25 replies
  1. Joe Maffei says:

    The idea is great, but it fails against the two main tendencies of the digital age:

    1. Anything that can be digitized will be;
    2. Anything that is digitized will, sooner or later, become public domain.

    CDs were first, now it’s DVDs. Television and movie industries must have seen it coming, so they came up with High-Definition technologies such as Blu-Ray discs that are less efficiently digitized and, therefore, impractical for sharing in the current state of the Internet.

    I don’t have the answer to saving the music industry and, as a musician, it bothers me. But this “music like water” idea is unlikely to work because, much like in 3rd world countries, the water lines will be rerouted to the slums — and we’ll be having this discussion again.

  2. Joe Maffei says:

    The idea is great, but it fails against the two main tendencies of the digital age:

    1. Anything that can be digitized will be;
    2. Anything that is digitized will, sooner or later, become public domain.

    CDs were first, now it’s DVDs. Television and movie industries must have seen it coming, so they came up with High-Definition technologies such as Blu-Ray discs that are less efficiently digitized and, therefore, impractical for sharing in the current state of the Internet.

    I don’t have the answer to saving the music industry and, as a musician, it bothers me. But this “music like water” idea is unlikely to work because, much like in 3rd world countries, the water lines will be rerouted to the slums — and we’ll be having this discussion again.

  3. kenny says:

    I like this idea but the big four would have to jointly develop a standard “pipeline” with protected/proprietary media formats and feed all their assets from present day to future into this system and nowhere else. Otherwise they leave the door open to P2P.

  4. AREYOUSERIOUS? says:

    I can’t believe you guys would support such a terrible concept. A complete sell out; I used to be your biggest fan. By nature, the music utility model kills any hope for music as an artform to continue to evolve. This is simply a bail out for the record labels – no different from the current Bear Stearns mortgage bail out situation. Just like the banking world this would make the industry nothing short of organized crime. This utility will go up year after year giving labels a guaranteed and ridiculous hoard of cash which they’ll use to continue to promote unoriginal ‘machine’ music. Whatever happened to real entrepreneurship which means taking a risk. Cowards. A simple calculation would give labels 3 times the best revenue year that they’ve ever seen and thereby will kill any incentive to try and aggressively discover and develop real and new talent. Geez, they’d could practically do nothing by living off this guranteed revenue with just the library of content from their old artists. Why would they ever consider all the overhead incurred by developing, producing, marketing, fronting a new act under this proposal. Im dumbfounded. COMPLETE BLASPHEMY!

  5. bulletholes says:

    Here’s What They’re Really Planning:

    The tax will not, in fact, be mandatory. But that is misleading – it won’t be mandatory for ISPs who provide Internet access to actual users. But if ISPs join the scheme, it will apply to all of their customers and be added to their bill as a surcharge.

    Why will ISP’s agree to this? Mainly to avoid liability. The core of the plan is a covenant not to sue anyone who pays the fee. Griffin touched on this in the article, saying ISPs will want to “discharge their risk” around file sharing that occurs over their networks.

    The rollout plan will hit colleges and universities first, who will simply add the fee to tuition bills so they won’t have to worry about getting dragged into lawsuits. Then Griffin will approach consumer ISPs. If an ISP joins, their users will not have the option of not paying, even if they don’t download music from the Internet. So, basically, the tax is only voluntary if you define avoiding it as not going to college, or using the Internet.

    The advertising-supported option is likely a red herring to satisfy critics, and would be dumped before the project launches. It just isn’t feasibly to try to aim advertising at users who are downloading music from BitTorrent and putting it on their iPod. There’s no touch point to force advertising down their throat.

    So the plan essentially comes down to telling ISPs that they can avoid any copyright infringement liability if they pay the fee on behalf of customers. And while the government wouldn’t be directly involved, the willingness of law enforcement agencies and the judicial system to enforce civil and criminal copyright infringement laws is the stick by which Griffin will convince ISPs to jump on board. It’s government endorsed extortion, nothing more and nothing less.

    The effects on innovation in music would be disastrous if such a scheme were ever to become reality. It’s clearly good for the music labels, who are facing their imminent extinction. For everyone else, though, this is the worst possible thing that could happen.

  6. bulletholes says:

    Here’s What They’re Really Planning:

    The tax will not, in fact, be mandatory. But that is misleading – it won’t be mandatory for ISPs who provide Internet access to actual users. But if ISPs join the scheme, it will apply to all of their customers and be added to their bill as a surcharge.

    Why will ISP’s agree to this? Mainly to avoid liability. The core of the plan is a covenant not to sue anyone who pays the fee. Griffin touched on this in the article, saying ISPs will want to “discharge their risk” around file sharing that occurs over their networks.

    The rollout plan will hit colleges and universities first, who will simply add the fee to tuition bills so they won’t have to worry about getting dragged into lawsuits. Then Griffin will approach consumer ISPs. If an ISP joins, their users will not have the option of not paying, even if they don’t download music from the Internet. So, basically, the tax is only voluntary if you define avoiding it as not going to college, or using the Internet.

    The advertising-supported option is likely a red herring to satisfy critics, and would be dumped before the project launches. It just isn’t feasibly to try to aim advertising at users who are downloading music from BitTorrent and putting it on their iPod. There’s no touch point to force advertising down their throat.

    So the plan essentially comes down to telling ISPs that they can avoid any copyright infringement liability if they pay the fee on behalf of customers. And while the government wouldn’t be directly involved, the willingness of law enforcement agencies and the judicial system to enforce civil and criminal copyright infringement laws is the stick by which Griffin will convince ISPs to jump on board. It’s government endorsed extortion, nothing more and nothing less.

    The effects on innovation in music would be disastrous if such a scheme were ever to become reality. It’s clearly good for the music labels, who are facing their imminent extinction. For everyone else, though, this is the worst possible thing that could happen.

  7. Peter Blue says:

    I’m an independent artist from Germany. I get publishing royalties from GEMA, as well as recording rights licenses from GVL for airplay.
    I know how difficult it is to track actual plays / downloads. If a radio station is only small, these companies don’t track the single plays; rather an overall fee is paid and then distributed among all artist in relation to their overall income.
    That simple means, that independent artist that are present on small stations won’t get paid. The money goes to the big names in the business.

    It would need an excellent system to really pay all artists for their actual plays / downloads.

    The experience with former mp3.com (does anybody remember?)shows that such a system attracts the cheaters. As mp3.com paid artists for their amount of plays / downloads, tricky people developed robots that generated huge amounts of plays / downloads. This finally destroyed that system.

    I wouldn’t mind a “music utility” if it would be good for independent artists as well.
    But who will control the system? I fear it will be controlled by the music industry.
    That would be the worst that could happen – monopoly.

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