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Article:
  Piracy is Progressive Taxation, and Other Thoughts on the Evolution of Online Distribution
Subject:   Online distribution
Date:   2003-04-28 07:26:36
From:   timoreilly
Response to: Online distribution

At this point, I agree that many people have been conditioned to think of music as free. But I think you overstate the case. In the early days of the Internet, everyone was conditioned to think of net access as free, but before long, they were all paying $20/month (or more) for it. In a similar way, once there is a market-priced service that people like, they will convert to the convenience of it.


You've got to remember that there is no legitiamate alternative to Kazaa and its ilk. 99 cents a song -- which pretty much preserves the pricing of CDs -- is not the answer, especially if it's coupled with copy protection. This is a new medium. But I'll bet that there is a profitable price that will spur demand, with a lot more freedom to sample and try new music.


I'll also point out that there are a lot of us who've suffered sales declines in the current downturn without the excuse of free redistribution of our product. What's more, George Riemann of Mac Wizards music has analyzed their sales figures and points out that the RIAA members have collectively produced significantly fewer releases in the past two years, and have actually pushed UP their revenue per SKU. So there's really something fishy about their claims that file sharing is the cause of their woes.


I am almost certain that all of the hand wringing is a delaying tactic till they can get their house in order, understand this market, and make their own offerings competitive. If they had more courage and leadership, they could be breaking the back of illegal file sharing today, by beating it at its own game.

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  • Online distribution
    2003-10-31 02:22:53  anonymous2 [View]

    i think there are two points that seem to be missed.one,thieves can't complain about pirates.being a musician i can tell you dozens of horror stories of bands that worked hard,got signed,had good sales,only to see not one cent in profit and to be told by their lawyer that they will never see a dime or even get the rights to their own songs back without a major lawsuit(and major upfront legal fees).if you think it's just dumb kids,remeber meatloaf had to sue for 17 years to get a lousy 7 mil for bat out of hell one,and that thing sold more product than tide!and there was no internet to cause "loss of sales".i get my music online(and freely offer my own)because i don't have a problem taking from thieves.the last album i purchased was the stones sticky fingers two years ago and it cost me MORE than when i bought it in 1985!There is no excuse for charging new prices for 30+ year old music and until the record corporations stop trying to extort new prices and treat the artists fairly(metallica gets $2.50 on a $22+cd?give me a break!i'll just keep downloading and support the artists i enjoy by going to their shows and buying straight from them. And i hope the big 5 go the way of the dinosaurs.one more thing,NO WAY am i paying a buck a song for old music.a dime to a quarter,maybe,but not as long as the riaa is going around suing 12 year olds and taking high school kids college funds.it's nothing but legalized extortion!give us money or we'll bust you.the only ones they'll bust is kids and the stupid.i've got my high speed going through enough proxies and firewalls all they'll find when they look for me is a server in hong kong.
  • Online distribution
    2003-06-18 22:09:04  anonymous2 [View]

    Isn't it ironic that we're talking about an industry where a majority of the time, the people who created the product, don't even end up owning the rights to make money with it, or do anything with it all? I know so many people who have had to buy their stuff back, so they can at least sell two dozen copies to faithful fans or whatever. The record company, after not adequately promoting it, would have just let it sit in a vault somewhere and die. So I mean, who's stealing from whom?
    You are right, this is only a threat to EXISTING companies. Those companies have been doing such a piss poor job. I think it went south when they never really came up with a decent replacement for the forty-five. One hit wonders were just what they were. You bought one hit, and that was it. To get someone to buy an entire album, you actually had to make a decent, or dare I say it, great one. And guess what? Those artists still have decent selling catalogues. Chances are they were nurtured along a little too. Elton made better albums over time, at least the first ten years anyway. Most of today's pop acts won't even produce a catalogue because the music won't stand the test of time. They got greedy when they knew they could force us to pay $14 for the single, or one good tune and nine crappy ones. Why does everyone think the NOW... MUSIC series does so well?

    They are blowin' it big time. They should analyze the service and do it better, faster. And don't give me this bull about teens not being able to afford it, or not respecting the music. When I was 18, I gladly forked over my portion of the cable bill every month because the "free" channels were just not gonna cut it for me or my roomates. And it was my waitressing money, not my parent's, paying for all my living expenses. Now I pay for satellite because basic cable doesn't cut it, and I want better service than what my crappy cable company seems to want to offer. The jury is out on the service quality of the satellite companies, but one can see my point. Which was also your point. The file sharing experience has much to be improved on.

    The current record companies have the means and the power to make such awesome downloading sights. They could provide access to so much of what they're already sitting on, and turn a profit on stuff that's already been recorded. They had to digitally remaster everything they've been willing to reissue on CD, why not make the entire motherload available?Why not make it a goal to make everything available, to design a sight that is convenient to use and affordable? Do it better.
    I mean, when I was fourteen, it didn't take me long to figure out that my own copy of EXIT STAGE LEFT or whatever was better than my friend's cassette recording off her stereo. I wanted my own copy, with the words and the art and all of it. That could all be incorporated into a web site. I think the record companies have lost sight of how to make things appealing. Everyone sees through the BS. People think they are being ripped off, and if you bought a CD in the last ten years hoping to have ten or twelve great tunes to listen to, or a great concept to check out, chances are, you were.

    Thanks for making some great points!