Tuesday, 3 August 2004

Drilling the point home

Not content to charge radio stations, television shows, et al licencing fees to play music, it now seems that - in Canada and the States at least - the net has now widened to include dentists offices.

I'm not sure what I think about this. Sure, if you went to the dentist's office purely for the music, then they could have an argument and it would be wholly justified.

Most of the time, however, the office is just piping in lite-FM radio stations (surely just to mask the sound of drills). These radio stations are already paying hefty performance royalties to BMI, ASCAP, SOCAN or whatever gang goes around forcing a pay up. Re-charging anyone who then listens to a radio station with more than a few people in the same area smacks of a little extreme.

The doctor in the Wired article actually brought in his iPod with personally selected tracks. I guess the next step is to buy some music gear and record a load of personally-written lite-FM style muzak, thus circumventing the royalty payments. I could just see the dentist, mid-examination, stopping to exclaim, "ooh, wait, I love this bit. Did you hear that?"

On the subject of royalty licencing payments, however, I hope the League of Magazine Writers doesn't get wind of this. Those issues of Readers' Digest from 1970 that languish in doctors' offices could net them a small fortune in unpaid fees.

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