Music Needs To Be Paid For

It’s all fine and dandy that labels now want a piece of touring and merch, utilizing Sanctuary’s "famed" 360 model. But what if you’re a songwriter? What if you don’t tour? THEN WHAT?

Don’t tell these people to go it alone. To get a MySpace page and generate friends. They can’t monetize their efforts. BECAUSE OF THE MAJOR LABELS!

People need to pay for music. And the major labels have done their best, through shortsightedness, through ineptitude, to assure the contrary.

Looking out for the artists? Insuring that great music is produced in the future? That’s all hogwash, the inane ravings of fat cats fearful they’re going to lose their cash cow, CD sales.

CD sales are going to continue to deflate. And it’s got very little to do with file-trading, and a lot to do with iPod penetration. Seems that once someone gets a hand-held device, he no longer has a need for the disc. It’s incongruous. I buy this to employ it once? To get the tracks onto my computer? And prices at the iTunes Store are equivalent to those for CDs, unless maybe you buy the complete album, but most people don’t want the complete album. So you’re paying a buck a track for LESS than what you used to get. Shitty sound, impermanent format, and no packaging. That’s not a deal, that’s an impulse item.

The business got people to replace their vinyl and cassette collections with CDs because the plastic discs were perceived to be better, and a cost premium could be charged for this. NO ONE believes AACs/MP3s/WMAs are better. They’re just convenient.

But stealing an MP3 is like stealing a couch!

No Lars. It’s just a bunch of replaceable bits. That can be replenished at will. Assuming the cost of replacement is de minimis.

People should pay less for less. The key is to lower file prices and sell more. Not only BECAUSE the price is lower, but because you can only buy in bulk. Via some form of subscription.

I’m not talking rental here. I’m talking a file-trading fee. Some kind of LARGE commitment for music access.

And the funny thing about it is, as broadband speeds increase, and the price of storage drops, we can sell these same people the same music all over again, AT A HIGHER QUALITY!

Who gives a shit if you trash all your iTunes files if they didn’t cost you as much as CDs. CDs were theoretically forever, the medium of record. The file is evanescent. Ever try to open a Microsoft Word document from 1986 in today’s Office? You wouldn’t even think of it, and can’t, because you don’t have the original floppy disc it was stored on!

People hoarding MP3s? That’s like hoarding M&M’s. They’re cheap, plentiful, you can always replace them, you want a new bag, with the BLUE ONES!

The way to encourage quality composition, recording and distribution is to get people to pay for music. Suing traders didn’t stop P2P, it’s still increasing.

Online music piracy hits record levels

The iTunes Store has sold 3 billion tracks in more than four years. That’s like 300 million albums. Or less than 1 billion dollars a year. That’s truly a drop in the bucket. That’s not a solution.

Nor is rental today.

Tomorrow? There’s a very good chance people won’t want to own their music, if they can get it delivered instantly, for a low price.

But what about TODAY? What about the seven years since Napster? What about the lack of a solution? What about failed strategies?

Blame the labels. They could have sold music to the people the way they consumed it, BUT THEY DIDN’T WANT TO! And people had options, P2P and disc-burning. And you can’t kill these processes unless you’re about to monitor everybody’s IM’s. And THAT’S not gonna fly in Washington, D.C.

So if you’re Steely Dan today, you’ve got to break up, you’ve got to get a day job.

Steely Dan didn’t tour after "Countdown To Ecstasy". But some of their biggest hits, and some of their most rewarding work, including the legendary "Aja", came AFTER that. The reason they didn’t need to tour? RECORD SALES! We’re gonna take that out of the equation? We’re going to make people go on the road to make a living in music?

That’s fucked up.

The exec can turn his operation into a marketing company. The songwriter…can count on BMI or ASCAP and the occasional license. But he’s throwing away most of his income, mechanical royalties. Did he want to give these up? No, the label FORCED HIM TO!

If Napster had been licensed, writers would have been paid for every trade. As would have labels. And acts.

But they’re not. Because bullies who believe they can win through sheer intimidation, that they can rig the game in their favor, wouldn’t acknowledge that people wanted their music in a new way, and that we live in a land of transparency.

It’s not too late. Issue a file-trading license. Or charge at the ISP level. A good portion of the public will pay voluntarily, to avoid being sued.

And those who still want CDs? Well, I hope they’ll be able to find a place to buy them. God, the inventory online eclipses EVERY store. You can find OUT OF PRINT stuff online. This is bad?

According to the labels.

It’s like we’re living in a third world country, ruled by iron-fisted fascists, whose way of dealing with public unrest is through force and violence. Yup, a college student getting sued for file-trading faces violent upheaval in his life. But the copyright bullies don’t care. But those copyright bullies won’t continue to rule. How do I know? Because they’ve been cutting off their nose to spite their face. Trying to get everybody to pay CD prices, they’ve made music free. Good business model guys! Great way to incentivize your raw materials, writers and players. Yup, labels are NOTHING without composers and musicians. But they don’t seem to know this. Certainly the execs’ behavior evidences a belief that THEY’RE first. Whereas we all know the music comes first. Oh, the execs pay lip service. But it’s like Mafia Don going to church. It’s worthless.

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