The New Economics of Music
Economist Umair Haque explains why the music industry is so vulnerable to piracy and how to fix it. He argues that consumers download music because buying an album comes with a great element of risk because the record label provides no guarantee of quality. In most industries the cost of a product is an indication of quality, but the music industry has near-uniform costs. Umair suggests new pricing models to reduce this element of risk. Bubble Generation, February 15, 2008read more
Insiders talk free music at MidemNet
Music industry and technology insiders met in Cannes to discuss the future of free music at the annual MidemNet forum. Many of the participants said “they believe that subscription-based or advertiser-based business models are the answer.”
Author: Ray Bennett
Source: The Hollywood Reporter, January 27th read more
Recording Industry Should Brace for More Bad News
The exodus of big-ticket artists like Robbie Williams from EMI could be an indicator of things to come. The author argues that traditional labels are becoming obsolete as consumer habits change.
Author: Wayne Rosso CNET News, January 18, 2008 read more
…but asking people to pay for them is another story. At least according to Trent Reznor, whose recent label-free, download-only release of Saul Williams’ The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust resulted in “disappointing” sales — even at the suggested $5 price point. (Williams, on the other hand, seems satisfied.)
As this interview with Mr. Reznor in CNET points out, five bucks is around the cost of a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder. And these days, it’s not much more than a gallon of gas. For a full-length album of higher-than MP3 quality. read more
The political statement may be that the system is broken. And that the layers and layers of bureaucracy, and all the different gatekeepers that have been in the middle between musicians and music fans — well that goes away. Now, that doesn’t mean that this is the solution — this sort of voluntary tip jar model where everything’s available for free and people pay for it if they want to pay for it. That’s not a long-term, systematic solution for the challenges of how artists get paid in the future.
It’s been almost two months since Comcast’s regulation of BitTorrent traffic was first revealed by the Associated Press, inciting an Internet-wide call to arms for proponents of network neutrality. In case you haven’t been following the story, it was revealed that Comcast was “actively interfering” with traffic on its network, using a technique known as packet-forging to disrupt traffic relating to BitTorrent applications — including the Gnutella peer-to-peer sharing client and IBM’s Lotus Notes groupware application (used by businesses for sharing calendars, emails and other files).
Here at FMC, we talk a lot about how technology and policy affect music, but not so much about what music actually sounds like in this digital era. Advances in technology now allow artists to create major-label quality recordings in their bedrooms, and the MP3 is quickly becoming the consumer audio standard. What does this mean for musicians, fans and audiophiles?
An article published in the 2007 wrap-up issue of Rolling Stone offers a hint. The piece is about how listener preference for MP3s is affecting how music is recorded, mixed and mastered. Producers (yes, they still exist) are finding themselves pushing the limits of compression for music that’s most often heard on tiny computer speakers or cheapo earbuds. read more
If there’s anyone who knows how to survive in the music industry, it’s David Byrne. From his days on the NYC underground with the Talking Heads, to running a label and touring the world as a solo artist, Byrne has seen pretty much every side of the business. He’s also revered by a younger generation of indie musicians, who look up to him as a role model of artistry and integrity.
Now he’s offering his opinions on how musicians can survive in an increasingly unstable music world. Byrne recently wrote an article in Wired, entitled “David Byrne’s Survival Strategies for Emerging Artists — and Megastars.” read more
There’s no doubt that the emergence of peer-to-peer file sharing, music blogs and portable media players just a few short years ago launched a digital music revolution. Yet as incredible as carrying around tens of thousands of songs in your pocket is, selling songs via the PC is not likely to be a permanent music business model. What‘s next for the iPod and its brethren? A quick look at the devices currently on the market points to a wireless future. Apple’s high-end iPod Touch and it’s closest competitors, the SanDisk Sansa and Microsoft Zune, all have the ability to acquire music wirelessly — via either an online store or wireless file sharing.
According to its executors, NNS is "is an open-membership, open-source effort, enlisting the Internet’s users to help keep the Internet’s operations fair and unhindered from unreasonable restrictions." FMC’s own Rock the Net campaign has made great strides in educating and mobilizing musicians on net neutrality. How cool is it to use the collective intelligence of the open internet to keep the internet open? We think it’s very cool.
Here’s some more info from the announcement: read more