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Indie Music Labels Team Up To Get Their Own Cut Of Money Being Thrown Around From Google & Microsoft

from the not-such-a-good-thing dept

Ethan Bauley writes in to point out that a bunch of independent music labels are teaming up to act as a single entity to secure their own licensing deals with sites like MySpace and YouTube. The major labels have been able to convince folks like YouTube to give them a bunch of equity in return for not suing, but we've wondered how that would impact the independent labels. The same question came up when Microsoft agreed to give money to record labels for every Zune sold. In both cases, there were lots of questions about who actually got money and how much they received. While having a bunch of independent labels team up to sign such deals may make sure they're at least at the table, it's not clear it's really such a good idea. All it does is reinforce the big label's flawed plans for squeezing extra money out of places where they really have no legitimate claim for money -- and, if anything, it may make the independent labels less likely to experiment with more innovative business models that leave the major labels behind. It also doesn't actually solve the problem of figuring out who gets how much money. It just shifts the problems from YouTube, MySpace, Microsoft and others to the labels themselves. As Bauley points out, it's nice that the independent labels are making the need for the big labels increasingly obsolete, but it's not clear if simply linking up a bunch of independents to pretend they're also a big label is really the best way to go. Focusing more on innovative business models that recognize the value of happy fans and the promotional value of music (and how to capitalize on it) seems like a much better long-term survival plan.

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  1. identicon
    Ethan, 22 Jan 2007 @ 3:27pm

    Re: A rose by another name..

    For infamous joe,

    Each of the 4 majors acts as its own licensing 'association of labels', as they are basically a huge holding company of copyrights to record catalog.

    The riaa doesn't directly license music, it is the lobbying group.

    This merlin thing would be like a one stop shop for licensing independent music...it's the same as, if you wanted to write one license for a huge amount of artists, (50 Cent, Al Green, Blues Traveler, Elvis Costello, etc), you would just go to Universal Music Group. A one stop shop.

    This indie conglomerate would be like that for indie labels...they are going to hope to get all the indies [all the way down the 'long tail,' probably] focused in one place to facilitate writing licenses a la the YouTube deal to all the platform places using musical content.

    Some folks, like Bob Lefsetz are arguing for some kind of compulsory P2P/sharing licenses, which makes a lot of sense to me.

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