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False Positives Adventures in Technology, SciFi and Culture from Toronto

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Would you pay 5 cents for a song?

Via The Globe and Mail, Would you pay 5 cents for a song?( By Guy Dixon , Wednesday, March 9, 2005 )also here)

Sandy Pearlman, a former producer of the Clash and now a visiting scholar at McGill, spoke at the Canadian Music Week conference in Toronto during the first week of march.

His idea was:
a) put all recorded music on a robust search engine.
b) charge an insignificant fee of, say, five cents a song.
c) a 1 per cent sales tax on Internet services and new computers.

The assumption is that if songs cost only 5 cents, people would download exponentially more music, and a windfall for musicians and those who own the publishing rights to the songs.

The head of the British recording industry (Peter Jamieson?), who also spoke at the conference, made much the same point: music companies need to get used to the idea of selling more music to more people more often, but for less money. It was a notion repeated often during the conference.

The recording industry (as represented by Richard Pfohl, general council for the Canadian Recording Industry Association) is against Pearlman's plan. Colour me surprised (not).

He (Pearlman) also suggested that computer companies as Apple and such major Internet companies as Yahoo simply buy up the world's four major record labels. Give what has happened to Sony since they bought Music & Movies companies, that might be a bad idea.

I've heard worse ideas. The very worse being "suing your best customers", followed be doing nothing. The First company to combine low enough prices, with a large enough catalog, a smart search engine, and no digital rights management (DRM), all arranged to take advantage of the Long Tail will reshape the music business. (even more and quicker than Apple is). Also add a way for Musician to by pass the Record company for a bigger share and you will get tons of new material!

Now on SlashDot via here.

Darren Barefoot doesn't think much of Pearlman's simplistic solution to a complex problem, links to EFF's proposal, and points out several holes in the article and the proposal.

Update: Russell McOrmond's reports (from the same conference) that NDP Heritage Critic and Timmins-James Bay MP Charlie Angus...chastised the government for looking at copyright legislation that could be detrimental to the digital revolution. CopyFight and Michael Geist noticed as well the comments quoted in the NortherNews editoral.

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