Thursday, December 08, 2005

Where does the music money go?

Interesting quote on the Register today:

". . . composers and songwriters currently earn around 5p from the sale of a download. . . In contrast, record companies keep 40-50p from the same sale. . . "

So, if artists bypassed the music industry & published via web technologies, they'd only have to sell a tenth the amount to make the same amount of profit as they do from the current system.

And people wonder why the industry is so utterly terrified and desperate to legislate web publishing out of existence?

They'll manage OK for a while, I reckon - too many people are too used to the current business model. But when one, just one, artist goes from obscurity to superstardom on his/her own by making his/her music freely available on the Net. . . that's when everyone will know the music industry is redundant. Until then, it's all hypothetical "It could work like this" from a bunch of pirating geeks (that's the public perception).

Once it's clearly demonstrated, tho, it's all over. Anybody can publish online with potential for mass exposure; record contracts from the industry are much harder to get and you loose nine-tenths of the profit. Hardly a sane choice. So the music industry dies, and DRM will largely go with it.

There have already been small examples of the phenomenon, like Fitness to Practice, which owes most of its sales to the free distribution of some of its songs, like London Underground. But no huge music sensations have reached the public eye using the same model. Once they start, free MP3 trading will be how the industry works, instead of what they want to destroy.


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