Today's post is more of a brain dump than post. I've been thinking about the music industry again and thought of a few things I'd love to see happen. I doubt the industry or RIAA would ever consider it but it's worth a shot. The biggest problem I have with the industry is how it deals w/innovative services/sites.
Some of the best music applications and/or services have been the targets of the music industry and it's war against 'piracy'. We have seen legislation backed by and lobbied by the RIAA be submitted to Congress. Mass suing of citizens over music sharing and some even paying over $80,000 per song shared.
This is not how you treat a customer or potential customer. I understand the fact that they want to protect their IP and content but doing so in such extreme ways is harsh and inhuman. Most of the previous lawsuits have been against users using P2P or Bittorrent file sharing systems, not piracy groups making profit by distributing the songs/music.
I think the industry needs to do a 180 on it's stance on what it perceives as piracy. The amount of money the industry claims to lose to piracy is a null point in my opinion. A potential sale or not is not a definite sale. If there was no way to pirate the music, would such user even bought such song? I say most likely not. If they did, they'd wait to hear it on the radio or from a pal who bought it. I know that was my philosophy on music and 'sharing' in the past. However, another point to be made is that most of those who use sharing sites do it because they probably do not have that flexible of an income. In college, I ate ramen noodles 5 days a week and saved my cigarette butts to smoke when I ran out. Buying music wasn't even a possibility on my budget and the radio selection was horrible. Skip ahead to now, I actually buy music on Amazon because its so easy and actually cheap. It doesn't have DRM and is high quality. Most shared music is a lower bitrate and in turn lower quality; the higher quality and lack of DRM on the mp3 files make it worth it to buy it.
So finally, my idea:
6 month free trial licensing to the major studio's catalogs for app / web service developers.
Yes, this could easily be abused however I would expect the industry to create an initial form/application to get access by providing URLs, LLC/Company documents, Tax ID numbers and etc that is required to have a company.
Napster was one of the first and best services yet to find and share music. I remember finding a good song from a user and then out of curiosity browse their shared library and discover music I would never have heard. This was a service that lacked a real business model. Sound familar? How many years did Twitter go without a real business model? Or Facebook? Or the other phenoms that have started as nothing/a joke (foursquare) and finally evolved into a major web presence and innovator in its field. Creating a business model where none ever existed.
This 6month free trial access to ALL MUSIC libraries could finally allow the music industry to find its Twitter or Facebook. Benevolence spurs redemption and innovation much more than fear or hate (sorry about the hippy analogies). We could see many more apps/services like turntable.fm. Turntable.fm did get licensing from all four major labels and in turn can keep innovating and thriving.
So there you have it, my crazy idea for the music industry. Thoughts?