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Unlimited Legal Music Downloads for $3.95 a Month? 244

Posted by Cliff
from the too-good-to-be-true dept.
fishmasta writes "I'm at a major university studying the music industry, so we get to regularly talk to executives in the major labels. In a recent talk with someone working at Warner Bros, she brought up an idea they want to try where all file sharing is legalized by paying $4-5 a month through an ISP, all downloads are permanent, and you can get them from any source, and do what you want with them. It seems like some in the industry are starting to 'get it.' I was just wondering what Slashdot thinks of this idea. Would you be willing to pay a small fee each month if you could get all the music you want and have no legal liability?"
El-Man has another take on that subject replacing "unlimited" with a set number of licenses: "I believe that people are basically honest (maybe a failing, but it's how I feel), and are quite happy to pay for something of value. With music downloads, the only solution the recording industry has come up with is wrapping digital files with onerous, incompatible DRM systems, suing those whom they say have illegally distributed music (what is it, 13000 people and counting? Surely the courts have better things to do!), and generally not doing themselves or music lovers any good. How about a system, whereby a user can purchase a license for [n] amount of digital music files? Numbers can be, 10, 50, 100, 200, etc. Doesn't matter what the files are, as long as the number is not exceeded. There'd be a lot of details to thrash out, but is this something that is ultimately workable?"

If you were an executive of a medium-to-large sized record company, how would you handle the potential of the Internet?
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Unlimited Legal Music Downloads for $3.95 a Month?

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  • Oh Canada... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Pig Hogger (10379) <pig.hogger@NoSpaM.gmail.com> on Monday January 30, 2006 @10:34PM (#14604157) Journal
    This is precisely the system we have in Canada, through a levy on blank media.
    • Goddamn Finland ... (Score:4, Informative)

      by halitus (172883) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @12:17AM (#14604733)
      In Finland there is also a levy on all blank media, but beginning from this year downloading from non-authorized sources became illegal nevertheless. Now we just continue to pay for the privilege which we can't even legally use. Big hooray for the EUCD (European Union Copyright Directive), or at least our implementation of it.

      This law was mostly forced on the parliament by our beloved culture minister (former Miss Finland), who insisted that the copyright law should promote just the copyright holders' interests, consumer rights are out of scope and should be addressed in consumer rights legislation (which is likely not going to be modified in near future at all).
    • Re:Oh Canada... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by mellon (7048) * on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @01:24AM (#14605006) Homepage
      Actually, that's not precisely the system you have. With the system you have, you pay the levy whether you use it or not, and whether you were otherwise entitled to the music or not (e.g., by buying it through iTMS or because you already paid for the CD).

      Personally, I find the idea of paying a levy on every piece of media I *could* use to pirate music repugnant. I do sound for a Dharma center where we have a lot of teachings; we record them and give them away for free. Having to pay a levy for an iPod or for CDs or whatever is completely unfair in this case - we aren't getting any of that money back when people copy our audio (nor do we want it - the audio is *supposed* to be free).

      Meanwhile, because of all the paranoia from the music industry, it's very difficult to record anything - there are so many attempts to close the analog hole and to avoid perfect copies that, to this day, it is a struggle to get any kind of usable equipment that works for us - e.g., something where you push "record" and you get a clean digital recording. If you have the bucks for really expensive pro gear this isn't out of the question, but all of the sub-$1k equipment is deliberately crippled.
      • Re:Oh Canada... (Score:2, Informative)

        by Pig Hogger (10379)

        Actually, that's not precisely the system you have. With the system you have, you pay the levy whether you use it or not, and whether you were otherwise entitled to the music or not (e.g., by buying it through iTMS or because you already paid for the CD).

        Er, no. The copyright act does not says that you have to OWN the work you copy. And the supreme court said it's okay to share music for downloading on a P2P system.
        Nice try, industry shill.

        Meanwhile, because of all the paranoia from the music industry

      • "Personally, I find the idea of paying a levy on every piece of media I *could* use to pirate music repugnant."

        Is it worse than suing children and grandmothers after they download a few songs... or don't download them as the case may be?
      • by elrous0 (869638)
        Hey, I find it repugnant to pay for courts and prisons even though I've never committed a crime (and schools to teach everyone else's damn kids, even though I don't have any). But that's just the way it goes.

        -Eric

    • So does that mean that you can download anything you want and there is no liability? Or can you only legally use the blank CDs to make copies of songs you have paid for, something you shouldn't need to pay for again. These media levies(tax) remind me of the bullshit taxes on illegal drugs. See http://www.norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=6670 [norml.org]
      • So does that mean that you can download anything you want and there is no liability? Or can you only legally use the blank CDs to make copies of songs you have paid for, something you shouldn't need to pay for again.
        No, you can copy stuff you borrow from friends or the library (I myself have more than 4000 copied songs on a server at home, all legally copied from library CDs or downloaded from the net), and share on P2P, thanks to recent Supreme Court decisions.
    • Re:Oh Canada... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by A beautiful mind (821714) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @04:11AM (#14605453)
      and in Hungary. Except that I don't buy blank media, just harddrives. They don't tax them here with that levy.
    • Repeating myself (http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=96729&ci d =8272631 [slashdot.org])

      In the United States, you have every right [cornell.edu] to get together with friends and make copies of music on analog tape, or digital copies of music on digital audio recording equipment. This is per the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992 [wikipedia.org].

      I'm not sure what this means about copying a CD someone else bought to a tape, but copying a CD for a friend using digital audio equipment and audio cds is perfectly legal, and copying an audio tape to a
  • Yes. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jersey_emt (846314) on Monday January 30, 2006 @10:35PM (#14604162) Homepage
    I would gladly pay $5 a month for unlimited, non-DRMed music. Heck, I already pay $5 amonth for DRM'ed downloads (Yahoo! Music Unlimited).
    • I think a lot of people would gladly pay a small monthly fee if it was an option. I know in my younger years I was easily spending upwards of $100 per month on CDs, so it would have been an excellent deal to me then. Sadly, I don't think that is what Warner Bros mean. I suspect they want to levy a compulsory charge on all internet connections.
      • Small price to pay to get the RIAA to shut the Hell up. For that matter, I'd gladly throw in another $5 if the MPAA would shut the Hell up too.

        -Eric

  • by musonica (949257) on Monday January 30, 2006 @10:36PM (#14604164) Homepage
    But I don't see how the artists can make money from such a scheme after the labels take 90% of the profits?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      It's worse than that. You'd be paying the big record companies a welfare check every month, even while they become less and less relevant. The payment would not actually be tied to which music you found worthwhile enough to pay for - you could be downloading entirely independent artists that don't get a cent from their mortal enemies, the big record companies - but you'd still be paying the executives wages while the artists starved.

      This is, most likely, what the record companies are going to wind up asking
      • The payment would not actually be tied to which music you found worthwhile enough to pay for

        Sure, it may not be very accurate distributing your $5 payment to the right artists, but in aggregate such a system is surprisingly accurate. Nielsen Soundscan already tracks paid downloads. It wouldn't be hard for them to track popularity of P2P downloads too.
        • by Crspe (307319) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @02:18AM (#14605171)
          Nielsen Soundscan already tracks paid downloads. It wouldn't be hard for them to track popularity of P2P downloads too.

          However what happens to the tracking if the artists themselves decide to boost their income by having bots download their songs as often as possible?

          Tracking P2P downloads is probably simple and accurate as long as noone is profiting directly from the results. As soon as an individuals salary is completely dependant on these figures then I think it will get much more difficult to ensure the correctness of the results - it is too easy for people to influence.
          • by gnasher719 (869701) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @06:58AM (#14605885)
            '' However what happens to the tracking if the artists themselves decide to boost their income by having bots download their songs as often as possible? ''

            That should be no problem. Lets say everybody pays x dollars a month, and lets say three dollars of everyone's payments is to be distributed to the artist. If all you download in one month is one Britney Spears song, she gets your three dollars. If you download her song tenthousand times, she gets three dollars. If you download ten different songs, everyone gets 30 cents, if you download 1000 different songs, everyone gets 0.3 cents.

            The bot can only produce three dollars of income to an artist, but it needs an ISP address where more than three dollars are paid, so it is a net loss.

            What would be dangerous is a virus that gets copied on many machines of paying consumers and downloads stuff they don't want.
    • But I don't see how the artists can make money from such a scheme after the labels take 90% of the profits?


      They'll make the same they do from CD sales, which is nearly zero. If an artist makes money it's from licensing, publishing, merchandise and touring.
    • Well let's make a few assumptions after we get some facts out of the way.

      The RIAA, for 2004, reported about $12BN in total music sales [riaa.com], including CDs, Cassettes, Vinyl LPs, and any other form of physical media. (Note: According to the RIAA, the average CD sold for $14.90 --- that's tremendously high!) This does not include any download sales, nor does it include concerts, artist merchandise, licensing songs for movies, commercials, etc. This is basically what American consumers gave to the RIAA.

      (Note: I do
      • Will there still be $1 billion in music sales even if you can download for "free"?

        I have several problems with the all-u-can-eat buffet ...How about: When the RIAA gets their welfare cheque will they still have any interest in producing music (i.e. the much vaunted incentive is gone)
        Currently the RIAA has two tasks:

        1. Find and/or fabricate artist(s) and promote them.
        2. Distribute physical media for a profit.

        They don't produce content: Artists do, and always will.
        The problem for the RIAA is that interne

    • But I don't see how the artists can make money from such a scheme after the labels take 90% of the profits?

      Sure they can: If an artist puts 10 songs on a CD that sells for $15, it comes to $1.50 a song. The label takes its profit, and the artist takes the rest. That's the way it works now, no?

      Artists have to churn out songs one after another to keep a steady income. Most just can't keep up. Result? CDs filled with crappy songs that cost way too much.

      Fast-forward a bit. Now, the record labels have figu
  • I don't get it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pHatidic (163975) on Monday January 30, 2006 @10:36PM (#14604166)
    In a recent talk with someone working at Warner Bros, she brought up an idea they want to try where all file sharing is legalized by paying $4-5 a month through an ISP


    Isn't this basically just stealing from people who don't illegally download music off the Internet? Because basically you have to pay whether you download songs or not. I don't download copyrighted music anymore, but if Warner keeps advocating stealing from me I just might start stealing from them again in retaliation.

    • Re:I don't get it (Score:4, Insightful)

      by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Monday January 30, 2006 @11:02PM (#14604315)
      Isn't this basically just stealing from people who don't illegally download music off the Internet?

      How so? Just have it as an extra cost item in your service.
      "Do you want to include the $3.95 music download fee in your broadband subscription? []Yes []No"

      If my broadband bill went from $50 to $54, AND included actual, legal, reliable, fast downloads? Hell yes.

      Not that this will happen anytime soon, but yeah,I would.

      • Levies don't work like that. It's an all-or-nothing deal, just like the few pennies we pay to the RIAA for every blank CD we buy even if it's only used for data.
      • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Trogre (513942) on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @12:32AM (#14604794) Homepage
        At first I thought "hell yes, this is what I've been waiting for!"

        But then I considered this:

        Where does that $3.95 or $10 or whatever go? Directly to the RIAA, and filtered down to the actual label and eventually the artist.

        Now what happens to all the minor labels, the ones that aren't part of the RIAA? I'm not talking about companies like Magnatune that distribute low-bitrate recordings for free, but labels that charge per download?

        Since this initiative will inevitibly result in an "I've paid my monthly dues so I can download any music for free" meme, the small labels will be forced to either give the music away for nothing or join the RIAA to get a piece of the pie. Of course this will effectively give the RIAA a total monopoly on music dollars.

        I'm not saying free downloads are necessarily a bad thing, but it's just something to consider.

        • Re:I don't get it (Score:3, Interesting)

          by YrWrstNtmr (564987)
          I'm not saying free downloads are necessarily a bad thing, but it's just something to consider.

          I guess it depends on what was meant by 'download'. If they're talking about downloading from the current (or something similar) P2P programs, i.e. off some dudes hard drive, then no way I'd pay money for that. You'd still be left with the all too common partial files, mislabeled files, slooooow downloads, etc.

          Now, if it was something like emusic.com used to be. All you can eat legal mp3's, for a flat fee, then h

        • Re:I don't get it (Score:2, Informative)

          by VoxCombo (782935)
          It would make sense to go through ASCAP, BMI, and/or SESAC - the organizations that collect and distribute performance royalties (royalties for radio play and any public use of music). They already have an infrastructure built up for this sort of thing, and their methods are generally regarded as fair.
  • If it actually rendered all mp3s legal and copyright liability-free, I'd be happy to pay that tax. I hope it would make music easier to find, too. I can't even get my hands on the Mister Rogers theme song. How sad is that?
  • If.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by countach (534280) on Monday January 30, 2006 @10:42PM (#14604209)
    Yes I would pay IF I could easily obtain good high quality mp3s. Half the mp3s on limeware are rubbish - skips, and other flaws. If you're going to pay you need guaranteed quality.
    • Translation: the clueless need not apply.
      You think $5 is going to buy you tech support to go with that get-out-of-jail-free card?

      Cripes.. some people's sense of entitlement just blows me away sometimes..
  • I think the "pay $4-5 to make it all legal" idea would only work if all record labels participated, and all ISPs participated. You'd have to basically force every ISP to add this "music-download tax," and implement it across the board... otherwise customers are going to be flocking to the competition that doesn't include this tax, and continue downloading things for free.

    Really, we're all whiny brats when it comes to our cable bills, so few of us (especially us poor college kids) are going to be ok with a $
    • But then you're also taxing those who aren't downloading MP3s. I don't download illegal content with my connection. Why should I have to pay an extra $5 a month. Especially since that $5 will be split between all the artists under this program, and not go directly to the artists that I want to support. If they could devise a system whereby the money I pay goes to the bands I like, then it may work. But I still think it's a stupid idea. Either the money would be split up evenly between the artists, and
    • I just was thinking when I read this sentence in the summary: How about a system, whereby a user can purchase a license for [n] amount of digital music files?

      What if we just ran our mp3's voluntarily through a program that would say "ok, you've got 500 mp3 tracks - you need a $400 license. If you can not afford the license please remove tracks to reach your goal" and that is it. Don't actually force anyone to do anything - just suggest it. Put it out there, see if it works. People might just start paying fo
    • '' I think the "pay $4-5 to make it all legal" idea would only work if all record labels participated, and all ISPs participated. You'd have to basically force every ISP to add this "music-download tax," and implement it across the board... otherwise customers are going to be flocking to the competition that doesn't include this tax, and continue downloading things for free. ''

      Instead of making it a "download-tax", why not make it a license to posess music, no matter where it comes from? My model would be s
  • No (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Call Me Black Cloud (616282) on Monday January 30, 2006 @10:43PM (#14604221)

    There is no way for the money to get back to the artist. This plan only benefits the labels. Perhaps they can survey the P2P networks and get a sample of what's being searched for, then pay the artists accordingly. This will ensure the popular artists get the money while those with fewer fans get the shaft. At least by getting DRMed music, in theory the provider can accurately track whose music is being downloaded and thus compensate the artists.
  • $3-$4/month for file sharing? fuck yes.

    $3/$4 per month per RIGHTS holder? Fuck no.
    • by ZachPruckowski (918562) <zachary.pruckowski@gmail.com> on Monday January 30, 2006 @11:43PM (#14604544)
      $3-$4/month for file sharing? fuck yes.
      $3/$4 per month per RIGHTS holder? Fuck no.


      There it is. They're talking only about one label. Assuming all the labels went for this, it'd be a pretty penny for the 4-5 big ones, and then a lesser sum for the smaller ones.

      That's one of the main advantages of piracy, as I see it. Pirates can get all the content in one place, and as we've seen with TV stuff, it's almost more work to track down which network is with which service, and getting an iTMS and Google Video account, and have to manage 4-5 accounts. If the content industries united behind 2-3 stores that had all the content, it'd help them fight piracy a lot.
  • by denissmith (31123) * on Monday January 30, 2006 @10:45PM (#14604230)
    I don't know if this is the right price, and the details need refinement, but in a word, yes. This is a good idea, but there needs to be a mechanism for artists to get adequately compensated. The notion that the RIAA members would get to decide how the artists got paid out of this is far more frightening than P2P. The record executives used to be thought of as close to mafiosi, but we now know they are much,much worse.
    • The notion that the RIAA members would get to decide how the artists got paid out of this is far more frightening than P2P

      C'mon, you're smarter than that. The RIAA has serious faults, but this is not one of them. They sign contracts with their artists. The artists obviously thought it was a good deal or they wouldn't have signed. If you're going to bitch, bitch about the right things.

      Would your rather have all of a grape or a slice of watermelon? [slashdot.org]

    • France is debating something similar, under heavy protest from the labels, they call it the "culture flatrate", essentially they want to make it legal for a private person to without limit swap music, assuming the person paid his "culture flatrate".

      Makes a lot of sense to me. More sense than suing everyone in existence anyway.

  • It sounds like the $4 fee would have to be a mandatory fee that anyone with an internet connection would pay. That's the only way the system would work well for the recording industry given the low price. I don't think it's fair that people who never download music should be forced to subsidize those that do. I already pay enogh for internet access. If I wanted a subscription music service, I could choose to pay for it from a number of providers, and the DRM doesn't bother me because I'm just renting the mu
  • ...for your car.

    Might even work in the short term. But the recording industry is already dead--the body just hasn't stopped twitching yet, is all.

    How to pay people to create ``intellectual property'' is going to be quite a challenge. Unless somebody comes up with something better, we're stuck as using the ``property'' itself as a loss leader to sell tickets to concerts, lectures, and the like on the one hand and commissions / works for hire on the other. Both are the traditional models that worked for c

    • How many scientist would become worthless because while they are extremely skilled researchers, are horrendous public speakers?

      One of the advancements of society is the delegation and specialization of work. IOW, people are rewarded for doing what they are good at. We don't make the entire cast, crew, and support of every motion picture tour the nation looking for hand outs. And who has time to go to all of the speaking engagements for the 3rd shift graphical editor of the Star Wars trilogy?

      The person holds
  • I'm Skeptical (Score:3, Insightful)

    by YourBlueRoom (945359) on Monday January 30, 2006 @10:48PM (#14604240) Homepage
    First, and perhaps I'm too cynical, but I have a hard time believing the same industry people that set retail prices for a single CD at $18 would be willing to sell an unlimited (or even reasonable) number of songs for a flat fee per month. Second, the artists themselves will probably not like it, because it would change the economics for how they get paid. If Britney Spears has the #1 selling album, she's probably entitled to more money than your local indie band (though I'd argue which is actually worth more, ha). Is the industry going to have some sort of tracking in place to determine what is the most popular? Would this even be possible on such a large scale without any sort of DRM in place? Third, there are those that scoff at paying one red cent for their music. I personally don't get it, but no matter how pretty the package or distribution model is, these people won't bite, and they'll destroy any potential for the rest of us. Hopefully I'm wrong!
  • the record labels financially. There are many many more people connected to the internet every month that would be paying $4-5 for this usage tax than there are illegal file sharers, and suing file sharers doesn't recoup anywhere near the real or inflated costs of downloading copyrighted music. Lawyers, court costs, etc, avg. settlement. I personally don't download very much off p2p content wise, and when I do it's usually to backup songs on damaged cds. If I were being handed a mandatory license to go hog
  • by Paddo_Aus (700470) on Monday January 30, 2006 @10:50PM (#14604254)
    Any system which doesn't involved the money paid by the consumer being attributed to the artist who creates the work is flawed. If I pay my 5 dollars, and download 30 songs, does the system ensure that all 30 artists get compensated with a proportion of my payment? And why should an artist get less for their effort just because I want to have 30 songs this month instead of 5? The major problem with the current system is that the record label is getting so much more than the artist, then the RIAA is trying to invent schemes to increase income which doesn't relate back to the artists. If the RIAA actually supported artists instead of the big labels, people might care what they have to say.
  • Absolutely not (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RingDev (879105) on Monday January 30, 2006 @11:11PM (#14604363) Homepage Journal
    Socializing the entertainment industry will not improve the consumer experience.

    1) They (WB) can not remove all liability for all music, because they don't own the rights on all music. They can remove the liability for their music but that's it.

    2) The market would no long drive the industry. who determines which royalties to pay? Some execs get to chop 90% off the top then spread the last 10% across admin and authors? What happens the the lesser known bands?

    3) This removes all incentive for labels to pick up new artists. Why add more music to a $4.95/month library when you can spin off a subsidiary label and release new music under it. Then once that library has grown for a few years, release it under another $5/month contract. Now the consumer is coughing up $10/month for full access to both labels, not to mention any competitor labels.

    All round this is a bad idea. Get the industry to agree on a standardized DRM (See JE at:http://ask.slashdot.org/~RingDev/journal/126947 ), and make it easier for consumers to get legal content then illegal.

    It's all a matter of convenience. If consumers have a choice between paying $1 for a song, or downloading it for free with the risk of being sued, the vast majority will go for the $1 option. Provided the $1 version is compatible with all of their entertainment equipment (Windows, Linux, home entertainment, xbox, ps3, car stereo, etc...)

    -Rick
  • The EFF [eff.org] calls it Voluntary Collective Licensing of Music File Sharing [eff.org].
    It has many similarities to what is described in the article, and I think it is a solution that is best for everyone. Lawrence Lessig [lessig.org], in Free Culture [free-culture.cc] (a great, freely downloadable book on related subjects), calls it a chimera. It is wrong to rob the artists, but it is also wrong for the RIAA to treat their fans as criminals. The solution is in the middle, and I think the collective licensing idea is it.
    • The CCLI system for churches works like this. Churches pay an annual fee for a CCLI licence, and then they can choose the music they want to use in their services without having to worry about copyright. THey keep records of what songs are used each week and the composers are paid out of the pool.

      I think that's how it works anyway.
    • by MsGeek (162936) on Monday January 30, 2006 @11:35PM (#14604497) Homepage Journal
      Someone mod this up.

      And let me also mention that there are perfectly good agencies in existence to collect this "compulsory license," to use the term in US Federal law that made those horrible Radio "pirates" legal. ASCAP. BMI. SESAC. There are others, but those are the biggies. Most musicians who keep their publishing rights (as opposed to those who have signed them away as part of their record deal) are members of one of those three.

      My husband's publishing is collected by BMI. They haven't done anything much *for* him, but they haven't done anything *against* him.

      A "compulsory license" would cut the gordian knot of "piracy" and obviate the need for Digital Restrictions Management.

      However, the RIAA and MPAA actually want MORE. They want to be able to collect RENT [wikipedia.org] on your music. And this is beyond the pale.
  • Just like the subject says: I'm an independant musician; how do I get my cut?
  • by dada21 (163177) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Monday January 30, 2006 @11:28PM (#14604466) Homepage Journal
    I'm starting a studio in Chicago, Illinois this spring: No Copyright Studios. We've started to take in donations and investments, and are hoping to open our doors in very late spring if not sooner (considering the equipment we're getting, it should be sooner). I hope to be a future medium-sized label exec by repudiating copyright and focusing on bands that have a real value in live shows versus CD sales.

    I believe that music has some interesting profit incentives when it is played live. We've looked into all sorts of value-added options for those live venues, including the following:

    * Buy the official CD, get a free ticket to a private show.
    * Buy the official CD, get a login to view the band in the studio for a set period of time
    * After the live show, purchase a real-time edited sound-board fed DVD of the show
    * Buy practice time with the band
    * Let anyone else play the song live if you like, but we'll make sure we find out who performed what and when, and advertise that we're the co-op that created the music.

    I don't believe in any intellectual property. In the last 6 months, I have attended almost 50 live shows in the Chicago Indie, Punk and alternative scene. I've met over 75 bands who have admitted that copyright has done jack for their income, and they were always better off giving away the recorded music in exchange for getting people into the shows. If you're a musician and you want to earn an income, is it better for the top 10 in the country to make $10,000,000 because they're the main earners for those who control the distribution networks? Or would you rather see 1,000 bands locally who can generate $100,000 each?

    There is a lot of money out there to be made when you take out the copyright cartel companies from the market. I firmly believe that bands can make money if they realize the supply and demand forces at work can not be manipulated. Taking advantage of supply and demand is the best way to go about it. MP3 = near infinite supply = $0. Live music = limited supply = income. QED.
    • I believe that music has some interesting profit incentives when it is played live.

      There are some musical genres that cannot very well be performed live, as they rely on heavy digital manipulation of sound. (I mean "electronic" music genres, not pitch-correcting pop stars' voices.) Do you just claim that your label is not for them? And what about fans who can't get into places where live music is performed because they are too young to attend bars and there are few or no all-ages venues in a given geogr

    • dada21 said:

      I don't believe in any intellectual property.

      Are you sure about that? If so, then I suppose you won't mind if the major labels come along and take anything that your artists create that they (the labels) like without permission or compensation and just go ahead and call it their own...right?

      Because if your company truly is "No Copyright", then that means everything that your artists make will be Public Domain, which means the public can use it however they want...

      Perhaps you should rethink t

    • While that's great for you and the bands you'll be working with, please don't give the impression that it's a model which can work for all performers and types of music. There's a lot of music which simply can't be performed live, and bands which wouldn't be able to spend the necessary time in the studio to create great works if they had the pressure of touring to worry about (or recover from).

      Case in point: the Beatles gave up touring in order to spend time developing their music. They simply wouldn't

  • A persons musical taste, band/artist loyalty and freedom to use the purchased content how- and where-ever wanted, is much greater than the brand or label that is controlling or selling the content. If I can find music I like that I can appreciate, or one of my favorite artists/bands in MP3/OGG format on the Internet for free (most liberal freedom of use), I will be a happy consumer. If I also want to support the artists/bands, then I will purchase from iTunes (fairly liberal freedom of use with DRM). In ab
  • How about I promise NOT to download anything in the Warner catalog, unless THEY PAY ME $3-4 a month.

    The big 4 (or is it 5) are simply grasping at straws to maintain control, first it will be $5 a month voluntary, then it will be "included" in the service that is $5 more. Suddenly they are squeezing ISPs for more, and the little guys, the small bands and small labels will continue to get jack out of the system. But now the average home user will think "I pay so I can have anything" even if the money all go
  • Yes (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Neurotoxic666 (679255) <neurotoxic666NO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Tuesday January 31, 2006 @12:18AM (#14604742) Homepage
    Would you be willing to pay a small fee each month if you could get all the music you want and have no legal liability?

    Yes. And I already am. I am paying for my internet access and the CDs and DVDs I buy are levied because I am expected to be pirating music/movies with them.

    Because I am considered guilty anyway and because I have paid my debt through various levies, I do not expect to have any legal liability. Thank you.

    • the CDs and DVDs I buy are levied because I am expected to be pirating music/movies with them.

      Well then, I guess you have carte blanche for shoplifting too, since part of the price you pay in a store is to cover the percentage of people that are going to steal merchandise.

      Incidentally, people like to bitch about the "blank CD tax" a lot, but the fact is that (in the USA) it only applies to the branded "Audio CDs" not the data CD-Rs that 99% of us use.
  • Warner Bros. Music:

    Interestingly enough, I'm sure most Slashdotters have seen the article about Warner Bros. trying a P2P DVD download service in Germany; this question indicates that they are thinking of really trying to branch out, but that their music and movie departments don't see eye to eye. From the DVD article, Warner Bros. wants you to pay the exact same amount for a download and a DVD. The problem is that the download is lower quality, takes much longer to download than a song, will likely be ebcu
  • Think of it this way...

    $5/mo

    10M P2P users in the US and Canada, not including BT (via Slyck and BigChampaigne). Possibly more.

    Thats $50M USD PER MONTH in revenue direct to the labels AT VERY LITTLE COST (just the cost of collecting the money from the ISP). For the math impaired that is $600M/yr. Certainly more than they could ever hope to raise through lawsuits.

    And as long as new releases are released with some sort of incentive to buy it (perhaps discounts on concert tickets, DualDiscs, etc), CD sales wont
    • You're acting like this would be voluntary: "cancel the fee"

      I guarantee that this would be applied to each and every "broadband" (ie: always on, regardless of how slow) internet connection, whether you download a single file or not. This, of course, eliminates the problem you suggest. It also eliminates a big accounting/billing bureaucracy that would have had to have been created to manage the system you described.
  • by wikinerd (809585)
    I do not listen to any music, but even if I did, I would prefer to donate some money directly to the creator of the music, instead of making record labels owners rich. Gift economy could work, as long as the participants honestly agree to sharing.
  • So a label comes up with a great sounding plan. But a lot of details about this $4-$5/month idea were left unsaid. It sounds like it's voluntary and opt-in, but is it? The music industry has shown they do not negotiate in good faith.

    We can do better. As part of setting up any deal: 1) The RIAA will immediately cease all legal proceedings against music fans, apologize, return the thousands of dollars in settlements they've extorted, grant amnesty to everyone, promise not to start any new cases, and po

  • Would this $4 license fee make the downloaded songs legal for eternity or just for that one month?
    If it is time-limited than this is just a trap. Either:

    A. Download songs, pay increased license fee of $400 a month.

    B. Download songs, don't renew license, get sued for any song not deleted.
  • This reminds me of the UK TV license, for those outside the UK: we have to pay a set amount* each year if we have any equipment capable of receiving and displaying TV signals - this cash goes to the BBC so that we don't have adverts etc on the BBC channels. However, if you do not possess a TV and therefore don't have a license you get a letter every month or so saying that your property doesn't have a license and they'll be sending men around to check that you don't have a TV.

    Is this download license goi
  • While admittedly this specific suggestion is probably not a good idea (bit hard to tell without the details), I'm glad to see some thinking going on in the music industry.
    Of the many things wrong with the music and movie industries at the moment, the one that worrys me most is that there is no long-term thinking going on. Technology has, basically, destroyed their business model, which largely comprises distributing recorded performances. Now that any bozo with a copy of Garageband and a web page can do thi
  • by omega9 (138280)
    If you haven't already check out Bleep [bleep.com], the online music store for several cool labels who's artists include Aphex Twin [wikipedia.org], Boards of Canada [wikipedia.org], and Venetian snares [wikipedia.org], among hundreds of others.

    You can preview any part of any song, choose your download format, and everything is nicely tagged for you. Oh, and no DRM.

    And I don't work for Bleep, I've just given them a shitload of money.

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