by Mike Masnick
Thu, Oct 11th 2007 1:24pm
Last month we wrote about how the economics of music were changing so rapidly that it highlighted how out of touch the record labels are when they still think charging $1 per song makes sense, just as Apple is releasing an iPod that can hold 40,000 songs. Of course, that's only looking at the present. We all know technology is rapidly changing, and Princeton computer science professor Ed Felten notes that it won't be long until anybody can carry all music ever recorded in their pocket. In fact, everyone will be able to do that. At that point, the economics of the industry are totally out of whack with what the recording industry still believes. Felten notes that if anyone can buy a bit of storage that contains all music ever recorded, just think how impossible it will be to shut down file trading operations. All of the music will be out there available to everyone. As long as one of your friends has access to all that music, you just need to create a private sharing network with them -- and the RIAA's goons will never know about it. Felten suggests this leads to a world where the industry is finally going to need to accept some kind of universal licensing plan -- or they might just realize that letting the music go free has plenty of benefits elsewhere in the music business model ecosystem. Of course, that would take more forward thinking record industry execs... and we may be waiting a long, long time for that to happen.
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