Thursday, 8 April 2010

The Day the Music Died...

Last night the Digital Economy Bill went through in the 'wash up' in Parliament yesterday...

Be very afraid, you may become liable if your internet connection is not secure.

It is a huge folly which will mean broadband costs will have to rise to allow service providers to pay for the extra work and possible litigation.

Read more here: Nightmare of unintended consequences.

Steve Lawson comes up trumps again, with his blog response to the Musicians Union.



Kathryn Rose said...

I've thought long and hard about this, though I'm not very articulate with my conclusions.

Basically I think the existing profit-driven models of music-making are quite broken, quite dysfunctional. I think changing to a healthier model will take time... I'm thinking of a model in which creators can be paid for their work but audiences (and I do mean more than listening audiences) aren't penalised for small-scale, non-profit distribution and other artists have reasonable freedom to create derivative works.

I think the most important thing I can do as a musician and composer is to make my work available in a non-traditional license format. For my compositions I've chosen a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license; I've not decided what to use for performance recordings (which is much more complicatred if any of the music isn't already in the public domain).

I'm not sure what audiences can do to encourage such a model. I've thought it might be neat to set up a sort of website where people could commission work... matching up patrons and artists, basically, so that someone could pay me £50 (or whatever) to write a piece of music on condition that I release it under a CC (or some other alternative copyright) license, or I could pay someone to draw a picture for cover art... I actually did the latter for my graduation recital programme, and was very happy with the result. But setting up a website to co-ordinate it all is a rather larger undertaking than I can tackle on my own.

Sam Charles Norton said...

Peter Banks said...

Many thanks, Kathryn, for your contribution.

Yes, the system is broken, partly because it was conceived way before some of the technology was in existence. In fact, many publishing and recording contracts still in force do not even cover CDs EXCEPT in a wicked clause that reduces royalties to 50% if a new medium of distribution is introduced in the future! So the record companies have been raking it in on CDs and they do get a bigger slice of the download pie than artists/writers.

There is an issue with receiving international publishing as if you have a composition that is recorded released worldwide on a label rather than your own label then the network of publishers and sub-publishers are needed to collect your share.

Sam has given a link which shows that Spotify etc. don't actually give much in direct revenue, however, the exposure on Spotify, youtube does guarantee loads more sales of the physical product, more Radio/TV play so the artist benefits far more than if those mediums didn't exist.

Back to your points, Kathryn, it will take time for new models to emerge yet there are really good systems out there, such as Creative Commons and the new breed of artist managed download sites such as so there is hope!

Thanks again.


Kathryn Rose said...

For further reading:

A friend of mine has written a very good article about the pragmatics of this in economic terms.

She also linked to Kickstarter,which is more the sort of thing I was thinking of, although at the moment it is only open to US-based projects.

Peter Banks said...

Thanks again, Kathryn, great article and some interesting links on there too. There is a company similar to Kickstarter here called Pledge Music which Duke Special raised enough for his next album and other plans too.

Referring back to Sam's link Steve Lawson has now responded fiercely here: How DO musician's earn online?

Interesting times.

Kathryn Rose said...

I like the look of Pledge, particularly the option to donate to charity, but as far as I can tell it doesn't specifically encourage people to use alternatives to traditional copyright structures, and it only exists for music recordings -- not really my bit of the market at all. So I'd file it under "a good start".