MySpace/Gracenote

The copyright police are gonna kill MySpace.

Whilst trumpeting the ability of MySpace to break bands, the major labels ignored rampant copyright infringement on the site.  Seemingly every girl and boy trolling for friends/to get laid put up copyrighted material/their favorite tunes on MySpace.  ANYBODY who used the site knew this, proving that either, once again, the major labels were technologically ignorant, or chose to ignore this rampant abuse.  Kind of like Napster, only over half a decade later.

If you’ve got a problem with copyright infringement, why don’t you say something when it MATTERS?  Like before Fox lays down all that dough, or at least before the ink dries on its $900 million advertising deal with Google.  I mean at least Doug Morris was smart enough to ask for action in YouTube, so when the site was sold to the search giant Universal got a piece.  Did Doug and the other major label majordomos finally wake up or..?  Nah, they’ve known about getting their piece of the action FOREVER, that’s what they SPECIALIZE IN, squeezing others for their pound of flesh.  So why they didn’t do it in the case of MySpace bewilders me.

Not that it’s ever too late.

The anti-MySpace fervor is deafening. 

In Teens’ Web World, MySpace Is So Last Year

You might think MySpace is all about music, but really it’s all about sex.  No, not trolling perverts, although these do exist, in very minor forms.  It’s human instinct, to get laid.  And it seems even kids who aren’t ready for penetration like to practice by interacting, and that’s what MySpace is for.  It’s where you go to interact with the opposite sex.

In order for the site to be successful, it’s got to work.  You’ve got to be ABLE to connect.  But just like AOL chat rooms before them, social networking sites PROMISE the connection, but rarely deliver.  You end up with a plethora of friends, yet home alone on another Saturday night.  You get frustrated, you sign off.

This is a GIANT problem for Fox.  Just like it was for AOL.  Once you no longer deliver something special, that people need, your business model is history.  The key is to try and deliver an experience that no one else can, that people want, such that they’ll stick around.  Yes, if you can’t get laid, maybe you can at least put forth your identity.  This is where music comes in.  If you CAN put up your favorite tunes and connect with others based on this, MAYBE you’ll stick around.

You’d think Fox would know this.  You’d think Fox would give up some of its action to the copyright holders.  But no, Fox is just too damn greedy.  They’d rather lose everything than cough up a few of those Google bucks.

Could be that the labels don’t want cash.  But based on Warner allowing YouTubers to lip-synch to its songs, and Doug Morris taking a check from SpiralFrog, this seems unlikely.

You can’t build a business on the back of copyright holders and expect to get away scot-free.

And the copyright holders must realize it’s a new age, and they can’t control the use of their wares like they used to, nor SHOULD THEY!

Instead of trying to limit use of their wares, copyright holders must ENCOURAGE their use.  They must legitimize, get paid for what people ARE doing.  People are breaking the copyright laws every goddamn day.  Synching music to their slideshows and movies.  Fuck education, ENDORSE THIS!  Get people in the HABIT of utilizing music, and charge wherever and whenever you can.  To try to do the opposite is to function like an ostrich, and to try and turn back the hands of time.

The Net is a copyright infringement bazaar.  So far, copyright holders have dealt with this by non-action, usually as a result of ignorance, or waving a big stick.  Despite a circle jerk in the press, individual infringers, PEOPLE, are out of the loop until the very last minute, when suddenly their ability to utilize music the way they have been is eliminated.

When Napster, a haven of copyright infringement, was shut down, people just gravitated to new trading sites.  And when the RIAA started suing P2P users, the CASUAL music fan gave up.  This business only grows if the CASUAL FAN PAYS!  That’s what’s wrong with the old model…VERY FEW PEOPLE WERE BUYING MUSIC!  The key is to get MORE people engaged with music, this benefits not only the coffers of record labels, but concert promoters, agents, managers and most especially ACTS!

As for Fox and MySpace…  That’s what you get when you follow trends.  Hell, the music business could have told you this.  Invest in something trendy and you’d better get your money out fast, because it’s gonna crash as quickly as Vanilla Ice’s career.

Fox should be trying to rescue MySpace.  Not by SELLING music, benefiting the few wannabe musicians who actually put up desirable music on the site, but by enticing/making USERS happy.  They should be building new tools, new capabilities, that people desire that they can’t get elsewhere.  Instead of keeping the labels at arm’s length, which is what they’re doing by taking infringing tracks down, they should be working WITH the labels, making deals, getting the labels to license ONLY them.

Yes, this is the labels’ new strategy.  We’ll make a deal with YouTube for cash and stock, but we’ll SUE THE HELL out of its competitors.  It would be better if there were a compulsory license and EVERYBODY could play, but as long as they authorize ONE site, that site’s got a huge advantage.  MySpace could have been that site.  But its owners are just too damn greedy to negotiate/make a deal.

As for Joe and Jennifer public?  They’re married to MySpace about as much as they’re married to boy bands.  In order to keep them, you’ve got to give them something of value, that lasts, and KEEP servicing them, like a great RADIO station.  You’ve always got to come up with something new, that they want, not LESS!

Social networking as a phenomenon might have already peaked, at least that’s what the statistics say.  But people DO want to connect, and the key is to figure out the hip/now way to allow them to do this.  Seems like Fox AND the copyright holders just want to make sure they don’t get ripped off.  And that’s a bad business strategy.

MySpace Music Move

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