Did the Kaufman Foundation just condone making 4-9 Americans redundant every time one of these start-ups fails? Did they just suggest new businesses take on extra staff they don't need just to meet government quotas?
Why shouldn't he? He's using something that you as the artist or I as the engineer created really just for the purpose of marketing himself. His motivation is that his customers will like it and continue drinking in his bar and return one day.
It will be argued that it's also free marketing for the artist, since they're getting played to a large room of people. To that I ask, have you ever tried asking what song is playing in a busy bar? "Oh, it's erm... hang on... Hey Jimmy, what song is this?... Give us a minute, we'll try and find the case..." This does nobody in the music industry any favours. A potential customer has heard a great song which they've shown enough interest in to at least investigate further, and both the customer and the industry has been failed at the first hurdle. We should be recompensed for that loss of a sale.
I'm being greedy and generalising wildly, but I ask again, why shouldn't they pay more?
Really? I sure don't, and I'm sure you don't either. When I take a CD or MP3 that I purchased, I don't have to pay again every time I play it.
Fact is that you might not think you do, but you do. £10 is not good value for an album you're only going to listen to once, but is excellent value for something you're going to listen to over and over again. That's why you don't buy bad albums. £20 is not good value for a tin of paint that you'll have to paint over in a month, but excellent value for paint that lasts for years. That's why you don't buy crap paint. I'm not in favour for every play of a song being quantized somehow and charged. I'm much more in favour of the initial charge for an album being kept high, because asking your customer for a reasonable investment keeps them careful in what they invest in, and that in my view promotes innovation by forcing musicians to release the best material they can in an effort to win that customer's hard-earned £10.
I don't mean to slate Techdirt, it's one of my favourite blogs, I read the feed every day. My complaint, and it's a personal one, I admit, is that Mike's view of a good modern music business model rarely involves people paying for recorded music. And that's a concern to me. I get the CwF+RtB ideal, but I struggle with how to give my customers (they're mine along with the musician's) a "reason to buy" with recorded music alone. But that's for me to figure out. And I am trying to adapt. I've not been in the industry long enough to be set in my ways. But it's not an easy industry to adapt inside. Most engineers I see coming out of college either go into sound for film, games, or leave the industry altogether.
There's two kinds of jukebox manufacturers, just to make the situation even more complex.
The first kind lease their jukebox to a bar/venue. The owner pays the jukebox company a fee, and traditionally a rep comes around, empties the money in the machine and changes the discs in the jukebox to newer and/or more popular songs. All the legal stuff and logistics are handled by the jukebox company, the bar staff never have to even think about it. And these jukebox companies pay ASCAP or the PRS themselves, a license to play the music is almost always included with the lease.
The second type sells jukeboxes. That's it. It's up to the venue to fill it. If artists themselves are saying that they don't see any money from ASCAP et al., then what chance to do they have of seeing money from jukebox manufacturers? I work in the industry, and I don't think I could name three of these jukebox manufacturers. It's not that I don't know my own industry, it's that jukebox manufacturers aren't even a part of the equation; charging jukebox manufacturers who just sell jukeboxes would be like charging Pioneer or Bose for making hi-fis. So then it's up to the bar owner to pay for the performance. If he's smart and his music selection is good (as far as his clientele are concerned), then the jukebox will pay for itself, because let's not forget that drunk people plough money into these things. Profits from jukeboxes are slim, but not non-existent.
Also, you're seeing music as live performance alone, which is in my opinion an inaccurate point of view, but one which is killing my line of work. I'm a recording engineer. I share Chris McHale's point of view about Techdirt offering much in the way of criticism of failing music business models, but disagree with him in that the blog does also highlight new ideas and models which work. Unfortunately for me, most of these models lean towards giving recorded music away for free, with the artist relying on gigs and merchandise and sources of income other than album sales and royalties. This is fine, as a music lover, I'm more than happy to see artists taking control of their own music and getting by on the income from it. As an engineer, though, I'm screwed. As artists continue to use recorded music as a mere marketing tool, then my value to musicians (now small business owners) diminishes. And I get paid less and at some point, stop being able to afford rent.
Recorded music is a product like the paint on the walls or like any other. Music IS unique in that it is time-limited - a song only lasts so long before you have to play it again or hear another. Yes, you only pay once for a tin of paint, but that does not mean you get free paint for the rest of your life. Every time you repaint the walls, you pay. Every time you replay a song, you pay.
Over here in the UK, we've had the same 'on demand' service on TV for a while now. The difference is that there is no Hulu or Netflix, the channels themselves offer the service individually. BBC iPlayer, Channel 4 4oD and a few others are available online, Sky and Virgin satellite/cable packages have these and the providers' own OD service built-in. I can't speak on behalf of the whole country, and I certainly haven't seen any studies, but I know that out of my circle of friends, very few of us still watch "live" TV, ie TV as it is broadcast. The only thing I can think of people actually watching on TV is sport.
The 'grey area' for this at the moment is TV licensing. We still pay the government for the right to own a TV, which is ridiculous, but it allows the BBC to run commercial-free, so nobody complains too much or too loudly. This tends to freak out Americans the first time they hear it. We hear about global nasties like Iran and China broadcasting state-sponsored TV, and this is almost always portrayed as a Bad Thing, but we in the UK also broadcast state-sponsored, publicly funded TV...
However, we're only paying for this to watch TV as it is broadcast, as BBC's iPlayer is only too keen to point out. So if I (hypothetically) never watch TV, I don't even own one, and I only watch the programmes online, then I don't need to pay for a TV license, right?
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