Thursday, 17 September 2009

30 second royalties

The latest entry in the "most asinine way the music industry can prove it's not got a clue" was unveiled today.

Complaining that royalties from downloads aren't high enough the usual group of idiotic Americans are now pushing for a royalty payment on 30 second samples. Yeah, the same 30 second samples that might actually get you to want to part with money - i.e. the marketing tool musicians have to sway your interest from the sea of other music out there.

So, ASCAP, BMI, etc. want to charge royalties on these, and the likes of Amazon and iTunes are just going to close up the sample shop and go home. All of a sudden, the long tail buyers who aren't swayed are still going to stay unswayed and more music doesn't get purchased.... or a person turns to bittorrent or other p2p to be able to sample the wares before they buy.

Hell, in the old world model the buying of music was based around sampling the goods. All the old record shops had listening booths where you could listen before you buy. When CDs became the norm, you'd routinely find banks of CD players down your local HMV where you could skim through a disc before buying it.

Did royalties ever get paid on these? Of course not, as the purchase you made would negate that.

As Mashable rightly point out, this is nothing more than sheer greed!

As they point out, "since when did it become smart business to spend time and money actively preventing your potential customers from finding out if they want to give you money or not? It’s unfortunate that in the shift to a digital media ecosystem licensing agencies are getting squeezed, but some of these tactics reek of desperation."

At least it's not the record labels proving they're idiots this time, merely the royalty collecting agencies trying to justify their existence in a world of ever slimming royalty payments.

It's all a moot point anyway, as the smaller acts - the ones these agencies are there to protect - are usually the first to get shafted anyway. This way you sample some Madonna track before you buy and she gets a double payday. Nice for the small guy.

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