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$19.95 a month for Music, 13 more channels of...

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Sep. 5th, 2007 | 12:43 pm

I've been seeing the comments from Rick Rubin pop up all over
the web about the iPod.

"The iPod will be obsolete, but there would be a Walkman-like device"

In a way I agree with him. Paying for a service and having access to
everything is nice.

But what I do not see is how in this model do artists, especially new
artists, make money?

I can not see the music industry giving the artists much of a cut of
this stream, and I certainly don't see them doing a weighted system
that encourages some bands to take a larger portion of the pie.
Looking at $19.95 I see how the labels make money, but the artist?

If I am a new artist why do I want to be a part of this network.
Exposure? Easy access to my music so more people know about me and
come buy t-shirts and listen to me live?

If that is the case why wouldn't the artist just upload all of the
tracks and give them away. Encourage niche radio stations.

The labels can afford to just live off their catalogues. Just publish
what they have and extend it with small bits and pieces here and
there. This would be much cheaper then the system they have today.

To do any of this the labels will have to have a combined system to
sell, since no one is going to want to subscribe to a dozen systems
just to hear their favorite bands. Their bickering over the "single"
pipe will take a while. Especially since they aren't going to want to
give any one company control of the channel.

The music industry makes less and less sense everyday.

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Comments {5}


Cultural Commons

from: suddenlynaked
date: Sep. 6th, 2007 04:27 pm (UTC)

I went and read the NYT article about Rubin. Interesting guy. I hope he fails. The reason the majors want a subscription model is precisely because they can control the distribution channels again. I may be somewhat strange in that I've never bought cable television. If I want to see a movie I'll go rent one, but I prefer to to pay as I go rather than buy a subscription service. The subscription model has creates a tendency to rely on what they feed you. Sure you can choose anything in the library, but today's top ten brought to you by BMG is on top.

If we can manage to preseve net neutrailty, I think artists will stand a chance of eeking out a living. Among many other reasons the majors are hurting is that any kid who can pull off a summer job has access to technology that is pretty much better than the Beatles used to record Sgt. Pepper. With loops, and really affordable software just about any would-be musician can get their ideas across. Most of those idea will be sucky, but music is full of one hit wonders.

Up until recordings made music transportable, you either made music yourself, or went to listen to someone else make it. Sometimes you paid to listen to someone perform, but for the vast majority of human existence, music has been a cultural commons. No one "owns" John Barleycorn - we ALL own it, becuase you can't own an idea, only the chattel that it may produce. Musical ideas produce soundwaves that pretty much disappear as soon as they're created.

We've got 80 years of radio that broadcast music for free - sure it was paid for by ads that we put up with, but most of the time we didn’t think about the ads as payment, we're waiting for the next song. The industry is doing everything it can to promote the idea that file sharing is stealing, and the reason they're losing the battle is that they're trying to own something that can't really be owned, and maybe shouldn't. File sharing is just another version of broadcast radio, except everyone is a broadcaster and a reciever.

ANYONE can make their own Sgt Pepper - artists are going to have convince people that what they do is worth paying for. People will pay for it if they want to support the artists, but it's entirely possible that we're moving into a time where the job of convincing people to pay falls onto the artist - not some former accountant in a toilet making company that gets "promoted" when Vivendi buys Atlantic Records.

I hope we're watching the death of the majors. We'll see.

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