Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The future of Digital Music on the Internet

Sometimes I do get a flash or two about a thing or two. In my life as a musician I am following the demise of the record industry and I see the digital services not really filling that void.

Then it hit me. Well, in order to really capture the masses, future licensing of all music should be included in the monthly internet or mobile bill. The user should not have to bother to buy and pay for the exact songs or files, instead a world-wide catalogue should be avaliable for a monthly fee.

The files should be stored on the net, a bit like the photo-hosting services today. Instead of file duplicates, different databases of your chosen music lists should be held there and recalled for play-back. In order to access that catalogue and your own favourites, you have to pay for it to your operator.

Actually, come to think of that - that is the way we act today when we access You Tube.. or MySpace... The only difference is that the content owners do not get paid. What if the music there would be legal and the authors would get paid in the same way as with services as Rhapsody or I-Tunes?

I thought as usual, that there is no output to my idea, since I am not working within any organisation or company in this field. But then again: I have a BLOG. So let this post be like a bottle that you throw in the sea.. Who finds it, could use it;)


  1. Well, digital services are certainly not filling the void for me as a consumer of movies. It should have been "any movie ever made, any time, anywhere in the world" already :)

    My own flash is that it seems technologically possible for 1.4 million people to take turns voting on issues for a half an hour every evening instead of having 101 people do it full-time. But you can't just make the transition overnight with a bold scheme. People don't want to let go and commit, there are problems with rules of order.

    come to think of that - that is the way we act today

    Personally that's my impression -- that the costs are already devolved to consumers in the form of a million different little invisible surcharges, even the price of a coffee at a cafe with unsecured Wifi. The economy is pretty "smart". Probably even shoplifting/piracy can be costed better than at a grocery store with quarterly inventories?

    But people might balk at a explicit flat fee for licensing showing up on their invoices.

    You'd have to start by having all the artists on board without any commitment from the customers, or sign up customers for a limited selection of artists...

    Looking at it from an artist's perspective as you are, I would have confidence that I could sell my music with a combination of live shows, word of mouth and some a la carte song sales. If the buzz gets big enough, a manager or whatever passes for a label in the new economy might take over.

    And who was it who said that an artist should be a little famished?

  2. Thanks for a thoughtful comment. Yes, I do agree with you. My point was, that if that could be done somehow, then there would be enough money in the recording industry again to create more interesting projects and artists. The best way would be to get all the rights holders on one side.

    BTW, strange enough, I read that this is been done in Sweden as we speak. They have embarked on an experiment: the rightholders accociation has managed to get a law passed that opens up all music, movies etc. for free download in Sweden and the paymend is done by a very small download fee that is cashed in by the telecoms. We'll see if that will fly, but it shows that there are a few people worrying about the state of the music industry;) Take care,