The major record labels are looking for a means to make a buck out of the internet music distribution. Having been unsuccessful in suing their way to megaprofits they now look to do it with Hulu? Fat chance in my book –
Plans under discussion include: a partnership with Hulu, the online television and film joint venture between News Corp and NBC Universal; the creation of a premium service on YouTube, Google’s video sharing site; and a stand-alone venture between some or all of the four largest recorded music groups.
Industry members had hailed deals struck with YouTube last year as a new way to profit from the popularity of professional music videos and from the soundtracks to amateur efforts on user-generated content sites.
However, some are now questioning whether either side has made much money from arrangements that require YouTube to share advertising revenues and, in many cases, pay a few 10ths of a cent to the music company each time a video is streamed, regardless of how much advertising is sold.
Universal Music, the industry leader, has said it makes “tens of millions of dollars” from YouTube.
Warner Music failed last week to agree a deal with the site, however. It said it was not being adequately compensated and demanded that the site take down its artists’ videos and amateur content using songs from its publishing arm such as “Happy Birthday To You”.
Representatives of two music companies, who would not be named, said they were in discussions with Hulu, and added that no partnership announcement was imminent but that the site appeared to be the favoured partner.
“If it happens at all it will be with Hulu,” one said.
Both added, however, that any such deal to create a standalone music video service would not replace existing deals with YouTube. There was interest, they said, in supplying content for a potential premium service on YouTube, which has begun to offer high-definition videos.
The issue is not the medium anymore. That was an issue 6 years ago when the ‘how’ of delivery was to be formulated. But no longer. Companies like Amazon and WalMart have broken that nut. Packaged digital delivery is a reality today. Essentially the record labels ceding that function to the top three distributors.
The real issue is the cost per song which the labels refuse to adjust to. In their heydey the labels used to garner $1.50-$2 per track pricing model. The world today is such that a band can make a gob of money selling tracks at .25¢ per. They just go direct. The labels have not adjusted to that reality. Till they do venues like a Hulu deal may garner them $$ but not the floods of cash they are used to.
Music is headed back to a cottage industry style of operation. No not that it will be garage bands with websites, though that is a possibility. But it is now possible for a world smash record label to consist of no more than 50 staff. The label is a mutual stock company owed by the bands that contribute to it. Things like cover art, post production, physical prepress, legal services and tour management are consolidated to increase efficiencies of scale for the bands. (eg 20 bands don’t need 20 lawyers.) The individual bands operate their own studios since it is so cheap today. Everybody operates on a commission basis and the bands are the members of the board of directors. Yes, and most distribution is done digitally.
Till the current labels realize that is where the industry is headed they can flail all they want.
We devote a bunch of energy talking about how the old media is fighting inevitable change, and going one worse by twisting new laws to stop the rest of us from embracing that same change. This change is as fundamental as how performing art is produced and distributed. Performing art is a work of knowledge, and the Third Pipe world frees any interested party to be a producer, distributor or both. That upsets old media’s toll booth mentality. When that happens we’re all expected to pay up or suffer the consequences. That’s how music fans become defendants in RIAA law suits.
Want to learn more? If you have a little time today, I strongly urge you to watch the above documentary. It will give you a new perspective on why the big labels want to control all how you access all music and how much you will pay.
The documentary film has built a passionate following as “the most important film a music fan will ever see” (XM Radio) by providing “a balanced overview of the state of the rock scene of America” (The Wall Street Journal) and adding “passion to the eternal debate about the industry” (The New York Times). (Google)
you can buy an extended version for as little as $2.99 here
Busted! The RIAA has exhausted their appeals in the Thomas case. A retrial is scheduled for rehearing the case. If Thomas prevails in the guise that actual distribution must occur, the ability of the RIAA to further any suits will be seriously hampered. It would be extremely hard to monitor the P2P traffic from the source without breaking other computer laws. –
A federal judge is denying the Recording Industry Association of America’s request to appeal his decision granting a retrial in the RIAA’s only file sharing case to go to trial.
U.S. District Judge Michael Davis of Minnesota declared a mistrial in the Jammie Thomas case months ago and nullified the jury’s $222,000 award against the Minnesota woman for sharing 24 songs on the Kazaa network. The judge declared a mistrial a year following the 2007 trial after concluding that making available copyrighted songs for download on peer-to-peer networks did not amount to copyright infringement, as he erroneously instructed the jury.
The RIAA sought permission to appeal, a decision the judge has now rejected (.pdf) for the same reason he declared a mistrial.
Davis said “actual” distribution of copyrighted music must be shown — meaning that the RIAA must prove that others are downloading the music being shared. The RIAA said it was virtually impossible to detect whether people were downloading music from an open peer-to-peer share folder on Kazaa, Limewire or other sharing services.
This probably explains why the RIAA is moving to the ISP for protection of their property. Though if the distribution requirements hold up it will be a tough case to go to court with.
FCC Chairman Martin just won’t give up on his free wireless proposal. Oddly enough no one likes the idea including his telco buddies.
Martin told Ars Technica that he didn’t want the Web filtering provision to kill the whole proposal. So he took it out.
“I’m saying if this is a problem for people, let’s take it away,” Martin told Ars Technica. “A lot of public interest advocates have said they would support this, but we’re concerned about the filter. Well, now there’s an item in front of the Commissioners and it no longer has the filter. And I’ve already voted for it without the filter now. So it’s already got one vote.” (Cnet)
Maybe he’ll clear the net neutrality zealots with the removal of the filtering requirement, but problems remain. For me there are several: The auction process that grants a large swath of public bandwidth to one company. The business model that can’t work as it stands, meaning we’re in for something less than we are being promised. This will result either sell out to one of the incumbent providers who will work to revise the free rule. The other possibility is a complete failure that will leave the spectrum in limbo, or public funding will be used to rescue the failed venture (we’ve seen a lot of that lately).
If I had chairman Martin’s ear, I’d strongly urge him to open this spectrum to low power unlicensed / medium power small footprint license use. We’ll get a lot more public broadband much faster this way. Unfortunately, I’m in no position to reward Mr. Martin with anything more than a “thanks for doing the right thing”, so I’m sure he won’t be interested.
Pew research conducted a survey of where Americans in 2008 were getting their news content. Needless, the outlook for pulp is looking entirely drab. This year more people of all age brackets were getting their news off the net rather than off the newsstand. –
For the first time ever, more people cited the Internet than newspapers as their primary source for news, according to the latest Pew Research Center survey, conducted Dec. 3-7 among nearly 1,500 adults in the U.S.
Currently, 40 percent of the respondents say that they get most of their national and international news from the Internet, up sharply from 24 percent in 2007. Newspapers remain the top source for 35 percent, about even with the past three years, but down significantly from the 50 percent as surveyed in 2003.
In the usually critical 18-29 demo, the web was even with TV at 59% of those polled. The fact is regardless of whether the pulp news sources stem the current tide the long term is a slow decline. The younger generation considers a paper yesterdays news. What’s the line? – “It’s not just what he knows, but when he knows it.”