Experimenting With New Music Biz Models

Wired News has a feature on Weed today.  Also, there’s a fascinating article in the NY Times about Universal’s online-only label.  Apparently, they’re focusing on bands with small, established audiences – lower reward here, but probably lower risk, and overall pretty inexpensive for the label.  The artists have to pay their own production costs, but such costs are now rapidly dropping.  Meanwhile, it appears that they get a bigger royalty cut than they would in a typical major label CD deal.

Both articles demonstrate the potential effects of digital technology changing the industries’ cost structure and in turn the relationship between content creators and intermediaries.  Creators have more flexibility in how they release their works, with less reliance on intermediaries, and perhaps greater potential for success given the lower upfront investment needed.  At the same time, intermediaries are also increasing their flexibility.  Universal’s online-only label is basically just a marketer, with some added transaction facilititation responsibilities.  Weed manages transactions and facilitates consumers acting as legitimate distributors, cutting out middlemen. 

Senate Copyright Bill Passes In Improved Form

News.com has the story; here’s the bill in full; PublicKnowledge is generally favorable, though see previous criticism of the ART Act not allowing fair use defenses.  The bill makes it a criimanl offense to record a movie in a theatre or to distribute a work online before its commercial release.  It also protects  companies like ClearPlay and the consumer uses they enable from copyright and trademark infringement suits, and reauthorizes the National Film Preservation Board.

Declan discusses why the entertainment industries haven’t been getting what they want recently.  Take note again of how much better the public interest is being represented today than just a few years ago.  Still playing a lot of defense, but at least it’s relatively successful defense.