The Music Business

25 cent brains



There are only three legs to this steaming stool. Your consumer, your content providers, and your manufacturers/distributors/ISPs; a circle of life, if you like, where the content providers-composers, musicians, engineers, producers, editors and intellectual property speculators produce content, which is directed at consumers by channel owners, the consumers rain down the cash, and the pipeline proprietors keep it all, save for whatever negligible royalties the record companies can pry from them, leaving the writers/artists and their symbiotic parasites, performing rights organizations,the recording industry and their respective lawyers-to try to bridge the gap and close the circle, to mangle a metaphor. Overall, music revenues are on the rise, yet there are 60,ooo fewer working musicians today, than ten years ago. Clearly, something’s got to give.

At a point never before seen in history, where we have the tools to accurately, fairly and automatically compensate content providers in a transparent and friction-free fashion, why don’t we do that? The consumers can get everything for one low price, or enjoy a free tier of diminished capacity, and the manufacturers/distributors/ISPs can continue cutting backroom deals and bribing each other over shelf space and whatnot, but if they all pay a little, we all get a lot-a hopefully vibrant, lucrative and diverse music industry.  Artists need to be willing to share, too; if we don’t  subsidize our important cultural ghettoes, (jazz, classical, and I guess pretty soon, rock’n’roll, if the RRHoF is any indication) we’ll lose our soul as a nation, and that would be a shame, as we’re making some really good soul music, right about now. Maybe that’s because revenues are so low, everyone who was in it for the money has been driven out, but I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.

We could do this, not just for the music business, but across the entire entertainment industry. Just think of all those lawyers and accountants out of work, able to enjoy free concerts in the parks.


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