EMI Exec Thinks You Shouldn't Be Able To Listen To Your Own Music Without Paying Again

from the no-wonder-they're-confused dept

Via Glyn Moody, we get this bizarre story, which demonstrates how some “new media” execs at the major labels don’t seem to understand “new media.” A few weeks back, Michael Robertson had revealed the ridiculous demands that the major labels were making on anyone who wanted to license content for a cloud music player. Most of the demands made absolutely no sense and represented an ignorance of the technology involved. Remember, these services are about people uploading music they already have so that they can listen to it elsewhere. It’s not about sharing music at all. Yet the labels, in their ultimate paranoia, continue to insist it is. Wayne Borean posted a link to Robertson’s story on the astroturfing “Balanced Copyright” page, that is a front for the major record labels. Jeff Thistle, who is the “Director of New Media” for EMI Canada responded (also mirrored here), saying that these demands were “all reasonable.” When Borean challenged him on this, Thistle replied:

What measures do you propose be put in place to prevent the uploading of major label owned content? I can’t speak to the mechanism to determine what an annual fee would be (presumably it would be by percentage of catalogue * number of lockers that the content resides in), but asking that controls be put in place to prevent the service from becoming another illegal sharing vehicle is *very* reasonable.

How does that make any sense at all? Why should anyone, who has a legal and authorized copy of major label content, be prevented from storing it online to listen to it remotely? And most of these digital lockers don’t allow downloads and are only for the one user who uploaded their own music. The claim that these will become “another illegal sharing vehicle” is a total red herring. So they make up a red herring and pretend they’re doing this to “protect” that which doesn’t need protecting… when the reality is that they’re just trying to force people to pay over and over and over again for music they already paid for.

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Comments on “EMI Exec Thinks You Shouldn't Be Able To Listen To Your Own Music Without Paying Again”

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vastrightwing (profile) says:

Forget the cloud!

The future is Micro-SD media. They can hold a lot of bytes in a small space and no paranoid, out of touch music execs will be able to regulate what you decide to copy to and from these devices. Most new phones have micro-sd slots. The “cloud” is a huge personal liability. It will be too hard to resist peeking into the personal storage of people and then it will become a nightmare. No, I like tangible media (hard drives, SD/Micro SD, DVDs, etc.) as opposed to cloud storage. I just don’t have the love here. I am paranoid about what conclusions will be drawn if I store anything there and someone decides it’s not private to me.

Donnicton says:

Re: Forget the cloud!

Might this be the birth of MP3 Runners, soldiers of fortune who act as special mules who hide Micro SD cards loaded with music in false molars across state borders to states that have not been authorized by the record companies to listen to their music?

It will be a dystopian future ala Mad Max or Waterworld, where MP3s will be more valuable than gold!

CarlosFromPhilly says:

Re: Forget the cloud!

Idunno about that…
I’ve been saying SD (and then MicroSD) was the future for many years now.
It’s become apparent, though, that this isn’t the case.
Physical media is only promoted when there’s large scale cooperative corporate support of the format (see: Compact Disc, DVD, Blue Ray, etc); There isn’t any reason for major labels and distributors to buy into the format.
Furthermore, anything that exists as an additional layer between purchase and consumption is a step in the wrong direction at this point.
The cloud allows instant, high availability access to media; An SD card is just a slightly more streamlined Compact Disc, which isn’t what we need to be exploring (especially considering that the vast majority of consumers don’t have SD slots on their primary music players; small physical footprint doesn’t solve the sorts of problems they care about, and as such won’t lead to switching to a platform that DOES support SD).


Re: Re: Forget the cloud!

Micro-SD is just another manifestation of local storage.

Some device makers like to create anemic devices in this respect. That doesn’t mean that there’s no utility in local storage. Local storage doesn’t suffer the problems of middle men trying to get in between you and your music.

There are many cool things I could do with an iPhone/Android. However, the new mobile usage caps make them pretty much all moot.

ArkieGuy (profile) says:

Re: Tax the SD cards....

Michael Geist has an article describing the Canadian Copyright Collective’s desire to “tax” SD cards. The plan is:

50? for each electronic memory card with 1 gigabyte of memory or less, $1.00 for each electronic memory card with more than one gigabyte of memory but less than 8 gigabytes of memory, and $3.00 for each electronic memory card with 8 gigabytes of memory or more

I guess even blank memory cards and blank CDs are potential pirate media. Maybe we should all just go back to listening to LIVE local bands. Oh wait… ASCAP would taxes that too.

crade (profile) says:

Re: Re: Tax the SD cards....

Everything is “potential pirate media”. obviously anything that stores files could be used to store infringing material and “pirates” will obviously just use the cheapest thing they can find so they will just jump back and forth adding levies to the cheapest storage medium until something else is the cheapest and they switch to add levies to that. Great plan.. If you are ASSHAT and want to get money for nothing.

John Doe says:

That explains it

And most of these digital lockers don’t allow downloads and are only for the one user who uploaded their own music.

A friend of mine got an invite to Google Music and he uploaded his music but he said he couldn’t find a way to download it. I hope people don’t delete their music after they upload it or they will forever be married to Google Music. All this to try to prevent piracy, which hasn’t been prevented or even slowed down but does greatly inconvenience paying customers.

Any Mouse (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: That explains it

‘If it can be streamed, it can be downloaded…’

With third party applications that have nothing to do with the streaming service? Yes, that is true. But as I just stated two sentences ago, you have to use another application that is not provided by the streaming service, and even then you are only recording the stream, just like the crappy audio cassette recordings of radio transmissions.

So, what about Mike’s statement, instead of your own FUD, was misleading?

Any Mouse (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 That explains it

You’re still laying the fault at the feet of the wrong people. Again, the stream provider is not sending a standard download. Streams are buffered, but the buffer does not reside on the hard drive. To convert it so it does so takes an act on the user side, thus making any ‘downloading’ their fault.

- says:

Re: Re: Re:4 That explains it

Whether buffer resides on disk, it varies from service to service and it’s certainly not a factor that defines what is streaming and what is not.

When looking at the service alone, aside what happens with the data on the computer – there’s really no differece between streaming and downloading.

John Doe says:

Re: Re: Re: That explains it

If it can be streamed, it can be downloaded, as simple as that.

What is even simpler is to just torrent or file share the music/movie and not go through the hassle of snagging a streamed file that is probably being streamed at a lower quality than the original file. So my point stands, you don’t slow down piracy, you only inconvenience paying customers.

DannyB (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: That explains it

> If it’s worth it,
> people will create other tools to
> use that to share files.

That’s true.

On the other hand, if prices are reasonable, it is not worth the trouble. It’s quick and easy to pay $0.99 on Amazon to download a DRM-free mp3 file.

Piracy will probably never completely disappear. But reasonable prices would significantly diminish it.

MrWilson says:

Re: Re: Re:2 That explains it

$.99 (or .99? for Verizon mathematicians out there) is too high of a price-point for me.

Once the initial recording costs are paid, there’s very little overhead for selling digital files. I’m willing to pay for music, but not for Lady Gaga’s costumes or massive advertising campaigns trying to get me to buy Beyonce’s next album. It’s also impractical considering the storage capacity of devices these days.

You can store over 40,000 songs and much more on many devices. Nobody’s going to spend $40,000 on music downloads though.

The value to the consumer is different than the value to the companies. If I have 40,000 songs, I may not hear the song very often in my rotation, so it doesn’t make sense to pay $1 for listening to the song 5 times. I also can’t sell it used like I can with a CD, so why am I paying more per track than I would for a CD (for which I might spend $5 at most these days)?

The price of gas, teh suck that is the economy, and the lack of good jobs versus the amount of financial aid debt for college grads makes luxury purchases like over-priced $1 music tracks so unimportant right now.

Thank goodness for jamendo.com.

John Doe says:

Re: Re: Re:3 That explains it

The value to the consumer is different than the value to the companies. If I have 40,000 songs, I may not hear the song very often in my rotation, so it doesn’t make sense to pay $1 for listening to the song 5 times.

You sir, just plain get it. Music/movies/books are not worth the price being asked. Too much content, too little $$$ to go around. Nobody is going to spend the kind of money it would take to have a decent library of music, movies and books. Lower the price significantly and many more purchases will be made. It is all basic economics and if the government will stay out of it, the market will settle the issue in a few years.

Jeremy7600 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: That explains it

It does not download anything to your PC at work, unless you are using an app that I’m not aware of yet outside of the Music Manager and the android app (and the google music website). Unless you put the Music manager on your work PC and it sync’d that way? (Haven’t tried that yet)

It IS stuck in the cloud, unless you use the Android app, as ChronoTrigger has pointed out.. (Or you are doing something we haven’t tried yet)

As for the files, /mnt/sdcard/Android/data/com.google.android.music/cache/music is the folder you are looking for.

PaulClarkSaintJohn (profile) says:

Re: Re:

So you must agree that you should be paying your car maker a fee per mile for every mile you drive. The purchase of your car is just the right to own it. To actually use it, there are additional fees per mile.

Every car transaction requires that you provide the car maker a valid credit card or Paypal account (Paypal needs to pay me now for plugging their product). Your car automatically uploads your mileage daily (along with all of your location information to the government in case you commit a crime. If you are not a criminal, you should not mind.).

Thinking about the logic, holding ISPs accountable for what people do on the network is like holding the government responsible when someone commits a crime and uses a road to get to and from the crime scence.


All Turing Machines great and small.

This kind of thinking is exactly why Big Media is a threat to the rest of the economy. They think of neutral technological devices as something that only exists to access or steal their content. In the process of trying to suppress anything that might be used as a “piracy tool”, they run the risk of ravaging the technology landscape in general.

Most computing devices have nothing to do with big content. However, they are infinitely flexible. If Big Content is allowed to run amok, we run the risk of every business use of computing being burdened by whatever limits Big Content might want to impose on the fundemental flexibility of all computing devices no matter how large or small.

Pickle Monger (profile) says:

Playing Devil's advocate... sort of...

Well, actually, letting people share the music between their online storage spaces would be a natural evolution of the service. Not that the labels’ demands make sense. JUst as easily people can share music in the physical world. What’s next? Are they planning on attaching geolocation trackers to the CD’s to make sure they don’t leave our appartments?

Jeni (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“If it’s still theirs, why do I bother paying for it at all?”

Exactly, DEF! I recently bought a movie – can’t recall which one, but every 15 to 20 minutes this ugly, huge message splattered up my TV telling me how copying is stealing – it was annoying, invasive, distracting and totally ruined any “entertainment value” from the whole movie. I sat here thinking, “I paid to sit in my living room and be scolded for over 90 minutes – for something I didn’t do???”

Won’t buy another movie until/unless that nonsense stops. I’m finding out Wii is fun…

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Music is just as good as it ever was. If certain, currently popular music, makes you think differently, you just have to look harder…

The sole difference between current music and that of the past is that time’s gotten rid of some of the worse examples of former eras, leaving the classics. Not every song recorded in previous eras fitted the classic label.

Grimby says:

If McDonald’s started using the recording industries methods they would charge you for a Big Mac then charge you for each bite you take of the Big Mac. On top of it, any time McDonald’s changes the Big Mac container you’ll have to pay for all the Big Macs you’ve ever eaten all over again. Finally, you’d likely have to pay a fee or extra tax on toilet paper that goes to McDonald’s because you’re sharing your Big Mac with the toilet.

sumquy (profile) says:

i think the article here, at techcrunch does a better job of explaining the complaints of the various studios.

looking over them, most of their concerns are overblown, but i think that umg actually has a legitimate concern. personally, i have about 20 gigs of music on my hard drives. about two thirds of it was acquired pre-drm-free itunes, and not paid for. not wanting to start a debate on my right to possession, i will just say that i will not be using any cloud locker that examines my music to determine if it has a digital receipt, and i doubt if i am alone in this. i doubt if any such system is even possible (how long until digital signature is cracked?), or practical from a service providers perspective (turns them into copyright police, which they should fight tooth and nail).

SmartSmart says:

I imagine that Netflix pays for the rights holder when i watch & re-watch Jersey Shore episodes.

I think the Netflix model is probably more reasonable for the rights holder & the consumer, only problem being is that we’d always need internet access.

To me ‘streaming’ is the answer – but you know… in music i honestly believe more people will want to ‘buy’ than ‘rent’.

The Devil's Coachman (profile) says:

For private use, I will copy whatever I want, period.

If my brother lends me a CD and I rip it to my iPod, too bad for the XXAA douchebags. They have no way to find out, and I won’t volunteer that. If they actually think they have the right to examine the contents of my iPod and demand proof of purchase for all content, they can go pound sand. If they attempt to do so, I will be forced to deal with them using “extra-legal” means. I’m sure they could figure out exactly what that means.

Wig says:

End of an era?

Of course the recording industry wants you to pay over and over again for the same music. That’s been their business model all along. They have always tried to sell you the same music again and again, every time insisting that you didn’t ‘buy’ it, but ‘licensed’ it under a different format (record, cd, tape, iTunes download, ringtone, whatever)

And frankly, the upgrade from the analog record to the digital cd was actually adding value for me as a customer, so I was prepared to pay for the same music again.
But to me there is no ‘upgrade’ or added value between a digital copy I buy on iTunes and the digital copy I created when I ripped the cd and put it in my iTunes collection. So I am not as willing to pay for it again…

And just to be absolutely clear: I see no reason why I should pay the recording industry for an upload to a digital streaming service. The only added value here is the availability of the music, and if anyone should be paid for that, it would be the provider of that service. The recording industry had nothing to do with making that possible. On the contrary…

Jeff Thistle (profile) says:

Some context would be appreciated

My comment was in reply to a point from Wayne who suggested that most of the content he owned was indie. He was proposing that it was unfair for record labels to demand fees for content that they ultimately didn’t own.

I don’t mind participating in this conversation, but only if individual snippets of post aren’t going to be taken out of context.

Jeff Thistle (profile) says:

Some context would be appreciated

My comment was in reply to a point from Wayne who suggested that most of the content he owned was indie. He was proposing that it was unfair for record labels to demand fees for content that they ultimately didn’t own.

I don’t mind participating in this conversation, but only if individual snippets of post aren’t going to be taken out of context.

shannon watkins says:

Demonizing what you don't understand.

reading this article, and many of the comments, it seems to me that people are jumping to their own conclusions about what the recording industry is looking for.
Just because a consumer wants to have rights to another’s intellectual property, does not entitle them to it. Just because you do not understand the laws and regulations, does not mean that they are instituted by “idiots” and “assholes”.

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