by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
royalty rates, streaming music, uk

emi, prs

Dear EMI: Pretending The Old World Still Exists Won't Get You Into The 21st Century

from the economic-efficiency-anyone? dept

As you may know, over in the UK, the music collection society PRS has been in rather contentious negotiations with various online services over streaming rates. Due to these fights, services like Pandora have shut down in the UK, and YouTube has pulled major label music videos. A couple months ago, PRS tried to compromise by announcing lower rates, which the press hailed as the record labels finally recognizing that their old monopoly rent royalty rates were no longer sustainable. Except... not everyone got the message. Even though these lower rates have been rejected as too high by the various online music streaming services, apparently EMI is arguing in the opposite direction, refusing to license its catalog at the lower rates.

It's difficult to see what EMI gets out of being stubborn here. It's clear that streaming services won't even accept these rates. All EMI is doing is pissing off artists on the label who can't figure out why their fans can't hear their music, making it harder for them, as musicians, to build up the necessary popularity to put in place any number of smart business models (you know, the models that EMI seems incapable of helping them implement).

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jul 2009 @ 9:41pm

    I guess this could also explain all the layoff's EMI has been doing over the past couple of years. Why pay employees to work... when the bosses could just keep that money and work less = win win! (short term)

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

  • identicon
    Joshua M, 8 Jul 2009 @ 11:41pm

    Time for Indie labels to lead the way

    Since EMI and their cohorts are much in denial over 21st technology and the evolution of their business industry, it is time for Indie labels to jump right now into the 21st bandwagon to spearhead the new tech economy.

    Fans are no longer bound to CDs, DVDs or even cassettes (do they still exist?) but to the internet media and all the technology that is converging around.

    Understanding (very important) and leveraging this opportunity can mean cheap marketing efforts that show profitable numbers!

    Go for it, Indies!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jul 2009 @ 12:37am

    A new, and more vibrant music industry will rise from the ashes. A Phoenix of sorts.

    You may not appreciate Lessig's work "Remix" yet, but give it some time. Learn, read, and understand what this Harvard Law Professor is advocating.

    Learn what Charles Nesson is doing with the Joel Tenenbaum Case.

    And above all, support the artists and people like Terry McBride that dare to try something new.

    Keep this in mind: multiple battles are needed to win the war. We're running a marathon, and won't see it's effects immediately, but our own Children will reap the benefits while we go through proverbial legal tantrums of the "Old Music" while the "New Music" industry grows and learns itself into maturity.

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

  • identicon
    Parkstone, 9 Jul 2009 @ 2:12am

    We should recognise the distinction between a record label and a publisher. This particular battle is the publishing arm of EMI which has different artists (signed for publishing rights)to the record label (signed for recorded music), and is run as an entirely separate business.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Jul 2009 @ 4:40am


      Perhaps. But what metrics does EMI require from it's artists for it to use it's "Publishing capabilities" without artists selling its soul to EMI?

      Terry McBride is still a better solution.

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

    • identicon
      SomeGuy, 9 Jul 2009 @ 6:00am


      EMI is refusing to liscence music at rates consumers consider too high because EMI considers them too low. What does it matter which "branch" of EMI is having a fit? They're still keeping music away from fans because they want more money.

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

  • identicon
    OkVol, 9 Jul 2009 @ 6:07am

    EMI sees a monolithic society

    Anyone remember what happened when EMI signed The Sex Pistols? They tried to treat them as "superstars", didn't realize what an open bar would mean to British street punks at the signing party, and the contract lasted only one day.

    Bottom line: much of the major music industry is a money machine for the few. God help the top acts - few survive. (Alice Cooper is still missing the memory of a few years in the early 70's.)

    EMI wants to make sure they are in control, without visibility of the massive amount of money they are making.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jul 2009 @ 3:15pm

    Isn't this what market economics is supposed to deal with? Someone wants to sell something. In this case, a particular arrangement of 1's and 0's, which has a very low actual value, regardless of the cost of producing them.

    Someone else wants to buy something. In this case, a copy of the 1's and 0's. Something that has a very low actual value.

    In market economics, the consumers set the price (value) of something. If someone doesn't want to sell at market price, let them keep their 1's and 0's.

    Let's see how rich they get hording them.

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

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