Recording Industry Calls for "Monetization Without Representation"
The concept is simple: The music industry forms a collecting society, which then offers file-sharing music fans the opportunity to ‘get legit’ in exchange for a reasonable regular payment, say $5 per month. So long as they pay, the fans are free to keep doing what they are going to do anyway–share the music they love using whatever software they like on whatever computer platform they prefer–without fear of lawsuits. The money collected gets divided among rights-holders based on the popularity of their music. In exchange, file-sharing music fans will be free to download whatever they like, using whatever software works best for them. The more people share, the more money goes to rights-holders. The more competition in applications, the more rapid the innovation and improvement. The more freedom to fans to publish what they care about, the deeper the catalog.”
–Excerpt from “A Better Way Forward: Voluntary Collective Licensing of Music File Sharing,” Electronic Frontier Foundation, April, 2004
Turns out that the Electronic Frontier Foundation was simply ahead of its time when it suggested that the recording industry adopt a voluntary collective-licensing model for music. Because the record labels are finally warming to the idea.
During tomorrow’s South by Southwest “Mobility, Ubiquity and Monetizing Music” panel, Jim Griffin, managing director of OneHouse–a digital entertainment consultancy that works with three of the four major labels–will argue the case for a file-sharing surcharge.
Like the “File-sharing Monetization” proposal recently pitched by the Songwriters Association of Canada and the EFF plan that the industry dismissed back in 2004, Griffin’s proposal would have Internet Service Providers add a flat-rate fee to their monthly charges to underwrite the cost of unlimited music downloads. The resulting funds would be divvied up among songwriters, performers, publishers and music labels.
“It’s monetizing the anarchy,” says Peter Jenner, head of the International Music Manager’s Forum, who will join Griffin on the panel. “The labels are beginning to like the idea of an access-to-music charge, because they’re increasingly aware that their current model is broken.”