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Here we'll explore the nexus of legal rulings, Capitol Hill policy-making, technical standards development, and technological innovation that creates -- and will recreate -- the networked world as we know it. Among the topics we'll touch on: intellectual property conflicts, technical architecture and innovation, the evolution of copyright, private vs. public interests in Net policy-making, lobbying and the law, and more.

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October 3, 2005

Music (Download) Money Muddle

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Posted by Alan Wexelblat

A story in the Reg shows just how muddled up the thinking is around downloaded music and pricing.

Apparently, the standard (ie iTunes) price for a single in the UK is 79p. Out of this, performers get 4.5p. Now the Music Managers Forum, a trade body of artists' representatives, are upset. Why are they upset? Let's see.

This rate is half what artists were getting from CD singles (physical). Has anyone informed these people that the Cartel has been working to kill off the CD single since... oh, 1997 or so? I wouldn't be the first to suggest that the death of this format was a major spur to the upswing in music trading that happened around that time. So if you're making less money now than on a dead format that is iTunes' problem precisely how?

Also, "an artist needs to sell in excess of 1.5m units before they can show a profit." Well, let's see. Who was it put the artists into this forced indentiture where they have to pay up front for production time, tour costs, etc? That would once again be the Cartel. Last time I looked, iTunes wasn't dictating the terms of artists' contracts.

Jazz Summers, MMF chairman further complains that recording companies had been "caught with their pants down" by the legal download services. Hello? What universe do you live in? Caught with their pants down, five years after Napster blew their business model to smithereens? Three years after miserable failures on the part of various Cartel-sponsored and -approved download services? If anyone was caught with his pants down in that situation he's incompetent and should join Michael Brown on the unemployment line for clueless gits.

Comments (5) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: IP Markets and Monopolies


COMMENTS

1. D.Wallener on October 3, 2005 4:24 PM writes...

The reality is that Apple is now part and parcel of The Cartel.

Permalink to Comment

2. Dr. wex on October 3, 2005 4:50 PM writes...

I fully agree. I made this point in
http://www.corante.com/copyfight/archives/2005/09/21/tempest_in_a_tunepot.php
and other authors in this blog have made similar points in terms of Apple's sellout to the hardware-DRM side.

Permalink to Comment

3. Crosbie Fitch on October 6, 2005 12:31 PM writes...

If the artist had a web site where they could sell their release for £1 to each member of their fan base, and keep the lion's share, say 85%, they'd get paid handsomely for an online audience of just 100,000, i.e. £85,000.

Moreover, the artist can release their tune with a copyleft license.

Permalink to Comment

4. Dr. wex on October 6, 2005 3:26 PM writes...

The problem is that artists generally _can't_ do this because they don't own their own music. Their contractual masters own the music and control the means and costs of distribution. The cases where you see artists doing this it's music that they've retained, wrested, or won back control over.

Permalink to Comment

5. Roy Williams on October 8, 2005 12:45 PM writes...

The point is that one needs a LICENCE from a copyright authority before one can legally offer downloads. These licences are NOT FREE. Typically, in the UK, one would need thousands of downloads merely to pay for it! Then there's the necesary webspace to store it all. And all this while you're on tour in Australia! Forget it. The 'revolution' of artist's inspired music for sale BY the artist will NEVER happen. The true problem here is what happens to the money paid for the licences, and what happens to the additional money paid when this licence 'advance fee' is exceeded..... Oh yeah - Apple has an interest in the preservation of copyright, too. They ain't gonna rock the boat....

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