Music Morphs

One price to rule the all

EU finally cuts through licensing red tape for digital music


Though this is just one step, equalising content in different countries’ stores removes an inequality,so it’s a step in the right direction. And the legislation faces up to a simple reality – that if content can’t be bought locally & legally, there’s plenty of ways to acquire the same content, illegally, just a click away.

In time this’ll doubtless lead to universal pricing, in Europe, which is what it is. In the UK, it probably means paying less for music. Of course, there may be winners as well as losers – there’s no guarantee that the universal price will be the lowest price.

The legislation appears not to have the support of artists – which can’t be right. And somehow *more* regulation always feels like it’ll result in *less* innovation, in spite of everybody’s best efforts.

the Radiohead download

um, for all the hype, aren’t Radiohead just doing with inrainbows what music folk on myspace do?
They’re a band that’s out of contract, and they’re offering their work for whatever price the buyer chooses – even if that’s £0.00?

OK, as a known group they get more hype & momentum behind their work, but it’s the same principle.

And if the music is good, they’ll sell a lot: if it isn’t, they won’t.

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music, media, and money

Before this week’s announcement that Microsoft will have to pay Alcatel Lucent $1.5 billion for MP3 patent infringements, (Microsoft thought they already had a licence), The FT was already reporting how the music business is changing – it’s in such a huge state of flux that “As the head of one of the largest record labels observes: “My job used to be getting hits and signing great artists. Now we’e in a battle trying to figure out how to stay in business.”

Which reminded me of a post in my old Radio blog, Music Morphs, from 2004:
“New Spin on the Music Business. A Harvard professor outlines a radical plan for compensating recording artists in the digital age. He wants to pay for music with taxes on Internet access and MP3 players. [Wired News]

“It’s a problem than needs cracking – and it’ll go one of two ways… 1) universal acceptance of an additional cost or 2) nowhere, sadly.

“But if the piper doesn’t get paid, the music can’t be free (pipers need to eat)… so we’ll end up with 3) encription & charges for music.”

Since then, two new things have happened:

1) The emergence of new music channels like Last FM(player at the foot of this page 😉 secondlife, and myspace, which suggest that artists can distribute & promote their music without the support of a major music label.


2) European governments are starting to ban propriatary music standards, because they’re anti-competitive. (Scandinavia, France ). DRM software seems to be eminently hackable anyway, so far. (BluRay and Apple hack stories plucked from Google news) so how much use is a digital rights management strategy anyway – the more successful it was, the more it becomes a target for hackers.

All of which might lead you to think that this is another example of ‘community-led marketing wins out’. I’m not so sure.

Is this the endgame: artists use community & social networks to give their material a first airing. It’s also a fertile hunting   A&R folk, who can do what they’ve always done. Spot new marketable talent, and lift them to a level they could never reach on their own. The music business should be looking at how to reduce distribution, sales & marketing costs through digital channels, and charging for their branded equity: content, promotional materials, and live music.

March of the clones

Allofmp3 is morphing into a more legitimate service.
& ‘the music industry’ wouldn’t expect the battle over downloads to end there.
It isn’t: here come the clones.

Once this genie is out of the bottle, it’s not going back in!
& the battle will be fought again (& again) over at YouTube

Link: Download Mp3 Music, mp3 downloads : MP3Sugar.Com.
Link: MP3 Download, Free MP3 music downloads. – MP3 Download.
Link: GoMusic.Ru .

pre type pad content

New Spin on the Music Business. A Harvard professor outlines a radical plan for compensating recording artists in the digital age. He wants to pay for music with taxes on Internet access and MP3 players. Katie Dean reports from Cambridge, Massachusetts. [Wired News] It’s a problem than needs cracking – and it’ll go one of two ways… 1) universal acceptance of an additional cost or 2) nowhere, sadly. But if the piper doesn’t get paid, the music can’t be free (pipers need to eat)… so we’ll end up with 3) encription & charges for music.
5:54:20 PM    

10 May 2004

1.67m Brits download films illegally. £45m cost to video industry By Lester Haines . [The Register]
If you were in the video industry, and illegal downloads had tripled in the past year, right now, would you be looking for case studies on Napster & its impact on the legitimate music industry?

5:53:02 PM    

Napster parent Q4, FY loss widens. But will sell $30-40m worth of songs this year By Tony Smith . [The Register]

$30-$40 million – before europe comes onstream.
😮 yikes!

5:50:58 PM    

06 May 2004

Music site Napster eyes UK launch. Music download site Napster unveils a UK partner, the high-street electronics chain Dixons. [BBC News | Technology | UK Edition]

I’d have thought that Napster was strong enough on its own – it’ll be interestign to see this play out

7:53:13 PM    

Downloading Again. A survey has found online music downloading is on the rise again. Also: the most popular movies, TV shows, books and software. [New York Times: Technology]

So now that downloading is legal, is it hitting the mainstream?
[or are napster’s original customers just coming back, 6 years older, with their credit cards?]

7:37:16 PM    

Record companies forced by court to pay royalties. Record companies love to make a big deal about how file sharing deprives artists of their royalties. Too bad the record companies themselves must be forced, by court order, to pay the royalties they owe to artists instead of keeping it for themselves.

    A two-year investigation by New York state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer’s office found that many artists were not being paid royalties because record companies lost contact with the performers and had stopped making required payments.

The artists that were too hard for the record companies to find include unknowns such as Sean Combs, Gloria Estefan, and Dolly Parton. Link [Boing Boing]
7:33:28 PM    

05 May 2004

09 March 2004

I have illegally copied music here!

Music swappers face home invasion. The homes of online pop-swappers could be raided if a new European directive gets voted into law. [BBC News | Technology | UK Edition] – it’s the cassettes under my desk – classic ’70’s rock & pop, copied & shared @ school & university. By this new directive, I’d have been breaking the law. But hang on, I was breaking the law anyway – why do we need another one?

Couldn’t we have a law requiring all new laws involving the interrnet to be a) scrutinised by folks who understand the internetwebthingy and b) have some common sense?

7:24:15 PM    Google It!
comment [ 0 0]

24 February 2004

another brick in the wall
WH Smith dumps CD singles. Sliding sales mean the single is on the way out at the UK retailer, but the firm insists other entertainment products will fill the shelves instead. [BBC News | Technology | UK Edition]
Another stpe towards the evolution of trad ‘record store’ into something very different – which could be as radical as Gap was with its original Levis & Music format.
9:47:57 AM    Google It!
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18 February 2004

yes, right, that’ll work…
US steps up online piracy fight. The US record industry sues another 531 people in its continuing campaign against online music piracy. [BBC News | Technology | UK Edition]
Saw an interesting interview with the MD of Playboy – who’s encouraging visitors to help distribute/ share their content, and share in any cash that’s generated. Which sounds like a win-win. What was it we were saying about the porn industry working out how to solve issues before brick’n’mortar trad businesses?
4:37:04 PM    Google It!
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p2p + content = value

BBC ponders P2P distribution. BT and Auntie do lunch over Internet plan [The Register]
and in music too

logical enough… now who else has an archive of video footage/back catalogue of classic music (take your pick) & is worth investing in… Granada? ITN (if only…)

4:33:29 PM    Google It!
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13 February 2004

deja vu
The Fix. Is the FCC exaggerating the Jackson boobhaha? Plus: What intern scandal? []
We had the Timberlake grope in the UK last year with Kylie’s rear – if that was opportunistic (what red-blooded male wouldn’t?) then this looks like it’s the media that’s being manipulated.
6:44:27 PM    Google It!
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huge story-within-story

Copy-crippled CDs launch in UK, baffling Auntie Beeb. Borked by the BPI [The Register]
Towards the end of this Register story about cd’s not playing in cars are three revelations:
1 The BBC is considering file-sharing access to its arts & culture archive
2 That rights holders are looking for new payment models
3 That Kevin Kelley’s Less is More argument may yet come to pass in downloading music
a big story