Comments: Universal Music throws in the towel, price of music drops to $0.00

This is a half-way measure. If the physical media have sensible prices, totally free and unrestricted may be the way to go.
1. Folks dislike annoyances.
2. Folks prefer convenience.
3. Books free on line still sell well.
4. Some listeners have no iPod and no computer.
5. Many listeners will not download at all.
6. Many downloaders will not create a disc.
7. We can't stop free sharing anyway.

Note: We can't keep weapons and illicit drugs out of maximum security prisons. Less stringent constraints work even less well. Live with it, you have no choice which avoids the practice, only the problems. Other constraints which don't work should also be abandoned in favor of harm reduction.

Posted by Richard Karpinski at August 30, 2006 06:42 PM

In my opinion SpiralFrog is a solution nobody wants (except the labels) to a problem nobody has (again, except the labels). There's lots of free music available already for anyone who wants to connect to a P2P network and get it, and it comes unencumbered by ads or DRM.

For the sanest commentary I've found on the topic of SpiralFrog read Bob Lefsetz, whom I've linked from my hobby blog swindleeeee.com, wherein I indulge my obsession with the online music service eMusic.)

Posted by Frank Hecker at August 31, 2006 12:04 AM

At 03:01 PM 8/30/2006, The Phoenix Dollar - Net wrote:
> I think an important milestone will be crossed when an artist is
> unsigned and sells a million copies of their album without any radio
> play, without any distribution or label support and without partnering
> with anyone but places like myspace. I think that time is really near
> and in fact it may have happened already, but I think the ones who get
> popular still are getting picked up by the labels.
>
> I think we need to look at how to mobilize independent unsigned
> artists to compete at the level of the major labels and not worry so
> much about what major labels are trying to do with artists.

I first wrote about the twilight of copyright in 1998. Besides 'piracy', which was a likely overall winner, my article, http://tinyurl.com/dxvu6, offered 3 other alternatives:
- subscription (this would include the Universal approach),
- bounty (a Hollywood-like, completion bond, approach), and
- Teleread, a socialist funded dream (but one which is somewhat imbedded in media fees).

As noted in the article, the ease of piracy and almost zero cost of flawless reproduction and distribution of electronic entertainment means that there is no economically viable place for the current crop of publishers. Due to the costs and inefficiency of traditional 'push' media promotion channels Hollywood is 'star-driven'. This concentration of effort is its undoing as piracy naturally focuses on these same stars denying the publishers and distributors the fruits of their major investments. With the lowered cost of 'pull' Internet marketing and distribution the advantage of Hollywood's star machine becomes increasingly irrelevant.

Only artist-fan relationships may survive. But even with these relationships piracy will continue unabated unless the content acquisition 'friction' from the new legal music sources (i.e., those that give away content much as broadcast radio) is very low, not too much above the cost of bandwidth (e.g., allofmp3 sells content for 0.02/MB). In the end, publishers will be replaced by recommendations from popular entertainment bloggs and MySpace-style sites. Artists may have to accept that henceforth their income will come primarily from selling very inexpensive downloads, paraphernalia, concert gate receipts (similar to what was before the invention of the player piano and phonograph) or special artist-fan relationship premiums (e.g., being the first to get a newly released single or backstage passes).

Steve

Posted by Steve at August 31, 2006 07:58 AM

SpiralFrog strikes deal with EMI Music
http://news.com.com/SpiralFrog+strikes+deal+with+EMI+Music/2100-1026_3-6112581.html?tag=nefd.top
SpiralFrog strikes deal with EMI Music
http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9588_22-6112581.html

Posted by Lynngram at September 6, 2006 11:24 AM
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