Latest Business Model For Record Labels: Get Paid For Giving Consumers Rights They Already Have

from the go-away dept

There's been all sorts of talk in the press lately about the future of the music business, stemming from the big MIDEM conference in France. The big talk seems to be about how labels are "reconsidering" or "rethinking" their use of DRM, but apart from some very limited experiments, it really doesn't look like much is happening, and certainly not to the degree that some stories would lead readers to believe. Another story today talks up the idea of a "global license fee", which ISPs would pay to record labels -- for some unclear reason. The IHT says that by paying the fee, consumers "could get the right to copy the music we own digitally and move it among our various music players", but that's something fair use already allows, and it doesn't spell out any other benefits for consumers, or anybody other than the labels for the fee, and points to Microsoft's deal to give Universal a cut from Zune sales as one model. As we pointed out when that deal was announced, there's no indication of exactly why Microsoft should pay up, and what it (or indeed its customers) get in return. Sense a pattern here? Faced with falling sales, it sounds like the record labels are trying to develop a new revenue stream by getting paid for no good reason. Of course, to them, fair use doesn't exist, so they act like allowing consumers to have it is something worth paying for -- much how similar copyright levies in Europe must be paid to cover copying that's already legal. If the labels want to institute a global license fee, and in exchange, allow file-sharing, perhaps that's worth talking about. But instituting the license fee and not giving anything in return just sounds like a new wrinkle on the "get people to pay for the same stuff over and over" business model big content loves.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    misanthropic humanist, Jan 24th, 2007 @ 1:57pm

    Commie pinkos

    How many times do they want to be paid for doing nothing? They already have us paying a tax on CD's, tapes and other recordable media. Now they want a global handout from the ISPs too!!?

    This is communism. Without the collective ownership bit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    dorpus, Jan 24th, 2007 @ 2:00pm

    Should Britney Spears Sue This 6-year-old?

    She looks a lot funnier than Spears, too....

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    misanthropic humanist, Jan 24th, 2007 @ 2:42pm

    Okay Dorpus, I'll get my coat.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Mark Rosedale, Jan 24th, 2007 @ 3:19pm

    I am going to ride that out until it dies forever. This is the best business model there is. I mean we pay for exactly what we want, and we are charged what it is worth!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Andrew, Jan 24th, 2007 @ 3:42pm

    Why even bother making music?

    If you've listened to the radio any time within the last, say, 7 years (and probably further back than that) you'll probably agree that the labels aren't very good at making music anymore.

    But they've proven to be very adept at suing people, so why don't they just stop producing "music" and start suing full-time? $150,000 per work is much better than the 60-70 cents per track from Apple -- talk about "maximizing shareholder value" and "ensuring artists are fairly compensated."

    In fact I think I'm going to patent/trademark/copyright/get a papal blessing for that business model.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2007 @ 4:11pm

    RIAA site endorsing fair use

    If you choose to take your own CDs and make copies for yourself on your computer or portable music player, that's great. It's your music and we want you to enjoy it at home, at work, in the car and on the jogging trail.

    From 'Ask the RIAA'. Link:

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2007 @ 5:00pm

    So when the mob uses strong arm tactics to get money from business owners, the Feds RICO them all and they end up in the pen, but when the RIAA does it, they get Congressional and WTO support via the U.S.?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    viewfromthenorth, Jan 24th, 2007 @ 6:10pm

    in the 80's capitolism conquered the 90's it conquerd democracy

    and the WTO is still going further

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    justajester, Jan 24th, 2007 @ 6:38pm

    Mega Music

    As big becomes bigger, expect more of the same. Since buying my first LP, quite some time ago, it became very obvious that in most instances, you bought two or three good tracks, and nine tracks of crap. The only thing that time has changed is that the crap is crappier, and there is one less good track.

    Maybe one day the artists will begin to understand that it is not the consumers that screw them, but the mega labels. A site that allows the artist to sell digital copies of their music, without restriction, would be a fine first step. The artists would be compensated for their works, and the record labels would be where they belong, out of business.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    doesitmatter, Jan 24th, 2007 @ 9:42pm

    I have just refused to buy an iPod, Zune, or other DRM type device. I definitely won't purchase Vista. Its one thing if the money was going to the artists, but is not. Record labels are doing everything they can to stay relevant, but their clock is ticking.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Wizard Prang, Jan 25th, 2007 @ 6:20am

    So what's the difference?


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Wizard Prang, Jan 25th, 2007 @ 6:24am

    Just say no to DRM.

    Good point. My wife has an iPod, but it was given to her. It is filled with DRM-free MP3s.

    I have eschewed Windows XP because of WPA, WGA, DRM and other odious TLAs - in favor of a combination of Windows 2000, 98 (for games machines) and Linux - for precisely the same reason.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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