Neil Young sez: "Piracy is the new radio."

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percussion boy
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Post by percussion boy » Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:38 pm

Re used CDs:

I buy CDs, new or used, and make mp3s off them. If I sell the CD back to the store, I wipe the mp3s of that album off my computer.

The financial problem for the artist is when the mp3 of a song "multiplies" without payment to the artist for each new copy.

As Tom Waits said, if you could download a couch for free, furniture store would go out of business.
"The world don't need no more songs." - Bob Dylan

"Why does the Creator send me such knuckleheads?" - Sun Ra
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Jitters
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Post by Jitters » Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:42 pm

Yeah, now spotify needs to find it's way into my car.

Plus work out something with 'the holdouts'.

percussion boy
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Post by percussion boy » Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:51 pm

Re subscription services:

This has gotta be where things end up -- you pay something extra to your mobile device service every month, and in exchange you can access a big library of songs that can be downloaded to said mobile device. There would have to be some way to keep the files from being copied -- maybe a proprietary audio format using the mobile phone itself as the "dongle" for all the song files -- that way the average non-hacker can't get the files out of the phone to copy.

To pick up on what a previous poster said: The appeal of this is convenience: Everything under one roof, to grab from wherever you are.

The good and bad thing about this solution is that it lets the corporate music and communications industry "dip its beak," so to speak -- Verizon charges you an extra $10 a month, and you get, say, access to all of Warner and Sony's catalog and current released. For maybe $25 a month, you get a premium package with all the big labels and hundreds of little labels. The mp3s of all this stuff already exist, Amazon sells them.

Give the record companies a revenue stream, and they have money to invest in tour support, studio fees, and maybe even, God help us, artist development.

All this is predicated on improvements in downloand speed to wireless devices. Given a quick enough connection, you could presumably download all the music you wanted at 44-16 or even 24-96 wav quality, which is about all you'd ever need.

There is more money for big fat entertainment corporations to make this way than under the status quo. The question will be where the hardware development comes from.

Make sense?

[edited for clarity]
"The world don't need no more songs." - Bob Dylan

"Why does the Creator send me such knuckleheads?" - Sun Ra
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Post by Mudcloth » Thu Feb 09, 2012 10:51 pm

percussion boy wrote:If I sell the CD back to the store, I wipe the mp3s of that album off my computer.
You are the 1%. :)

I've said this before and I'll say it again:
We are in an industry in which the products we make can be replicated, ad infinitum.
That's not the best business to be in. Just think about that simple fact.
Expecting or hoping that people raise their children right, to not steal, is asking a lot. It's also not a pro-active solution to the problem. Quite frankly, there is no solution to the problem of people copying music. There just isn't. Offering something like Spotify is a step in the right direction, but the simple truth is that we are selling something that can be had for free. It's a terrible business to get into. Nobody is going to spend $30,000 to fill their 160 GB iPod.
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Post by chris harris » Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:20 am

Spotify already offers most of the major label stuff and tons of indie label stuff in a format (your mobile device) that's easy to listen to anywhere, for $10 per month. The holdouts are either misguided or greedy. It's a "profit sharing" model. So, the payouts will increase as it grows. Maybe Metallica doesn't like getting paid the same "per play" as an indie band like mine??

It's a cool interface. The intagration with iPhone (what I use) is great. You can choose whether to stream something you are just checking out, or sync it to your device if you plan to listen frequently or want to make it available on your device when you're "offline". It's much easier to use, and the quality of the audio is much more consistent and reliable than any p2p or "file sharing" alternative that I've ever seen. And it's waaaaaaay cheaper than "owning" enough audio files to fill your iPod.

It's also legal, ethical, and a fantastic way to cut through the p.r. Bullshit and discover music organically through thoughtful "sharing" with your actual friends and peers.

I've got very few, if any, complaints. And I can't imagine anyone making an even remotely rational argument for illegal downloading with such a convenient, affordable, ethical, and legal alternative available for such a reasonable price.

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Post by ubertar » Fri Feb 10, 2012 6:32 am

I think the idea of getting paid for ordinary use of recorded music (by ordinary use I mean just people listening to music, as opposed to using it as a soundtrack for a film, tv commercial, you tube video, etc.) is fading. Maybe what will replace it will be getting paid to create new music-- people who liked your previous work will chip in to support you to make more. Patronism.com works that way. I have a site there, but it's not active yet because they keep raising the bar for what you need to activate it-- you now need three videos making the pitch to become a patron. That's annoying. But the basic idea behind the site is good, I think, and it may be the direction things are heading.
Once people start seeing some of their favorite independent musicians getting day jobs and not making as much music, maybe they'll realize they play a role in this too, and need to pony up. Then again, maybe not. I think it's already true that a larger part of independent musicians' income will come from work-for-hire, like film scores, tv and radio ads, background music for tv, etc.
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Post by xrt99 » Fri Feb 10, 2012 9:52 am

leigh wrote:e.g. Spotify?

Some of their UI needs improvement, they don't pay musicians very much, and they have some big holes in their catalog (Beatles, Zep, and some other biggies). However as a service, I think Spotify has the high convenience factor that you rightly claim is needed to slay piracy in a capitalist battle.

Leigh

Edit: I just jumped in here and didn't see before that Spotify was already brought up. Regardless, I think it meets your criteria.
Yes but I think Spotify Premium has only breached the surface. With a push from iTunes match, Google music and other competitors, I think we're going to see this method of music consumption not just on our phones, but right on our car stereos, home theater systems, etc. When bandwidth will allow, I'm sure the audio quality will get even better.

It's definitely an interesting time in the industry. The future book that's written on this time period is going to be awfully fun to read.
'the difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones' - john maynard keynes

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Post by chris harris » Fri Feb 10, 2012 11:42 am

If the future of our business is panhandling bullshit like Kickstarter, then I'm out.
I think the future is affordable, convenient access. I'm kind of shocked that Apple hasn't brought the iOS platform to car entertainment systems yet. Then again, they've only dipped their toes into television, with a big splash reportedly coming soon.

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Post by Jeff White » Sat Feb 11, 2012 6:25 pm

The Spotify Premium model is the new radio. I immediately jumped on it. It rules. They have it set up so that you can log into your account anywhere, but limited to playing on a single device at a time. I'm sitting here listening to The Swirlies on my old Powerbook that's hooked up to my vintage hi-fi in my living room. If I'm at my location freelance design job I listen on my office iMac. I have it on my iPhone, my studio computer, my MacBook Pro. Damn, just buy an old used iPhone 3Gs for cheap as nuts, turn on wifi, and hook it up to a stereo as a permanent audio stream. It's now an option for listening that has definitely taken over for me. I still buy vinyl of stuff that I have to have, I buy Flac files off of Bandcamp, I buy used records, and I still load a small iPod Nano for my commute in the car (old pre-iPhone iPod hookup getting updated soon though). But now I go to my girlfriend's to cook dinner and use my or her iPhone and stream an amazing record through the little JBL iPhone speaker doc. She's not even using Pandora as much anymore because I've gotten her more and more into listening to albums instead of songs.

This is the future. Paying $10/month for guilt-free access and convincing everyone that you know to do the same in order to see royalties climb. And you can also write it off of your taxes if you are a professional engineer/musician.

Jeff
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Post by chris harris » Sat Feb 11, 2012 9:18 pm

^yep!^
Pretty much mirrors my experience.

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Post by ubertar » Sun Feb 12, 2012 6:39 am

Not everyone has or wants a "device" for listening to music.

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Post by fossiltooth » Sun Feb 12, 2012 7:25 am

Really fantastic discussion here. The only thing I feel I have to chime in on is Chris' comment that:
chris harris wrote:Laws won't fix it because they can't really be enforced.
I agree with a lot of what you've written here Chris, but I'd disagree on that point. When Sweden started a new enforcement campaign in 2009, record sales immediately shot up by 80% in its digital market, by 10% in its physical market and by 20% overall.

(As a side note, I think those percentages are a good reminder of just how powerful physical sales still are. So is this.)

The truth is that we have more ability to crack down on illegal file-sharing than ever before. Remember Megaupload? They made a ton of money helping others distribute stolen music.

The people propagating the myth that enforcement is just "too hard" are usually companies like Google that have a vested interest in making us believe that line.

As it stands today, I can put up your music on Google's YouTube and use it to generate traffic and revenue for myself (and for YouTube) for years before you realize it and send me a takedown notice. When YouTube and I finally do get that takedown notice, neither of us would owe you any back royalties for the traffic and revenue we earned on your work.

Can you imagine letting the old record labels get away with something like that? If Universal stole one of your songs, put it on a CD and got caught, could they get away with saying "Oh, oops, sorry, got me! We just won't press any more of those CDs. Here's your check for $0." We let Google get away with that every day.

Google complains that it would be too hard for them to effectively police their content, but I'm not so sure. They're one of the most profitable companies in the known universe, and they hire some very smart people.

If we pass the laws and start the enforcement, that creates a real incentive. Under those circumstances, you'd be amazed at how quickly such a brilliant company can figure out how to police its own content effectively and efficiently.

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Post by Bob Olhsson » Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:04 am

fossiltooth wrote:...
The truth is that we have more ability to crack down on illegal file-sharing than ever before. ...
The truth is that we have always had far more ability to crack down on illegal file-looting than people think. (It's time to stop using the consumer tech industry's message framing. We ARE talking about looting and not about sharing.)

The problem is a multi-billion dollar consumer technology industry that has never come up with a business model that is capable of sustaining the creation of new entertainment. It's built on "content" recycled from other income sources or volunteered by "users." In the log run, it's little more than a Ponzi scheme but nobody is willing to look the monster in the eye and call it out for the fraud that it actually is.
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Post by fossiltooth » Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:32 am

There's definitely some truth in that, Bob. As a culture, we've been sanctifying the multi-billion dollar web industry and giving them a free pass in a way we never did with the labels.

Like you, I think that's a giant mistake, and it's an idea that keeps showing up in my blog recently. I especially noticed it at the NY Tech Meetup this week. They see the world through a different lens for sure.

Most of them are very good people, but in reality, a lot of what sounds like well-meaning ideas turns out to be a lot of self-serving industry rhetoric upon closer examination. Many of the tech companies' complaints about the major labels' treatment of artists have some grounding in truth, for sure. But in the end it really boils down to a big ol' case of the-pot-calling-the-kettle-black.

If you want to see what a free-content entrepreneur really looks like, just take a peek at Kim Dotcom in his gigantic swimming-pool-sized bubblebath, looking a whole lot like the villain from Pee Wee's Big Adventure.

He's made almost two hundred million dollars on stolen work while paying out zero royalties to artists, essentially making the worst imaginable caricature of a major label exec seem like a dream come true.

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Post by chris harris » Sun Feb 12, 2012 12:47 pm

I agree. The people who thought they were "sticking it to the man" were really buying mansions and sports cars for douchebags like Kim Dotcom. On top of that, you had "artists" like Lupe Fiasco begging to get in on the action. Basically artists wanting to get in on ripping off artists.

What I meant was that it's nearly impossible to prevent some kid from "sharing" his digitized files with his friends, whether it's CD-Rs or some kind of hard drive transfer. The policing tech, regardless of corporate complicity, will have a hard time keeping up with young peoples' workarounds.

I'm all for shutting down the companies who facilitate it. Though, you have to be careful that bullshit like SOPA & PIPA don't infringe on our personal rights to distribute content that we have every legal right to distribute.

As far as whether or not you listen to music on a "device", I'm sorry but you're just wrong. Your device may be a turntable, in which case, you've probably already noticed your relatively limited options for music consumption. Or it may be a cd player, in which case you better maintain your existing model and prepare for the day that you won't be able to by new titles. The market doesn't care about your lack of interest in a digital music device. The world has changed and you're in a very small minority that it will soon no longer be cost effective to cater to.

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