fantasy?

Didn’t Microsoft just lobby in a brand new anti-piracy law that forces American businesses to ensure their CHINESE partners don’t use pirate software?

Does Masnick honestly think the music industry is the only one pushing for anti-piracy?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: yawn AAPL strikes again?

yawn@apple, they cater to the music industry. promote proprietary drm laden formats at an inflated price with lower bit-rate then more common forms or even loss-less formats. So Yawn at apple. they had the leverage and misused it. they could have pushed for drastically cheaper music, and unlimited downloads if its gonna be proprietary and drm laden.

Aerilus says:

Re: Re: yawn AAPL strikes again?

Hate to tell you but jobs pretty much tells the music industry to go screw it self whenever he feels like it did you not see the letter he sent them telling them he was unilaterally removing all drm from itunes if they didn’t like it they could remove their music. jobs is probably one of the biggest reasons the recording industry doesn’t like the tech industry because he know where they stand. not saying i have any love for jobs but reading that letter put a smile on my face.

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 yawn AAPL strikes again?

And ending DRM really improved sales, didn’t it?

Oh wait, no it didn’t.

iTunes Plus (the DRM-free version of iTunes) was launched in May 2007. DRM-free versions became standard in October 2007.

As of July 2007, Apple sold 2.5 billion songs. It doubled that number in June 2008. Between 2007 and 2008, the number of songs sold per day doubled. By February 2010, the number of songs sold reached 10 billion. (Source: Wikipedia.)

So, yeah, it certainly did improve sales. Or at least, it sure didn’t hurt.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 yawn AAPL strikes again?

I’d add that what iTunes is selling is a convenient service (to complement iHardware), not copies of digital files really. Per item pricing was a demand of the content companies, if memory serves, but could they have priced themselves like Netflix (a monthly cost instead of per item) and still made the same scratch? I don’t know, just wondering if it would all wash out the same in the end.

Stuart says:

Re: Buy them all

Average number of breaths/day = 17,280.
If they will give me 10 breath/cent. That would be $17.28/Day.
If the license fee covered Music, Book and Video and bandwidth.
I would pay.
๐Ÿ™‚
All movies, music and books able to be watched read and listened to without DRM, restrictions, format considerations, keeping track of stuff.

I would pay $20/day.

deadzone (profile) says:

The music industry in it’s current form just needs to be put out of it’s misery.

The idea of a group of major tech companies buying the music industry sounds good to me. Better to have one last windfall of money and get out with whatever shred of dignity they might still have.

It’s just painful and embarrassing to watch the music industry die a slow and painful death the way it is right now. It’s pretty obvious by now that the music industry would rather litigate than innovate so it’s not like they are really in the business of music anymore.

Huph (user link) says:

From Fat Cats to Even Fatter Cats

Yes! Great idea. We all hate the “fat cat” record labels, so wouldn’t the music industry be even better if it was run by even FATTER cats who have no interest in cultivating an artistic culture?

Can’t you see it? Albums brought to you by Google, but of course, every single album will look exactly the same, seeing as how Google seems to hate any type of graphic design.

Apple running its own label, I can see it now. All songs MUST be breakable down to concise 90 second snippets that give a full idea of the music. NO songs over 5 minutes (because that would be like getting two songs for one! Can’t have that!)

Jes Lookin says:

I Think There Would Be A Surprise

The ‘fatcats’ would expand to value their ‘property’ in proportion to whatever funding is POSSIBLE (=infinitely). So nobody could or would afford to purchase the 90% dreck of the industry. Then they’d turn around and sue for ‘lost’ value that they should be owed if anything is successful… and retain rights to control distribution of course.

Mark says:

No Need to Buy the Whole Industry

All they need to do is buy one and the whole industry would basically have to either lead (ha) or follow google to new business models that they have avoided, as the other tech services that are working with music, will utilize the google artists and they can’t just let their artists not be heard anymore on those new innovative start ups.

Well, they could continue to do nothing and fail. I’m sure they’d rather do that than get dragged kicking and screaming into rethinking their business model.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: No Need to Buy the Whole Industry

I dropped in to say something similar. Google shouldn’t buy the music industry as is, that’s a throw away project and only comes with some old music (yeah, I get that’s a big deal, but follow along with me for a second…). If they started their own label, made the terms for membership really attractive to musicians of all sizes, I’d bet they could very soon have other independent labels begging to join in, and then Google has done the destruction without paying the RIAA asshats anything.

Anonymous Coward says:

How about the music industry, tired of being bullied by piracy, says “Fuck You” to the computer industry.

How about the music industry decides to stop selling their content in mediums that are used by a computer, and instead sell it a new medium with new hardware that doesn’t involve computers at all.

When a relationship involves all taking and no giving, it’s time to move on.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I guess you missed the part that said “new medium”.

Someone below referred to it as the nuclear option, which I suppose is what it would seem to be.

The record industry allowed its product to be used with computers and look what happened. The situation was abused, to say the least.

Unless something changes very, very soon, the record industry will have nothing left to lose, and will probably do exactly as I have suggested.

Planespotter (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

OMG! Naive Alert! Before people copied music on computers they copied music on audio tapes, way, way before the home computer truly came into its own and before that people bootlegged 8 track cartridges…

Your “nuclear option”… does it involve speakers? It doesn’t matter what “new medium” they come up with someone will get it onto a PC within hours, and also one final point, given that cd sales is declining and music downloads is “where it’s at” they aren’t likely to pull out of the computer marketplace, they might be stupid but they aren’t suicidal.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

” music downloads is “where it’s at” they aren’t likely to pull out of the computer marketplace”

Over the next year music sales online (mp3’s) should turn around in the US and begin tanking. Canada should follow in about two years. Parts of europe are already a lost cause the rest is sure to follow. Legislation will not help, you can not legislate human nature.

My point, the labels are not going to pull out of the market place, the marketplace is going to pull away from the record labels.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The record industry allowed its product to be used with computers and look what happened. The situation was abused, to say the least.

Wow. You really don’t understand technology at all, do you?

Unless something changes very, very soon, the record industry will have nothing left to lose, and will probably do exactly as I have suggested

Doing what you suggest is suicide. Why wouldn’t they do what plenty of smart artists and labels are already doing and embracing new *business models* rather than pretending that your hilarious solution of “this music won’t play on computers” is possible?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

That’s sad. I was trying to be ‘over the top’ trollish. So over the top that EVERYONE would know that I was being silly.

Dude, I have tons of professional audio equipment. I can get any audio signal I want into a computer. I was being a jackass. Snowflake is different because I was posting from work before.

Cowardly Anon says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Your hypothesis is ok until you realize that if the industry did this, someone, somewhere would port it to digital format. And we would be right back to where we are now.

Though companies higher smart people, there are always smarter people out there who don’t work for them. These smarter people are the ones who are able to get around anything the company cooks up.

Proof? Every DRM ever created has been cracked. All current generation gaming systems have been cracked. Phones? Crack. If there isn’t something that get around the barrier right now, there will be in no time at all.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“The CD was planned to be the successor of the gramophone record for playing music, rather than primarily as a data storage medium. From its origins as a musical format, CDs have grown to encompass other applications. In June 1985, the computer readable CD-ROM (read-only memory) and, in 1990, CD-Recordable were introduced, also developed by both Sony and Philips.”

They weren’t dragged at all. They unwittingly invented their own demise.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Adoption to what?

Everyone uses computers to listen to music.

Providing content in computer-compatible form is exactly what they would *not* do.

People didn’t want to pay for their product. Are saying it’s wrong to change to a business model where if people want their product they have to pay?

Selling something people will just easily take for free is the height of stupidity. They need to sell something else. It’s pretty simple.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

You’re laughing because you know how absurd the situation is.

Example: You’re on a desert island and you’re forced to pick between 3 choices:

Watching one show by your favorite band.

Having a t-shirt of your favorite band.

Having one album by your favorite band.

Everyone knows what most people would choose when faced with the choice of having a musical memory, a piece of music-oriented clothing, or

an album of music you can enjoy forever.

You’re fucked because everyone knows what you value most.

Nicedoggy says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Just a complement, every single format the record industry tried to implement since the CD failed in the market, how are you going to make people buy something that is not a MP3?

ps: Those formats failed because they were not convenient and had restrictions on them. That turned consumers everywhere away from those formats, that is why you got CD today that have zero DRM and MP3 full of DRM’s LoL

Is just funny.

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Are you suggesting the labels would be better off if they took their ball and went home? That they’d be making more money if they went all the way back to vinyl? Are you also not aware of the analog hole? Is it your case that if the labels went even further away from giving their customers what their customers want that their customers would be even more likely to give them money?

Are you suggesting the musicians (you know, the ones actually making content) would be happy that the labels they signed on with were making it harder for their fans to listen to their music? Do you think all musicians are signed on with labels and are restricted from making any music unless they do so with a label? Have you even considered the number of independent artists that would be greatly benefited by the death of the labels as gatekeepers? Have you even heard of Jamendo?

Are you normally this stupid, or have I just been trolled?

Planespotter (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

errr nope, you suggested that maybe the industry should go running home to mommy crying and then as part of throwing their toys out of the pram pull out the “nuclear option” with some magic “new medium” and you think that someone won’t be able to pirate it… we aren’t condoning copyright infringement but what most are saying is that you would be niave to think that someone won’t find a way of ripping the “new medium” to a PC.

Really this isn’t rocket science, people are going to rip your product and give it away for free, the same people probably shell out quite a bit in broadband fees, donate to trackers, pay for Usenet… rather than fight these people why not find a way to take that money rather than let it go to someone else.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

This isn’t “security technology”. It would be a new delivery medium that doesn’t involve computers.

Delivering music via computers just makes things easy for pirates. It’s an incredibly stupid thing to do. The record industry needed to stop selling CDs years ago. And since all the CD stores have already closed and people have stopped buying, what do they have to lose?

Planespotter (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

HELLLOOOOOOO! Are you real? or has an Intel P4 at the FBI gone rogue and started pumping out bollocks on forums?

Can you enlighten us as to what sort of “nuclear option new medium” they may use? One that at NO POINT EVER comes in contact with a computer, not during the recording process, not during the manufacturing process, not during the distribution process.

Atkray (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

They are going to use implants.

If you want to listen to music you must have one.

Every Friday when you get paid you head over to the clinic and write down on a piece of paper what music you want for the coming week.

They give you a shot and you take a nap, when you wake up you hear the new music for another week.

If you go someplace where someone is playing music you have not purchased the implant notifies police immediately and the device defaults to either Justin Bieber or Lawrence Welk depending on your age.

Still working on a few bugs/features but that is the gist of it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

“Are you real? or has an Intel P4 at the FBI gone rogue and started pumping out bollocks on forums?”

Nah. That could never happen to Intel. Right?

Ok, sure, they don’t know how to divide. But they sure do make mistakes FASTER than the competition. Yeah. Eat that AMD!

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Would I be surprised that people are well aware of the analog hole? Absolutely not.

Would I be surprised that someone is honestly considering “an alternate delivery system” that will get around the analog hole? Absolutely yes. How do you get around it? If the song can be heard, it can be recorded. If it can be recorded it can be made digital and you are back to where we are.

Does the alternative delivery system not use sound? Do I have to buy a device that directly vibrates my eardrums? If that’s the case, the vibrations could be recorded and shared. Does this new delivery system plug directly into our brains for us to “hear” the music? If so, whatever signals that are used to do so can be recorded digitally and sent around.

This is what you are up against. You cannot shutdown the analog hole. What you are suggesting will have the same amount of success as suggesting we all stop using tools. It’s not going to happen short of near total annihilation of mankind. If it can be recorded on any medium that we know how to record on and play back from, it can be recorded digitally through the analog hole and you are back to where you started.

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I don’t think you understand. Not selling it digitally would kill them. It won’t earn them any customers, and the analog hole (especially for music) is so brain dead simple to get around that digital copies of it will be available in the amount of time it takes to play the song. If you only released music on vinyl it would take 3 minutes to make a digital recording. In fact, it wouldn’t even take that long with high speed recording.

If you are serious about this, you must want the labels to die really fast, or you are completely ignorant of what you are really suggesting.

TDR says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

AC 86, either provide empirical evidence of your claims with a complete chain of causality showing step by step how a specific artist has been harmed by the sharing of a specific file at a specific time by a specific person, backed up by empirical, non-entertainment industry data, or you provide a complete retraction of everything you have ever said on this site. Now.

Of course, since you’ve already admitted to being an RIAA lawyer shill exec, it’s unlikely you’ll do either. You’re too cowardly to even put a name behind the crap that you spew. The best thing you can do for society now is to resign your position immediately and find a more positive, productive line of work.

When an industry is run by its lawyers, nothing it says can be trusted.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The analog hole is currently the only thing that prevents such a scenario from happening right now.

If I told you that people are already well aware of that and are looking for an alternative delivery system, would you be surprised?

Not surprised. We’ve written about clueless industry folks thinking that it’s possible to stop the analogy hole in the past. But you’re really, really quite confused if you think that music can be created that can’t be played on computers.

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

1) They still have plenty to lose.
2) Doing what you are suggesting is not dangerous. It would actually be an end to the danger that they’ve been, what with their lobbying for longer copyrights and harsher penalties that don’t relate at all to the damages done, and all the other crap that they’ve been doing. I welcome the labels doing what you are suggesting.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

How about the music industry, tired of being bullied by piracy, says “Fuck You” to the computer industry.

How would they do that?

How about the music industry decides to stop selling their content in mediums that are used by a computer, and instead sell it a new medium with new hardware that doesn’t involve computers at all.

In other words, you tell everyone to pirate instead of buy. Brilliant.

When a relationship involves all taking and no giving, it’s time to move on.

Yeah, just like every technological advance that the industry whined about later turned out to help make the industry bigger. That kind of “taking”?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Yeah, just like every technological advance that the industry whined about later turned out to help make the industry bigger.

The record industry? The record industry has shrunk in half.

They allowed the computer industry to get into bed with them and then got suffocated in the middle of the night while sleeping.

It’s a dysfunctional relationship that needs to end. The sooner the better.

Anonymous Poster says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

There’s a difference between the record industry and the music industry, and Mike was talking about the music industry when it comes to technology making it bigger.

Go back to your peaceful Luddite existence, RIAA Shill. I think you’ll be much happier without your Internet and laptops and modern technology. ๐Ÿ™‚

Niall (profile) says:

Re: Re:

And we are so fed up of the music companies ‘taking’ from us with ridiculous prices, lousy music, poor back catalogues, and insane licensing and legal manoeuvres.

Looking at the Beatles, how well did no digital downloads do for stopping illicit copies? Or books – JK Rowling didn’t let Harry Potter go in e-book form – how long did /that/ last non-digitally?

Of course, in both these cases, they are popular and still sold insane amounts of copies even with mass pirating. So maybe people can be pirated and not have to go back to the 19th Century?

Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile) says:

Re: Re:

How about the consumer, tired of being bullied by the music industry, says “Fuck You” to the music industry.

How about the music industry decides to join the digital era (already in progress) and stop trying to legislate and sue their way back to prosperity?

When a relationship routinely involves Congressmen and lawyers, it’s time to move on.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

When a relationship routinely involves Congressmen and lawyers, it’s time to move on.

I agree with you. It’s time to move on.

The relationship between recorded music creators and computer users has been a one-sided affair, and an abusive one at that.

The record industry is suffering from Stockholm Syndrome.

They need to realize that were snookered by the computer industry and admit defeat. Sever their ties with them and start over.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

If you can hear the music you can record the music. If you can record the music you can record it digitally.

If you can record it digitally you can share it with everyone in the world.

At present you need to use the internet – and so your activities are visible.

Within 10 years, thanks to infinite music storage and six degrees of separation sneakernet will do it for you in complete privacy.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

That’s it! The only way to win is to not even play!

If we don’t sell it, it can’t be bought…yes, yes…and if it can’t be bought it can’t be shared…yes, yes, YES!

Piracy solved!

*hurrr*

Does this new tech involve donuts and a snorkel? Bar-coded fruit? Thinking so hard you make a funny face?

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I’d really really really love for the labels to do this. I have been waiting for their death for years. Nothing would cement their death more than for them to do what you are proposing. If they take their music ball and go home, they’d be replaced instantly. What you are proposing requires that music could only come from them. That’s not the case. If they tried to leave the computer industry altogether, there’d be some headlines for a few days, and then life would go on without any one even noticing their disappearance. There wouldn’t be a drop at all in the amount of music created.

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I say

I’d really really really love for the labels to do this

You say

so why are you so upset by the idea?

Reading comprehension much?

I’m not saying they shouldn’t do this. I think it would be great if they just up and decided to commit business suicide. I’m just pointing out to you that what you are proposing would not get the results you think it would.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re:

How about the music industry, tired of being bullied by piracy, says “Fuck You” to the computer industry.

How about the music industry decides to stop selling their content in mediums that are used by a computer, and instead sell it a new medium with new hardware that doesn’t involve computers at all.

When a relationship involves all taking and no giving, it’s time to move on.

Thank you,

Thank you very much!

Now, at last, we know with absolute certainty, that you – and people who take your line of argument, really are complete idiots.

Eureka! says:

Re: Re: Re:

Maybe they are going to try to outlaw computers now to fix their business model for dead mediums ๐Ÿ™‚

very smart…

I suggest to make a Disney attraction called The True Story of Piracy, that tells the adventures involved in the extinction of your busines. In this way you can at least exploit Disney asking for royalties (and you make them a favor too) once you suceed in your corporate suicide plan.

I would pay for that ride!

Berenerd (profile) says:

Re: Re:

not to say anything about your idea of what would happen…

If the big labels suddenly stopped playing in the sandbox, do you really think Google? MS? the computer industry, would notice?

Alternately, if Google, MS, and the computer industry packed up and went home, the Music industry would be back to pen and paper, and it would cost them even more to promote their music cause most forums for concerts, radio, magazines, use computers now a days and they would be less likely to work with big labels..

FormerAC (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Sorry if this is considered feeding the troll …

“How about the music industry decides to stop selling their content in mediums that are used by a computer, and instead sell it a new medium with new hardware that doesn’t involve computers at all.”

Ok, lets indulge your fantasy. Lets imagine it will not play on a “computer.” I’m going to ignore the rather HUGE technical details here and just play along …

If your music will not play on a “computer”, then define “computer” for me. Would that include my car stereo? My car stereo can play MP3s. How about my home stereo? My home stereo can play MP3s. Hell, my home stereo can play FLAC. Are you seriously suggesting that record labels ignore 30 years of technological advances and play Luddite?

Would LPs work for you? They are not a computer. They cannot be played on my computer, or on my car stereo, or on my home stereo.

Now that we’ve settled on a medium that I cannot play, why would I buy any music from you? You ran away and hid and put your head in the sand yelling I can’t hear you. And I will still be able to take your recorded music, and copy it onto my computer. Why? Because I’m not an idiot. Absolute worst case scenario, is I set up my record player (technology circa 1950, tyvm) and play the music through my completely independent (not connected to any computer, or computer-like) stereo, and place a microphone about 12″ from the speaker and record to another device.

If you are the record company considering such a move, you should recognize the fact that as much or as little technology as you put in front of me, as much or as little DRM or legal restriction you put in front of me, that if I want to listen to the music, I will do so, and I will do so on my terms. I ported my entire CD collection to MP3 7-8 years ago. Not to share, not to pirate, not to circumvent anything. Simply because this is how I like to listen to music, on my computer, or my iPod, or my phone. Why bother carrying around CDs, LPs, tapes or any other dead medium when I can put 30 album/CD/records worth on my phone. I can put my entire collection on an iPod.

Why, because I want to. If you decide to kill off recorded music by putting it in a format that is incompatible with all modern music players, you will have no one to blame but yourselves. I’m sure it won’t stop you from trying though …

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Would that include my car stereo?

of course.

My car stereo can play MP3s. How about my home stereo? My home stereo can play MP3s. Hell, my home stereo can play FLAC. Are you seriously suggesting that record labels ignore 30 years of technological advances

Good for you. So what?

And calling an mp3 an “advance” sort of depends on who you ask tho… they sound like ass.

Would LPs work for you?

Can’t say I see LPs become the new standard for audio again, no. Can you?

why would I buy any music from you?

Because you’re addicted to it. You go on internet forums and freak out at every suggestion that your free lunch might be curtailed.

Absolute worst case scenario, is I set up my record player (technology circa 1950, tyvm) and play the music through my completely independent (not connected to any computer, or computer-like) stereo, and place a microphone about 12″ from the speaker and record to another device.

Knock yourself out. I hear some people in the 70s used to do that before they figured out how to correctly use a cassette recorder.

if I want to listen to the music, I will do so, and I will do so on my terms.

oh really? Are you going to start writing and releasing your own music?

The content creator has ultimate control over their creation. The decision to release it in a way that it can easily be taken for free is, however currently misguided, still theirs, not yours.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I don’t think you understand. That was a choice the creator made; they knowingly released the music into an environment where it could be taken without permission. They could have simply not released it; they could have only played the song live, or only played the recorded version to their friends or select fans.

There is no reason why a new format should be a worry to you if you listen to the music you get on Jamendo or by other artists that choose to use the internet to release free. A new format will not limit that option at all.

If artists that are significantly more popular than others choose to make their recorded works a scare commodity, they should have that choice. You then have the choice to boycott that decision by not purchasing. That’s a free market. And a legal one.

There are already a number of theoretical ways of eliminating the analog hole as it relates to digital music right now. You’re not thinking hard enough if you think there aren’t.

As I said before, if the situation gets to the point where content creators and owners have nothing left to lose, they will look to different avenues to monetize recorded music. They are fully aware of how valuable and important it is to people.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

There are already a number of theoretical ways of eliminating the analog hole as it relates to digital music right now.

Would you care to describe any of them?

As I said before, if the situation gets to the point where content creators and owners have nothing left to lose, they will look to different avenues to monetize recorded music.

Even if successful, it would be a useless maneuver. The back catalog is already available, and if you give listeners a choice between music they can’t listen to and music they can listen to, which do you think they’ll choose? You really think there will be a mass investment in new, incompatible hardware that doesn’t interface with computers just to listen to new label music? You’re deluded if you do.

But I’ll add my vote to the rest: I really, really hope all the major labels do this (and stop doing all the other things they’re doing). It would be a great benefit to society.

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re: Re:

How about the music industry decides to stop selling their content in mediums that are used by a computer, and instead sell it a new medium with new hardware that doesn’t involve computers at all.

So you want to introduce a new format that:

1) Cannot be played on the billions of computers in the world.
2) Cannot be played on the billions of smartphones/iPods/MP3 players in the world.
3) Would require customers to buy new hardware to listen to it.
4) Cannot be sold via the only viable current sales platforms for music (iTunes/Amazon mp3/etc).
5) Cannot be marketed on the radio.
6) Cannot be streamed via Pandora/Spotify/etc.

You have no audience that could listen to it, no distribution method to sell it, and no advertising.

Good luck with that.

Even if you are living in magical fairy land where that wasn’t a problem, whats to stop anyone from recording the sound and converting it, thus bypassing the whole point of your new format?

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

2 and 3: Why should I need to buy a new smartphone/music player because some idiot label won’t put their music out as something I can use. There’s tons of other music I can listen to instead of the newest boy band dreck.

4: Why should they care their new format can’t be sold in the only retail sales channel that is actually working?

5: So how are the radio stations going to play the song in this wonderful new format? All their equipment is setup to play from computers/CDs/other digital formats. Radio stations would have an even worse problem than the average consumer with a new format.

6: No radio, no streaming. How is anyone going to hear the music before they buy it?

But hey, don’t let me dissuade you from throwing millions of dollars into a fire to bring about this new format. If the recording labels want to commit suicide, I’ll cheer them on.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

You want to know what the worst part of this is? If I can hear music coming out of something, I can get it to my computer in a format that loses almost 0 quality from what I can hear. I have mixers, adapters, and enough engineering knowledge to MAKE whatever I need to make it digital. I’m too lazy to do that myself but I know I’m not the only person in the world with this capability.

If they don’t want it played on a computer they have to make it so that I can’t listen to it at all. That’s the only way.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

ooh-ooh! me! me! pick me!

I want to be the first to replace all of my current players-of-music with your new, fantastic device.

I have TONS of extra money just laying around waiting for someone to convince me what to spend it on.

Don’t bother telling me how much, I’ll pay it whatever it costs.

Thank you, AC, for saving me from this digital heresy; I now see the light. (/sarc)

Now, if that doesn’t sound asinine to you, go back and reread your original post. Still no? nvm….

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

True, so much a better business model to make music and then ensure that no one hears it or about it.

Because the only thing that could prevent people hearing it for free is to ensure it never gets played by anyone at all.

Is this Mike sock puppeting to see if people actually understand that it isn’t a matter of agreeing with or condoning copyright infringment, it is simply that technology is at a stage where copyright is effectively unenforceable and so the only option is to have ppl pay willingly, attempting to force them simply cannot work.

Steven (profile) says:

I could just see this going down in a meeting.

Scene: Larry in meeting with Universal Execs, Several layers from both sides in attendance.

Universal Exec: … So if you turn to page 32 you’ll see the reasoning for the fee… Where is that?
Universal Lawyer: There, two thirds down.
Universal Exec: Ah, yes, as I was saying the reason for the fee..
Larry (interrupting and under his breath): I could jut buy you.
Universal Exec: I’m sorry what was that.
Larry (louder): I said I could just buy you. And by that I don’t me you personally, or this company, I mean I could buy the whole recording industry.
Universal Exec: Well, I, umm, I think maybe…
Larry (interrupting again): I don’t even need Google money to do it.
Google Lawyer: Umm Sir, I don’t think..
Larry: No, I sick of this. Hell with all these meetings and the crap we do bending over backwards for these guys I’ve probably lost more money than their worth.
Universal Exec: Now wait a minute without us
Larry: What! Without you What! I’m sick of this crap we’re done. You know what I’m not even going to bother trying to buy you, your a bad investment. I’m just going to fund artists. Every artist you try to sign I’ll offer them a deal worth twice as much that lets them keep the copyright. I’ll just bleed you dry till there’s nothing left and it’ll cost me half as much as these stupid negotiations.
(Larry gets up and walks out slowly followed by a cadre of confused but amused lawyers)
Universal Exec: What the fuck… What the fuck!
(fade to black)

fogbugzd (profile) says:

What I would like to see Google do is to open a music site that featured free music. Musicians could submit their creations to be streamed or downloaded. Most of the rating of music could be crowd-sourced, but there would be room for paid advertisement, including the ability to pay for recommendations. The paid recommendations would be isolated and clearly marked as paid.

The major labels would end up at Google’s doorstep, ringing the bell and begging to be let in. Google’s terms could be simple: give us a licence to stream or download whatever you want and we’ll throw it in with the rest. If you want a special position you can pay for the ads and paid recommendations.

Contrary to what the industry says, the trickiest part of the business would be determining what is free and what is licensed. Digital fingerprinting might help, but it wouldn’t be enough. Google would need some system that has bands register and provide some type of digital signature used for uploads.

Anonymous Coward says:

Public domain books.

Chances are google/ would do the same as they did with the public domain books, scan them all, tuck them away and make them near impossible to find unless you want to buy it and only read it via Google books. Funny you cant import your own library of e-publications across platforms, when its the public domain.. Google forces you to rebuy the public domain books via their “service”. If anything they would buy out the music industry, fire them in mass, Government hires all fired label workers, gets Chris dodd back, and google amazon, will charge you access to their service.

Takes a co like google to unfree free information. ex. Public domain books.

FormerAC (profile) says:

Re: Public domain books.

/sigh

Sad little troll can’t find anything without Google apparently. Or with Google even …

http://www.authorama.com/
http://www.publicdomainsherpa.com/find-public-domain-books.html
http://www.gutenberg.org/

Shame those public domain works are too hard to find for ya. Lets try the Evil (TM) Google books shall we …

If I go to http://books.google.com/ and type in shakespeare, I get 9.8 million results. The very first one (http://books.google.com/books?id=w1kJAAAAQAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=shakespeare&hl=en&ei=GK2oTauMLPSx0QGel7z5CA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCwQ6AEwAA) brings me a 115 page scan of the entire text of Hamlet.

So the Google books, who the OP, nee troll, says is locking up public domain works, not only provides access to the entire book, for free, but also provides links to a plain text version, and a link to download the entire book as a PDF. Shame they are locking up these public domain works like that.

If that wasn’t good enough for you, there is also a link to “find it in a library” which showed me five libraries within 10 miles of me that have this very edition in their collection.

How exactly are they making them “near impossible” to find?

Of course, the text of Hamlet is also available through the Project Gutenberg website, but I wouldn’t want to confuse you any further.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Public domain books.

/sigh
try taking a Project Gutenberg epub,importing it into Google books service. not happening currently. google books is baked into most android devices these days. yet you can only buy books into your library. not import your pdf, or epub etc. you seem more the trollish type with the “sighs” and fact checks from across the web… how much time did you put into your post? too bad you didnt include a thesis five paragraphs and a conclusion maybe cite it in apa next time ass.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Public domain books.

FormerAC, Been posting all day april 15th. Must be his day off! he nearly wrote two pages of comments today! congratz! on out trolling a troll!

Re: Public domain books. @ Apr 15th, 2011 @ 1:46pm
Re: @ Apr 15th, 2011 @ 1:29pm
Re: @ Apr 15th, 2011 @ 9:14am

love when the pot calls the kettle black..

FormerAC (profile) says:

Re: Public domain books.

Google forces you to rebuy the public domain books via their “service”

try taking a Project Gutenberg epub,importing it into Google books service. not happening currently. google books is baked into most android devices these days.

/sigh

Here we go again. Let me know if I’m going too fast for you. You think you are “forced” to buy something by Google. What Google is doing is offering a service. You can choose to purchase the service, or you can choose to not purchase the service.

See, choice. Nothing forced. Sure, it is much easier to pay the fee and use the service. But it is not necessary. I can get another eBook reader for my android. I can import Project Gutenberg texts into my android. The service is convenient.

You might want to concentrate a little more on making a coherent argument instead of the personal attacks. Or were you just checking out my ass?

Anonymous Coward says:

Google (et al.) shouldn’t buy the recording industry. They should “become” the recording industry.

Things have gotten to the point where outdated laws and concepts are holding back our technological and cultural advancement. The “technologists” should keep pressuring those old gatekeepers who are holding us back until they, ultimately, replace them.

Amazon has already taken the next step: allowing users to stream their songs (something completely unthinkable for the gatekeepers). Netflix already annoys the hell out of the studios. Others also exist and others will certainly come. It’s inevitable.

It’s been a fun day recording industry, but it’s getting late. We have to move on now. See you around…maybe.

Anonymous Coward says:

How about if a consortium of leading Internet companies — Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Baidu, Amazon etc. — jointly bought the entire music industry, and promised to license its content to anyone on a non-discriminatory basis?

How about if they bought the music industry, put absolutely everything into the public domain, and then released a video on YouTube mocking the RIAA for their years of stupidity and informing the MPAA/Hollywood that they’re next on the chopping block?

…No? Well, I can dream, anyway.

waylay73 (profile) says:

How can anyone seriously suggest that the recording industry is capable of making any kind of technology that would be remotely capable of preventing recording/replication? You only have to look at the dvd drm fiasco. The movie industry ignored well established security best practices, came up with their own encryption protocol, and it was cracked in days by a teenager! Not a team security professionals with twenty years experience in crtypography, but a teenager!

waylay73 (profile) says:

Wow, just wow. People bought CD players because it was a superior format to the long play record. And oh yeah, the internet did not exist for home users. There was a ten year window where the CD was the only game in town. Do you seriously expect people to move from the open distribution model that now exists to a closed system model.

But why should the record industry care right? Why should they care about what consumer want? Oh you want to listen to music on you tablet, mp3 player, smart phone? You want to be able to buy music not just over the internet, but from the actual device you use to listen to music? Yeah we don’t want you to do that. We can survive long term without listening to what our consumers actually want.

charliebrown (profile) says:

EMI - Every Mistake Imaginable

There is an opportunity in the wings

There is a record label out there that is in serious financial trouble. It should be available to buy for cheap. It is called EMI.

Imagine if Google bought EMI. They would hold the rights to The Beatles masters, John Lennon, Nat “King” Cole, The Beach Boys, Coldplay, Belinda Carlisle…. This list goes on! What a catalogue to build on! Plus using the existing facilities to build a new “label” on top of it. Google EMI. Youtube could allow EMI’s videos up from any user. Content ID would still play a role: If there’s a match, that’s when the ad bar pops up. No need for geo-blocking.

Warner have been sniffing around at possibly buying EMI, as has SOny, I’ve heard. But imagine if Google beat them. That would be a major coup for online distribution. If Google are truly as “for the people” as they claim to be, this would be of great benefit to society worldwide.

I don’t want Microsoft to buy any of the labels as they pretty much invented the End User License Agreement (EULA: We own you. [Agree] or [Agree])

Christopher Bingham (profile) says:

A real chance

The anti-trust issues around buying the majors up I think could be beaten by the fact that so *far* larger numbers of indie titles are released than what the majors put out. How many titles out of the 115,000 plus released annualy are actually major label? 1,000?

Google buying out the major labels might make a better overall market…

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Bundling

I doubt Larry, Serge and Eric have enough money to satisfy Doug Morris, Lucian Grainge, Edgar Bronfman Jr., and Citigroup.

You might be right – so long as you define “satisfy.” (Please, no slash fiction responses, that’s just gross.)

Larry, Serge, and Eric have enough personal income to buy out Morrise, Grainge, Bronfman, and Citigroup, without even taking out a mortgage on any of their houses.

But is that enough to “satisfy” them? Probably not. Remember, this is an industry that sued a company that enabled non-commercial file sharing for what was, in the words of the judge, more money than the recording industry had made since Edison invented the phonograph.

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