France & 3 Strikes

(From Digital Music News) France took another giant stride towards finalising its 3 strikes & your out legislation. The National Assembly has approved the ‘Creation and Internet Law’ that allows for French content industries to have the ability to hire monitoring firms to snoop online activity, and report anything suspicious to a central policing agency.  A three-strikes process then starts with an email, followed with a certified letter, and ultimately an order to the ISP to disconnect service.

I’m all in favour, close the free bar! French artists will be getting paid whilst everywhere else, the business will carry on its endless rounds of ‘how to fix the music bizz’ panels. It was at one of these panels last November, that I heard Andy Burnham say that if a fix didn’t happen in the UK between ISPs and content owners then the govenrment would legislate. So where are you Andy?

Yesterday the BPI confirmed that it has “asked the government to strengthen its planned legislation on ISP responsibility for illegal filesharing, and to publish its draft legislation, as quickly as possible. The French government has acted with admirable speed in bringing forward a solution to online copyright infringement. Its legislation will establish clear rules to discourage freeloading and allow legal services to succeed. Although the UK approach may differ in detail, Britain’s creators need concrete action here to get off the ground. The French system will be up and running by Autumn, so ministers need move swiftly if the UK is not to be left behind”.

(previous commentary on this here)

Bragg On Google

Excellent interview here from Music Ally. Billy Bragg talking about google, here’s my favourite bit:

MA: Isn’t the problem less a case of Google being greedy, and more the case that it can’t make enough from ads to pay the licensing fees? The model’s broken, in other words, rather than them being evil?

BB: How d’you know they can’t sell enough ads?

MA: Well, they say so…

BB: How d’you know that though? Where are their accounts for the last year? They’re covered by non-disclosure agreements. That’s really a problem: the lack of transparency. And it’s right through the industry.

This is not just a Google problem. The deals that the big labels have done with Nokia? They’re all covered by NDAs. And even if you wanna register with YouTube as an artist to receive royalties, you have to sign an NDA for that!

And the reason it’s really ridiculous is that until we can work out what it’s worth, how can we work out what’s there for us to be remunerated?

All the discussions that have been made, and with due respect to PRS including the finding that they had from the Tribunal, is all based on guesswork. And that’s the real problem: it’s Google’s lack of transparency.

This was in connection with yesterday’s PRS attack on Google in which a number of key industry players, artists and Pete Waterman joined the surge against Youtube’s take-down of copyrighted content as a means of negotiating lower royalty payments. Reportedly, Youtube are on target to loose almost half a billion dollars this year.

Pete Waterman added this insight in the style of a millionaire tosser scoring an impressive own goal …  “Panorama did a documentary on the exploitation of workers in Dubai. I feel like one of those workers, because I earned less for a year’s work off Google or YouTube than they did”.

Less Than 300 Record Shops In The UK

(Also from Digital Music News) – The Entertainment Retailers Association have announced that the existence of record shops in the UK has dropped by over 25% from last year and currently there exists only 300 in the UK.  Sign of the timesabsolutely, but also a statistic that fills me with a tragic sense of loss. I’m from Bristol and I’m not sure where I would go to buy a record or a non-top 50 CD … Amazon I guess.

We7 Announce Streaming Subscriptions

Gabriel’s Ad-funded service has announced that it will now offer an ad-free subscription service for access to its catalogue of full-length streams. You can trial this if you buy the Daily Star and get a free month’s subscription redemption code.

And Finally … Frank Zappa Is Nostradamus

This is a true story.  Whilst I was on my honeymoon in 1989 (yep- 20 years on and still going strong, suggestions for a romantic way to celebrate are gratefully received) , I was given a book by my friends Neil & Griff who had queued up in New York the previous year to get Frank Zappa to sign his autobiography. If you haven’t read it then I’d recommend it here .

At the time I skipped over his prediction that music would be piped down peoples phone lines in the future! It took less than 10 years to be a reality!

The Daily Swarm has run an article on this today and 20 years on, its all kind of spooky. Reading back,  Zappa alludes to the collapse of CDs & Vinyl, a change to music being portable ‘wallpaper’ for people’s lives & the end of the record business as we know it! Therefore I am republishing Zappa’s futuristic thinking that shows he was not only a genuine musical genius, an unbelievably brilliant soloist on guitar but also one of the most forward minded individuals that the 20th century music industry ever had. Ladies & Gentlemen …

Frank Zappa (from The Real Frank Zappa, published in 1983)

We propose to acquire the rights to digitally duplicate and store THE BEST of every record company’s difficult-to-move Quality Catalog Items [Q.C.I.], store them in a central processing location, and have them accessible by phone or cable TV, directly patchable into the user’s home taping appliances, with the option of direct digital-to-digital transfer to F-1 (SONY consumer level digital tape encoder), Beta Hi-Fi, or ordinary analog cassette (requiring the installation of a rentable D-A converter in the phone itself . . . the main chip is about $12).

All accounting for royalty payments, billing to the customer, etc. would be automatic, built into the initial software for the system.

The consumer has the option of subscribing to one or more Interest Categories, charged at a monthly rate, without regard for the quantity of music he or she decides to tape.

Providing material in such quantity at a reduced cost could actually diminish the desire to duplicate and store it, since it would be available any time day or night.

Monthly listings could be provided by catalog, reducing the on-line storage requirements of the computer. The entire service would be accessed by phone, even if the local reception is via TV cable.

The advantage of the TV cable is: on those channels where nothing ever seems to happen (there’s about 70 of them in L.A.), a visualization of the original cover art, including song lyrics, technical data, etc., could be displayed while the transmission is in progress, giving the project an electronic whiff of the original point-of-purchase merchandising built into the album when it was ‘an album’, since there are many consumers who like to fondle & fetish the packaging while the music is being played. In this situation, Fondlement & Fetishism Potential [F.F.P.] is supplied, without the cost of shipping tons of cardboard around.

We require a LARGE quantity of money and the services of a team of mega-hackers to write the software for this system. Most of the hardware devices are, even as you read this, available as off-the-shelf items, just waiting to be plugged into each other so they can put an end to “THE RECORD BUSINESS” as we now know it.

Happy Easter



~ by donjenkins on April 9, 2009.

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