Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Control vs. Scale

Music industry 'should embrace illegal websites'

Here's an article that agrees with my position that the increase in availability by several orders of magnitude offers an unprecedented revenue opportunity for music - just as the increased distribution of shareware created an entirely new market for software.

Record companies should ask themselves: "What are the costs and benefits of control versus the costs and benefits of scale?" said Mr Page [MCPS-PRS publishing society chief economist].

I don't agree with the article's first-blush interpretation of embracing illegality, but read further to see that there's got to be some way content owners can participate in the increased distribution users demand. I propose an industry standard for marking MP3s as legit per user, and users can either purchase a per-MP3 right, or subscribe to an all-you-can-eat service. Regardless of where you get the MP3 file, the service checks an encrypted header to see if the file's yours. If not, it helps you legitimize the file through your own choice of service provider.

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