Warner Music Latest To Jump On The Music Tax Bandwagon

from the please,-gov't,-save-our-business-model! dept

Remember earlier this month how there was a story about a guy going around pitching a required tax on ISPs for music sharing as a good idea? Well the main guy who was pushing that proposal has now been hired by Warner Brothers to make it a reality. While the idea is gaining some momentum, it doesn't change the extremely questionable nature of this proposal. It's a proposal based on the laziness of industry execs, who want others to go out and collect money for them, which they'll then get to "distribute" (by which we mean not actually distribute) to musicians.

The fact is that there is simply no reason for this proposal to go ahead. It treats everyone as a criminal first. In the article, one supporter of the plan even admits this:
"At this point, 96 percent of the population is guilty of some sort of infringement, whether they're streaming or downloading or sharing. What we have here is the widespread use of technology that declares all of the population to be illegal."
While that 96% number is made up and pure bunk, it's a bizarre world in which someone claims that nearly everyone is breaking the law and therefore we should punish everyone, rather than get rid of the law. Considering that more and more musicians are showing that there are perfectly good business models that don't require treating everyone as a criminal, can someone explain why this "music tax" should be put in place? And can they then explain what will happen when every other industry wants its own "you're a criminal" tax included on internet connectivity?

Filed Under: copyright, jim griffin, music, subscriptions
Companies: warner music group


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  1. identicon
    by Letting the Gov't Run Your Business, 28 Mar 2008 @ 11:26am

    Stifle Innovation

    TechCrunch has a great piece on this Music Tax proposal. I like this part:

    Music Taxes Will Kill Music Innovation

    Forcing people to buy music whether they want to or not is not a solution to this problem. The incentives created by such a system are perverse - guaranteed revenue and guaranteed profits will remove any incentive to innovate and serve niche markets. It will be the death of music.

    Music industry revenues will be a set size, regardless of the quality or type of music they release. Incentives to innovate will evaporate. There will only be competition for market share, with no attempt to build the size of market or serve less-popular niches. Forget labels building new brands and encouraging early artists to succeed - they’ll bleed existing big names for all they are worth and work hard to keep anything new - labels, artists, and songwriters - out of the market. New entrants just means more competition for a static amount of money. Collusion by existing players will run rampant.

    Soon labels will complain that revenues aren’t high enough to sustain their businesses, and demand a higher tax. It will go up, but it will never go down.

    As I said before, Asking the government to prop up a dying industry is always (always) a bad idea. In this case, it is a monumentally stupid, dangerous, and bad idea.

    http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/03/27/the-music-industrys-new-extortion-scheme/

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