The imeem deal, which includes the corpse of Snocap once again, illustrates why people like me get so angry with what is going on. imeem gets bought, money changes hands, directors get sorted out and I dare say the lawyers and various other creditors, but there is no news of any artists or other creators getting paid a penny.
This reminds me of all the other up front money and equity deals, and other devices that have gained the labels and major publishers vital cash for their bonuses and, occasionally, their shareholders, while leaving the creators out in the cold. The people who are really carrying the can for the whole digital catastrophe are the workers who have lost their jobs at the labels and publishers and in retail and the people who have actually made the music.
This goes to the heart of the problem of legitimacy in the online world. If the consumer does not think the deal is fair they will not pay when they can get the content for free. If the labels really wanted to undermine piracy they would do a deal with their artists to share all the money that comes in as fairly as possible, and in discussion with them and their advisors. They would not carry their physical deals into the digital domain but rather treat their artists as partners.
They would look after them as well or better than they should look after their employees. If the artists were enthusiastically backing the labels then the unauthorised use of music would drop.
When we can also read that the proposed method of stopping the unauthorised use of music in the UK might cost up to £500 million, according to the biased Carphone Warehouse, one is forced to ask, what is going on? What is the Racket ?
We cannot expect the public to understand copyright law. They never had to in the past, why do they have to start now ? If it is possible to easily download music, make copies on memory sticks or other blank media, and send them to friends, it requires the co-operation of the public to get us all to pay. This is why legitimacy is so important, and why the industry needs to reach out to the creators and get them to feel that they are partners, not just dumb fools who can be ripped off with ease, as they are too disorganised and incoherent politically to matter.
Changing the behaviour of the corporations is the first step to developing a new coherent business model for the recorded music business, which includes all the current sectors. Then this new business partnership can also work with the technology companies and with the consumers to explore new business models that can compete with free and which work with the technology not against it. Fairness is the key, not just profitability, share prices and bonuses.
Join Peter Jenner at the IMMF round table at MIDEM on Sunday, January 24, 12.30-14.00