It is often said that one should be quicker to suspect human stupidity for certain classes of corporate and government behaviour, than conspiracy - so right now, lotsa people expressed amazement at the fine levied a poor file sharer in the USA, but then the backlash starts - then there's the backlash, then there's the not quite so simple meta-para-backlash...
Andrew Orlowski writes that instead of whinging, we should get behind proposals (of which he mentions quite a few very plausible looking ones) to change the face of the music business = the claim is that, if only they could see, they would make more money "our way" (cue Frank Sinatra singing that music).
Well, while the proposals sound good, I'd assert that if they did work out right, several people would have just done it (oops, did i just infringe some footwear sweatshop's trademark?:=)
So given the power of shareholders, not A&R men, is what determines the behaviour of big business mostly, one has to ask "why havnt they done it yet?".
I don't have an answer (and I've spent a large part of the last 5 years looking at disruptive technologies and how they alter business, so I am qualified, but stumped!
I guess just maybe, just maybe this once (cue Liza Milleni Cabaret toon)
it is a conspiracy after all!!!
So here's another thought - I think this is a classic tipping-point type situation - shareholders have their eye on the bottom ine each year, but only have a horizon of 1 year - disruptive technologies (think IP breaking PSTN, or VOIP on WiFi breaking cellular) like mp3 on the net instead of CDs in the shops, grow from small beginnings - the growth is mirrowed by a fall in sales of CDs but until the scale of the business falls below a certain point, it is worth the incumbent industry (legacy technology)_ spending more and more on defending itself against the newcomer - at some point, the cost of defense exceed the revenue, and Madonna resigns and Radiohead say they will only charge people what they want to pay, and people start to ship albums for free on myspace etc etc
so the point when this happens can be in less than 1 year, and the only outcome can be bancruptxcty for the traditional business - repalcement (e.g. subscription or
listen for free but you have to see these **** adverts*** o nthe web page when you download (e.g. facebook and google's revenue models) work fine - but only when the old guys DIE is this gonna stop being fought tooth and nail. but they will die very sudddenly (other exampls I give above like VOIP on wifi or on IP on 3G, have already happened).
Tip, tip, tip: don;t by shares in EMI, don't buy shares in people making a noise at BPI or RIAA, they are the people about to lose big time: prediction: most music will be subscription or paid by adverts and other stuff (as in live gigs making money on T-shirts) by 2010. no, 2009. no wait, 2007.
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