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Taylor Swift is bang on
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besson3c
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Jun 21, 2015, 12:34 PM
 
Taylor Swift - To Apple, Love Taylor

Why is Apple asking artists to shoulder the risk of customers not liking their product by expecting them to be unpaid for the first three months? This product is a potential catalyst to get customers to buy other Apple products, this is not some sort of charity case, so they can afford to assume some risk at least with a shorter trial.
     
subego
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Jun 21, 2015, 12:40 PM
 
If you don't see streaming music as a loss leader, you're doing it wrong.
     
subego
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Jun 21, 2015, 12:42 PM
 
Allow me to expand...

If you don't see things for which you can make an arbitrary amount of copies at no cost as a loss leader, you're doing it wrong.
     
besson3c  (op)
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Jun 21, 2015, 12:57 PM
 
I don't think there are many artists that are against the premise of streaming, if that is your point?
     
Gearhead40
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Jun 21, 2015, 01:15 PM
 
Does Swift hold enough clout to sway all the artists? I don't think so but I think she's thinking too short term. She'll make more in the long run if many people subscribe to it first and the only way to do that is to give a free trial.
     
subego
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Jun 21, 2015, 01:17 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
I don't think there are many artists that are against the premise of streaming, if that is your point?
I'd say a lot of them actually are, because they only like it if it means 20th century, terrestrial radio payouts.

My point however, is just what I said. Something you can arbitrarily reproduce for no cost has no value. Scarcity is what imparts value to something. No scarcity, no value.
     
besson3c  (op)
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Jun 21, 2015, 01:17 PM
 
Originally Posted by Gearhead40 View Post
Does Swift hold enough clout to sway all the artists? I don't think so but I think she's thinking too short term. She'll make more in the long run if many people subscribe to it first and the only way to do that is to give a free trial.
Is 3 months necessary? The idea of streaming has long been validated with Spotify, whether people subscribe to this particular service or not.
     
subego
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Jun 21, 2015, 01:20 PM
 
Originally Posted by Gearhead40 View Post
Does Swift hold enough clout to sway all the artists? I don't think so but I think she's thinking too short term. She'll make more in the long run if many people subscribe to it first and the only way to do that is to give a free trial.
She's full of shit.

She says this is for "the little guy". The little guy can't make enough for a cup of coffee off of streaming.

If you're Taylor Swift, an extra three months is millions of dollars.
     
besson3c  (op)
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Jun 21, 2015, 01:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I'd say a lot of them actually are, because they only like it if it means 20th century, terrestrial radio payouts.

My point however, is just what I said. Something you can arbitrarily reproduce for no cost has no value. Scarcity is what imparts value to something. No scarcity, no value.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that the payouts of digital streaming at a global scale *could* be at least equal to the payouts of a local radio station's royalty fees.

I'm not really sure how your point relates to Swift's letter. I guess this is cryptic subego talk again? Just teasing you...
     
besson3c  (op)
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Jun 21, 2015, 01:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
She's full of shit.

She says this is for "the little guy". The little guy can't make enough for a cup of coffee off of streaming.

If you're Taylor Swift, an extra three months is millions of dollars.

Perhaps part of why streaming costs are so shitty is because I believe Spotify only pays artists revenue with profits made from Spotify's paid, non-ad based service?

I would venture a guess that 80%+ of Spotify users are using the "free" ad-based service.
     
subego
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Jun 21, 2015, 02:07 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that the payouts of digital streaming at a global scale *could* be at least equal to the payouts of a local radio station's royalty fees.
If one assumes the outlay of resources to break into a local market are equivalent to those required to achieve global penetration.

How this relates to Taylor, is she claims this isn't some rich superstar asking for a whaaambulance, it's "looking out for the little guy".

My argument is this is a rich superstar asking for a whaaambulance, and she couldn't give two shits about the little guy.

The situation "the little guy" is in is thus: recorded material is arbitrarily reproducible at no cost, therefore it has no value. Your business model... any business model, needs to provide something of value if it's going to succeed.

If your model hinges on the returns you get from an extra three months Taylor squeezed out of Apple, for something which already has a market value of zero, you were never going to get successful in the first place.
     
besson3c  (op)
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Jun 21, 2015, 02:14 PM
 
How come every time somebody makes a point we have to look at their personal character? I didn't post this because I want to bolster Taylor Swift, I don't give a shit about her.

How about we just talk about the issues she has brought up?

Hollywood movies can be copied too, do they have no value?
     
subego
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Jun 21, 2015, 02:34 PM
 
Theatrical screenings still have value because they're scarce, but otherwise, no.

As for the question "why did you go and have to address the justifications Swift made for her own argument?"

Really? Are you really asking me this?
     
besson3c  (op)
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Jun 21, 2015, 02:39 PM
 
Subego: not interested in talking about Taylor Swift.

I don't understand your point about copying. Are you saying that things that can be copied have literally no value, except things that are scarce, or are you playing devil's advocate to how you perceive people feel?
     
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Jun 21, 2015, 02:48 PM
 
It's the result of negotiations. Apple negotiated with the record companies, who figured that this was something they could give on - or perhaps even desired. I can understand that thinking. They're competing with free (i.e., pirated) by showing how much more convenient something like this is.

I think that the trial is still needed. Spotify claims to have 20 million paying users worldwide - a highly suspect number, for various reasons, but let's take it as fact for the time being. Apple alone sold 61.1 million iPhones last quarter. There were many more Android phones sold that quarter, and even if we assume that phones are replaced every 2 years, that means that there are several hundred million smartphone users who could use a service liked this. That is an untapped market, and the record companies figure they could make some money there with a good service.

Swift has one good point however: three months is too long. I think that it is reasonable to offer a free trial and that Apple doesn't pay for it, but one month seems long enough to me. It sounds like something they got out of the deal instead of something else they wanted.
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subego
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Jun 21, 2015, 03:03 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Subego: not interested in talking about Taylor Swift.
You know, I don't really want to talk about Taylor Swift either, but I'm not going to take ****ing shit about it from the person who put her name in the thread title, and linked to her open letter in support of his argument.

Maybe you need to be bagging on the OP a little instead of me.

Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
I don't understand your point about copying. Are you saying that things that can be copied have literally no value, except things that are scarce, or are you playing devil's advocate to how you perceive people feel?
They're only worth what people are willing to volunteer for it. Since that answer can be zero, you need to consider it zero in terms of generating a business model as a "normal person".

Also note it's not just "copying" it's "copying arbitrary quantities for no cost".
     
besson3c  (op)
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Jun 21, 2015, 03:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
It's the result of negotiations. Apple negotiated with the record companies, who figured that this was something they could give on - or perhaps even desired. I can understand that thinking. They're competing with free (i.e., pirated) by showing how much more convenient something like this is.

I think that the trial is still needed. Spotify claims to have 20 million paying users worldwide - a highly suspect number, for various reasons, but let's take it as fact for the time being. Apple alone sold 61.1 million iPhones last quarter. There were many more Android phones sold that quarter, and even if we assume that phones are replaced every 2 years, that means that there are several hundred million smartphone users who could use a service liked this. That is an untapped market, and the record companies figure they could make some money there with a good service.

Swift has one good point however: three months is too long. I think that it is reasonable to offer a free trial and that Apple doesn't pay for it, but one month seems long enough to me. It sounds like something they got out of the deal instead of something else they wanted.

One month seems like plenty to me as well to evaluate the service.
     
subego
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Jun 21, 2015, 03:41 PM
 
I almost forgot the most important part.

Lana Del Rey > Taylor Swift
     
Spheric Harlot
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Jun 21, 2015, 04:41 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Perhaps part of why streaming costs are so shitty is because I believe Spotify only pays artists revenue with profits made from Spotify's paid, non-ad based service?

I would venture a guess that 80%+ of Spotify users are using the "free" ad-based service.
It's about 75%.

What I've been seeing is that musicians are skeptical about streaming, but are starting to see it as a possible alternative future revenue model.

Spotify is not a viable model.

Most artists are quietly watching and lamenting the loss of a culture of collecting music as a part of personal identity. Understandably, for various reasons.

I believe Apple is trying to find a compromise, knowing that people aren't going to leave Spotify unless their service is better in addition to being fairer to artists. The three-month trial is part of that compromise, and it seems to me that the artists complaining are ignoring that this three-month trial is a one-time affair, after which people aren't paying, but aren't consuming, or keep consuming, but are paying. Permanently.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Jun 21, 2015, 04:55 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
One month seems like plenty to me as well to evaluate the service.
I don't think so. In my case, I may not get around to testing it as often as I'd expected to within four weeks. If I get into it and find I run up against my data plan limits, I might want to switch data options to test usage some more before finalizing it.

Three months seems generous, but that's a good thing IMO.

I'm still skeptical of the streaming model myself, but I'm willing to accept that if anyone gets how to do this, it will be Apple to strike a balance. Cautiously watching.
     
Waragainstsleep
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Jun 21, 2015, 09:32 PM
 
Yeah I'm not really understanding why so much fuss is being made about this.

Apple is asking for a little more than the other services but they are offering more in exchange. 150million+ iTunes users who typically spend more than Android users do. And they are paying a higher percentage too as I understand things.

The extended trial will hook more people in and enable Apple to convert a higher proportion of that 150M user base into subscribers.

Taylor Swift and co seem to think they are the only ones bringing anything to the table but they aren't. If the indy guys really can't afford to lose three months streaming revenue from a few tens of millions of users then they can always wait until the initial rush has subsided and sign up later when there are already 50M paying subscribers for them right?

Fuss over nothing.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
reader50
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Jun 21, 2015, 11:58 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
The situation "the little guy" is in is thus: recorded material is arbitrarily reproducible at no cost, therefore it has no value. Your business model... any business model, needs to provide something of value if it's going to succeed.
True, digital data can be reproduced at essentially zero cost. However, other scarcities come into play. Time especially. We all have only so much time on Earth. A convenient service offering instant gratification at minimal cost ... this could be worth more than the time spent pirating.

So what they're offering is the music + the service. And as I understand it, Apple is throwing in the service free for three months too. Taylor Swift, like the studios, tend to assign high value to their content, and no value to the service. Apple is in fact splitting the startup costs with the artists.
     
besson3c  (op)
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Jun 22, 2015, 12:41 AM
 
     
Spheric Harlot
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Jun 22, 2015, 04:43 AM
 
That's pretty awesome.
     
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Jun 22, 2015, 05:08 AM
 
They saw what happened to Kanye when he went up against TS in the media and that was before she was huge, no way would they take that chance.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Jun 22, 2015, 05:30 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
They're only worth what people are willing to volunteer for it. Since that answer can be zero, you need to consider it zero in terms of generating a business model as a "normal person".
That applies for anything people would be willing to take for free if offered the option. Bicycles, books, movies, drinks, clothes, etc.

People have successfully constructed business models around creating value for those products in the past.
     
subego
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Jun 22, 2015, 07:52 AM
 
You know, it's a real pain in my ass to keep typing "arbitrarily reproducible at no cost".

Clothes are arbitrarily reproducible at no cost? If I'm going to keep typing arbitrarily reproducible at no cost can we at least limit the discussion to things which are arbitrarily reproducible at no cost.

I'll note the things you listed which are arbitrarily reproducible at no cost (there's that phrase again, arbitrarily reproducible at no cost), used not to be, hence the successful business models in the past.

The whole arbitrarily reproducible at no cost has put those models into the proverbial "interesting times" phase of their life. Why?

Because you can reproduce arbitrary quantities at no cost.

     
subego
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Jun 22, 2015, 08:07 AM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
True, digital data can be reproduced at essentially zero cost. However, other scarcities come into play. Time especially. We all have only so much time on Earth. A convenient service offering instant gratification at minimal cost ... this could be worth more than the time spent pirating.

So what they're offering is the music + the service. And as I understand it, Apple is throwing in the service free for three months too. Taylor Swift, like the studios, tend to assign high value to their content, and no value to the service. Apple is in fact splitting the startup costs with the artists.
You're absolutely right. And to be clear, I'm not saying musicians should give up all money for their recorded music, they should just have a realistic expectation of what it's going to do for them.

If I'm getting 10,000 streams a month on Spotify. That's about $70. If you hit me with a rolling three month trial period, how's that going to affect my bottom line?

It's not.

If I'm Taylor Swift, this is millions we're talking about.

I'm a capitalist. You go girl. I don't have a problem with you making bank. You work very hard. Just don't pretend this is about the extra $10 a month for strangers, and not the several million dollars on the line for you.
     
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Jun 22, 2015, 08:34 AM
 
"This is not about me."

It's totally about her.

Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
That applies for anything people would be willing to take for free if offered the option. Bicycles, books, movies, drinks, clothes, etc.
Just about everyone sees taking those without paying for them as stealing (except movies). Music? Not so much. I mean, yeah, if you corner someone and they answer truthfully they'll say it's "morally questionable", or some such, but for the most part they simply don't care. It was like that when I was younger (mix tapes) and it's the same today (digital piracy), because unless you're associated with the music biz you have little understanding of what goes into song production and how artists are paid, and because unless a person can touch and physically feel something they don't associate it with being a tangible product. At least when CDs, tapes, and LPs were a thing they could touch and hold the case/liner/media and felt there was at least some value there (I still buy large amounts of vinyl and discs), but the current generation doesn't feel that association, so there's even less of a connection than in the past.

Face it. Most people won't want to pay for streaming (yeah, I think Spotify's figures are inflated as well) or digital downloads, and aren't going to if they can avoid it. "Because, you know, radio is free and only chumps would pay for that." (Something I've heard numerous times in the past.)
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subego
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Jun 22, 2015, 08:46 AM
 
Theft, as it's been defined through history, requires scarcity. If you take something from me, but I still have it, then it's not theft.

It may be immoral or unethical, but it's not theft.
     
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Jun 22, 2015, 08:49 AM
 
DIgital piracy has decreased dramatically since legal, cheap, simple options like Netflix, Spotify, Rdio and others have opened their doors. Ten bucks a month is within reach for enough people to forego the hassle of piracy.

Ten years ago, about a third of internet traffic was estimated to be file sharing. Today, that has shrunk to five.
     
subego
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Jun 22, 2015, 09:00 AM
 
But the income from those models are a pittance compared to what things used to be.

You used to have to pay $20 for one good song and 40 minutes of filler.




As an aside, my own personal theory is the VHS release of the 1989 Batman was the first big blow to the music industry. Batman was released for what was at the time, an astoundingly cheap $20. Most movies were $50+.

This was easy math for consumers. If a Hollywood blockbuster cost $20, then a $20 album of music was overpriced.
     
subego
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Jun 22, 2015, 09:09 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
That's pretty awesome.
As someone who hopes to take some of this money at some point, I'm not going to complain, but my spidey-senses tell me Apple did the math and came out on the wrong side of not having the new Swift album available.
     
besson3c  (op)
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Jun 22, 2015, 09:50 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Theft, as it's been defined through history, requires scarcity. If you take something from me, but I still have it, then it's not theft.

It may be immoral or unethical, but it's not theft.

Theft is when you obtain something you didn't pay for when the creators of that thing are expecting compensation. This business of how content has no value that can be copied and/or isn't scarce or whatever it is you are saying is a silly and arbitrary definition.

You said something about how a movie is an exception because they are scarce, which is nonsense. American Sniper and Jurassic Park are some of the best selling DVDs on Amazon. I'm assuming that we can agree that these movies are not scarce? If I run off copies for everybody here does this mean that this isn't theft? Not in this country...

You are reaching and over-complicating with the whole copying and scarcity thing. It's simpler than that: if the content creator wants to get paid and you obtain their content without paying for it, it's theft. The same is true for audiobooks, podcasts, whatever. Digital does not necessarily equal free.

I'm sorry, these ideas offend me as a musician.
     
subego
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Jun 22, 2015, 10:16 AM
 
Google "scarcity". It has a specific meaning WRT economics.

DVDs are scarce, because the amounts which exist are limited.

Digital rips of same are not scarce. The amounts which can exist are for all intents and purposes, limitless.

You can say taking that of which there is unlimited supply is theft, just like you can you can say you dial your phone. Neither is accurate, and demonstrate thought processes which are only applicable to the past.

As someone closely associated with a band, and someone who also does photography and video also limitlessly available), I'm not offended by the situation. I don't judge. It is what it is. I want people to pay, but I can't force them, and if I try, I'm going to get treated like I'm full of shit for trying... because I am.

As I said, the value of your recorded music (or my photographs) is what people will volunteer to pay. If you want the payment to be involuntary, you need to provide something which cannot be arbitrarily reproduced for no cost. This generally means a live performance if you're a musician.
     
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Jun 22, 2015, 10:19 AM
 
I think your focus on physical scarcity kind of misses what makes music valuable. It's the scarcity of talent and ability.
     
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Jun 22, 2015, 10:20 AM
 
BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC collect songwriting performance royalties from music users, and then pay songwriters and rights holders (publishers).

Unless a music company outright owns the rights to a song, and somehow facilitates an agreement with BMI, etc - how can they unilaterally decide not to charge royalties during the first 3 months membership in a music service that plays songs subject to royalties? They cannot!


Also - a music recording is a tangible item. If you acquire it without paying for it, it is theft.
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besson3c  (op)
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Jun 22, 2015, 10:21 AM
 
The format is irrelevant, subego. This is a ridiculous distinction.

The volunteer payment thing has and is been tried. It can work, but one of its problems is that people have no idea how to value things either without offending the content creator, feeling guilty, etc. When you create a Kickstarter project there are gifts and incentives for these gifts, and part of this is not just to give people stuff and incentive to donate, but to also provide a sense as to what sort of donations would sit well with the content creator and how the creator would value that donation.

It would be great if this model could be somehow transferred to music without every project having to be crowdfunded.
     
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Jun 22, 2015, 10:51 AM
 
I'm very glad that Apple crawfished out of this one. This was a bad deal for artists.

However, I'm beginning to see why so many guys have broken up with Taylor Swift.
     
subego
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Jun 22, 2015, 10:54 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
The format is irrelevant, subego. This is a ridiculous distinction.

The volunteer payment thing has and is been tried. It can work, but one of its problems is that people have no idea how to value things either without offending the content creator, feeling guilty, etc. When you create a Kickstarter project there are gifts and incentives for these gifts, and part of this is not just to give people stuff and incentive to donate, but to also provide a sense as to what sort of donations would sit well with the content creator and how the creator would value that donation.

It would be great if this model could be somehow transferred to music without every project having to be crowdfunded.
Just so we're on the same page.

A physical product I need to manufacture, ship, store, display, and probably ship again.

A digital product I can make limitless copies of for free.

This is a ridiculous distinction?


Likewise... iTunes is voluntary payment. You do realize people don't have to pay for music, right? When I buy music from iTunes (which I do), that's me choosing to do so.

The last jerkbag who tried the "album only" stunt? Guess what? I chose not to pay him, and instead got it for free.
     
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Jun 22, 2015, 10:59 AM
 
Originally Posted by Jawbone54 View Post
However, I'm beginning to see why so many guys have broken up with Taylor Swift.
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Jun 22, 2015, 11:14 AM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
I think your focus on physical scarcity kind of misses what makes music valuable. It's the scarcity of talent and ability.
I agree this is what makes it valuable, the problem is that isn't what's been used to determine its value for the last 100 years or so.

What used to be used to determine value was the limited access you had to it because it existed as scarce physical product. That model is gone now.
( Last edited by subego; Jun 22, 2015 at 11:49 AM. )
     
The Final Dakar
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Jun 22, 2015, 11:16 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I agree this is what makes it valuable, the problem is that isn't what's been used to determine its value for the last 100 years or so.
I don't agree with that either. Despite CDs being cheap and easy to manufacture compared to their predecessors, their price went up, not down.
     
Chongo
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Jun 22, 2015, 11:38 AM
 
Originally Posted by unicast reversepath View Post
BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC collect songwriting performance royalties from music users, and then pay songwriters and rights holders (publishers).

Unless a music company outright owns the rights to a song, and somehow facilitates an agreement with BMI, etc - how can they unilaterally decide not to charge royalties during the first 3 months membership in a music service that plays songs subject to royalties? They cannot!


Also - a music recording is a tangible item. If you acquire it without paying for it, it is theft.
Did they repeal the exemption for recording music OTA? I recorded hundreds of songs off the radio over the years.
     
besson3c  (op)
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Jun 22, 2015, 11:49 AM
 
Originally Posted by Jawbone54 View Post
I'm very glad that Apple crawfished out of this one. This was a bad deal for artists.

However, I'm beginning to see why so many guys have broken up with Taylor Swift.

Why? Musicians are beaten up on enough as it is in this world, she's earned some respect from me with this move.
     
subego
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Jun 22, 2015, 12:01 PM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
I don't agree with that either. Despite CDs being cheap and easy to manufacture compared to their predecessors, their price went up, not down.
But you can do this, and more importantly get away with it, if you can control access. In this example, by means of a physical product. Meaningful access control to a singular instance of a digital product is a losing proposition.

This is why Adobe completely upended the model where you get a single instance of a digital product. It doesn't work anymore.
     
subego
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Jun 22, 2015, 12:03 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Why? Musicians are beaten up on enough as it is in this world
She'll recover.
     
The Final Dakar
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Jun 22, 2015, 12:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
But you can do this, and more importantly get away with it, if you can control access. In this example, by means of a physical product. Meaningful access control to a singular instance of a digital product is a losing proposition.
I'll disagree a third time, by arguing access was granted by Label connections and marketing. Anyone could burn a CD by the end of the 90s.
     
subego
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Jun 22, 2015, 12:19 PM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
I'll disagree a third time, by arguing access was granted by Label connections and marketing. Anyone could burn a CD by the end of the 90s.
Okay... we're going to have to rewind. I thought you were disagreeing with the practice of price gouging.

How is your statement "CDs are cheaper than tapes, but they cost the same" not in agreement with my statement, "value was determined over the last 100 years not based on scarcity of talent and ability, but based on the scarcity of a physical product"?
     
The Final Dakar
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Jun 22, 2015, 12:26 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Okay... we're going to have to rewind. I thought you were disagreeing with the practice of price gouging.
I'm disagreeing with your assertions for what it was based on. Music was based on the price of the machine producing it – the labels, execs, producers, studio time, marketing, etc. Not on the medium that it was transmitted on.

Music has less value today because so many of those avenues have been eliminated or mitigated. You can do your own studio and distribution now. Talent can buck the system, with a little luck.


Originally Posted by subego View Post
How is your statement "CDs are cheaper than tapes, but they cost the same" not in agreement with my statement, "value was determined over the last 100 years not based on scarcity of talent and ability, but based on the scarcity of a physical product"?
Because tapes were more scarce yet cheaper. Same went with records until they resurfaced in the late 90s/early 2000s.
     
 
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