Time to allow hard drives pre loaded with Music….and change Harry Fox

its the simplest of ideas. Take any MP3 player, Ipod, PSP, whatever and pre load it with songs. With 30, 60 and 100gbs capacities, the potential is amazing. How simple it would be if the user could sample and choose.

No more having to go to illegal sites to sample music to decide if you want to buy it or steal it (them , not me🙂.. Its all right there.

ITunes Media Store users could let Apple download overnight and fill up your hard drive and let you go nuts.

Think maybe the total amount of music sales might go up ? Of course it would.

Think piracy would go down ? No question about it. Its easy to spend hours on your own Ipod picking and choosing, even for high school kids wit hmore time than money. And it would be fun and a huge value add for music consumers.

So why doesnt it happen ? This old fuddy duddy music licensing organization called the Harry Fox Agency.Talk about an organization so out of step with the times its holding an entire industry back.

How expensive is it to “pay the Harry Fox Piper ?” From their website

“The current statutory mechanical royalty rate is $.085 (8.5 cents) per song per unit for recordings of compositions up to five minutes (5:00) in length. “

Thats alot of money. Do the math. How many songs can you pre load on a 30gbs or 60gbsIPod. How many as those harddrives grow and grow.

At 8.5 cents ea. Thats big, big dollars. Per Ipod. Which is exactly why you cant buy MP3/Ipod devices preloaded with music. Its obscenely expensive .

Why not do it the right way. Since units like the Ipod can track usage, just set a very simple reporting mechanism. Its being done for subscription services. Downloads are tracked. Listening is tracked. Why not apply it to mobile devices ? If the user has privacy concerns, they wont buy the unit with this feature.

There is absolutely no reason for Harry Fox to charge just because a song is preloaded on the Hard Drive. It has every right to charge if that song stays on the hard drive and is listened to.

So why not finally put DRM to ause that actually benefits consumers ? If that song stays on the hard drive 5 daysand is listened to more than 5 times during any period, then Harry Fox can collect on it. It wouldnt be 8.5 cents. Thats a ridiculous number of course when there could be thousands of songs on a hard drive. People who just kept the songs on the hard drive could end up costing the distributor thousands of dollars per Ipod as hard drives grow. But just like the subscription services have worked things out, there is no reason why Harry Fox cant come in to the 21st century and realize that their beneficiaries will make more money by making it easier for music lovers to consume music.

It also takes away some of the incentive for users to troll illegal download sites.ITunes and the other music sites could easily download music overnight and let the users have fun with it.

Wake up with a 1k new songs on your IPod every day, week or month. Pick and choose what you want. Keep what you like, delete the rest. If you dont want to delete, we will remind you that you will be charged for them and we will hit your credit card for them.

Its the 2006 version of the Record Club. Instead of mailing a record or CD, they download to your harddrive. If you dont delete it, you bought it. And deleting a song is a lot easier than returning a CD.

Of course, Harry Fox will probably fight this idea. Why ? Dont know. Ask them. But the labels surely should be fighting to make this happen. Otherwise its just one more blown opportunity.

59 thoughts on “Time to allow hard drives pre loaded with Music….and change Harry Fox

  1. This beats the hell out of what Jess Kersey\’s record is when officiating a Mavs game on forth Thursday of odd months in a leap year when his birthday ends in an even number. Love it! Pray for Howard!

    Comment by runescape gold -

  2. Harry Fox’ entire business model is based on mass distribution; they really are not set up to deal with things on one-off, micro basis. The question with them is always how many thousands are you going to duplicate, sell, etc. They would rather sell a mansion than a time-share condo sliced into daily or even hourly increments, which naturally perpetuates and serves their own existents, it is basically the old “forest or the tree” complex. I’d also encourage you to consider all the other elements that make up an artists brand franchise, beyond just the songs. In some cases, the song simply serves as a vehicle to sell other more profitable content. Of course Harry Fox hasn’t figured this out yet either as has been my own limited experience with them starting a business to reconnect consumers with the visual and physical elements that once existed in music packaging. If I where an artist or label I would be stomping up and down saying. “Figure this out, or get out of the way!

    Comment by Andy Young -

  3. The one catch here (as identified by many) is that you have to remember to delete the songs or you pay. Well, just like Tivo, this device should save the songs for a limited number of days, then automatically delete them if they aren’t “starred” or purchased. This way if some unforseen issue comes up where the user can’t delete the songs off the device in the required amount of time, they aren’t charged for the music. With that adjustment, there’s no question it would mean significantly more exposure for musicians, less stealing, more sales, and better/easier music consumption for the listener.

    Comment by James Robertson -

  4. The one catch here (as identified by many) is that you have to remember to delete the songs or you pay. Well, just like Tivo, this device should save the songs for a limited number of days, then automatically delete them if they aren’t “starred” or purchased. This way if some unforseen issue comes up where the user can’t delete the songs off the device in the required amount of time, they aren’t charged for the music. With that adjustment, there’s no question it would mean significantly more exposure for musicians, less stealing, more sales, and better/easier music consumption for the listener.

    Comment by James Robertson -

  5. The fact that Harry Fox, and the rest of the industry, still calls them “mechanical” royalties should tell you all you need to know.
    Podcasting should help this problem by eventually opening the market to the 500th, or even 5000th most popular artists– instead of limited to the Top 10 on MTV or Top 40 of Billboard. If artists can connect directly to the listeners they can collect their own royalties.

    Comment by carmen -

  6. Why is pushing content out to the users better than letting them pull? If you had a really killer recommender system, I can see it being cool, but to the best of my knowlege such a system doesn’t yet (“yet” being a very important word here, I guess) exist.

    Comment by Corey Porter -

  7. It does sound a lot like the record club concept, but it has some marketing potential for new music. The consumers could be the ones driving music trends instead of radio.

    Comment by Johnny Boy -

  8. nice try but I don’t trust any company to download ANYTHING directly onto my ipod. Case in point, Sony. If I want music, I’ll kindly download on my own. Pay? Maybe…just make the music AFFORDABLE!!! I just paid $18.00 for a cd. In my music downloading slide rule, I feel this entitles me to several free cd’s worth of free downloading on the current p2p network. My way of settling the score.

    Comment by Ken B -

  9. I’d never heard of Harry Fox, but suspected such a monopoly existed, the govt having a taste for some kinds of monopoly. The site says est 1927 which is during the Depression and not a good sign, and the cut is far too high. Since 99% of releases lose money, Harry Fox would be very selective in its sifting, not caring about almost everybody.

    Comment by FisherKingKQJ -

  10. New Storage System May Make All DVDs Obsolete???
    >
    What is holographic storage?
    >
    http://www.inphase-technologies.com/technology

    Comment by Robb Hand -

  11. Mark, those record clubs sucked and were a rip-off. Who wants junk popping in your life everyday, i’ll take the choice over convienence. Sounds like Harry Fox needs some greed control and mp3 users need a way to archieve their music, once you pay for something it should be yours for life. Invent a way to store it, with all the time you have to delete hundreds of songs a day. Thanks, you the man!

    Comment by jeff -

  12. Am I missing something…I dont want anything on my ipod that I didn’t download…spam!

    Comment by dan C -

  13. Hey Mark,

    Your idea is already being done with the video iPod through a little company calling itself “TVMYiPOD”. Their URL is below:

    http://www.tvmypod.com/

    At TVMyPod we hope to fill this void for our customers and allow them to watch their favorite TV shows or movies whenever and wherever they want,” said TVMyPod cofounder Vijay Raghavan.

    Comment by Fortino -

  14. Mark can you believe it? This morning I was looking at NBA.com and noticed that they have an article titled Explaining the NBA’s Most Misunderstood Rules. It’s ridiculous how many of your ideas the NBA uses, no matter how much they will deny it😉 Keep up the criticism.

    Comment by John Kimberly -

  15. I thought this was a great idea and breakout suggestion. I posted it to my blog and someone made an interesting comment on the economics behind the problem. Below is an excerpt and the URL.

    http://sixkidsandafulltimejob.blogspot.com/2005/11/new-music-models.html

    “Since it will take a very long time to convince the whole music industry to change its model, the way to go is to deinetwo classes of content. Free and premium. For example you will be able to get pre loaded hours of new music from up and coming bands that are seeking more disribution. If you want to get Beatles/ Elvis (or name your golden oldie high value content) you will need to pay for it separately.”

    Comment by Michael -

  16. It sure does seem like it is going to take a very serious paradigm shift for any kind of media loaded with music to ever be sold in the US. I can’t think of anything that would motivate these ignorant music companies to do something like this.

    Comment by Scott Johnson -

  17. the key here is making it easier for consumers to buy music. The DRM would have to be rock solid, but if the iPod came preloaded with various types of music (potentially packaged and marketed separately from other types of music at the store) a consumer could purchase a “classic rock” iPod package and automatically buy the songs they wanted on top of that without having to spend hours downloading and searching. thats conveniant! conveniant enough for people to pay the premium.

    when the store rings up the iPod, they could also presell the ability to unlock a certain dollar amount of music along with the iPod. the real interesting part would be if you could do without the time limit, and require the user to make the decision to purchase after a certain amount of times they played that song. once they want to start purchasing, they could sort the library by personal ranking and number of times played, selecting their top choices which would be automatically purchased next time the device is synced. songs that have reached their “playtime limit” are either deleted or remain locked and unplayable until purchased.

    sounds kind of fun! though it’s could be quite a liability for some, and quite a temptation for hackers to try to unlock things for free.

    on a related note, just read this about “the end of copyright”:

    http://www.gamasutra.com/features/20051128/adams_01.shtml

    Comment by evbart -

  18. Mark,

    Why don’t you buy more Tucows at these levels? It is easy money in the bank for you. Step up to the plate and deliver.

    Please Mr. Cuban.

    Comment by PJM -

  19. This idea is like the old book clubs or CD clubs. “Every month you get something new. if you want it, keep it and you’ll be billed. Otherwise, send it back.” Not my favorite thing, and now you want this on a daily scale with 1,000 songs. It is almost like SPAM, unless you have no clue what music you want or like and want to have it forced at you until you hear something you like. For some people this might be a dream come true, but not for me.

    Comment by monkeyinabox -

  20. Mark, you must have read our press release on Wednesday afternoon…which is dated for today. We didn’t think we would be able to clear it for Wednesday but we did. The date on the release is for today.

    Martin Broadcasting.com and eGoWare® Create Strategic Alliance, Making Video on Demand (VOD) Virtually Obsolete

    Martin Broadcasting and eGoWare® team up to take Video on Demand to a higher level with Digital Rights Management (DRM) and Direct to Desktop Push-Pull Technology ™ to provide internet TV and Video on Demand viewers instant movies on their PC.

    Allentown, PA (PRWEB) November 25, 2005 — Customers renting movies at the video store or ordering online who wait for lengthy downloads, now have the power of combined exclusive Direct to Desktop Push-Pull Patented Technology™. End-users benefit by scheduling movies or programs direct to their desktop, anytime it’s convenient for their viewing desires.

    With the difficulties movie studios, video rental stores, music labels and other technology firms are encountering today, this new exclusive desktop technology is the solution. Consumers who don’t want to wait for the big companies like CBS®, AOL® and others to unveil their internet TV and Video on Demand programming in 2006 can see a taste of what is to come in December 2005.

    “No other company worldwide has what we offer. This strategic move will allow us to compete with the largest players in the TV, Movie, Video and Internet Industry as we deploy the latest (VOD) Video on Demand technologies and take them to a higher level” said Greg Martin, Chairman of MartinBroadcasting.com. Both firms have created an exclusive interactive platform which is unavailable with video players currently in the marketplace.

    Since July 2005, Martin Broadcasting has been offering internet broadcast programming 24 hours-a-day, free to its viewers worldwide. The new VOD DRM technology debuts in December of 2005.

    Subscribers and internet TV viewers will choose from a list of movies, music and programs owned by Martin Broadcasting and its related firm WWPDL and have immediate access on their desktop or laptop at their convenience. Additionally, consumers will view movies or any of the many thousands of titles and programs offered by MartinBroadcasting.com on their PC or TV entertainment system. These can be scheduled days, weeks, or months in advance. This technology also creates an anti-piracy licensing tool that will please the industry without annoying end-users who desire to make legitimate back-up copies of their CDs or DVDs while being compliant with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

    “We are pleased not only with the relationship we have forged with Martin Broadcasting.com but also that we are able to jointly provide a much needed solution to the problem the video and music industry faces, which appears to be wreaking havoc with their sales and consumer relations. Our digital rights management techniques are the solution for anyone in the music, broadcast, video or rental industry” said Ralph Conley, CEO of eGoWare®.

    Martin Broadcasting.com provides free internet television to consumers worldwide and has 40 affiliate internet TV stations nationwide with satellite expansion due in the first quarter 2006.

    eGOware serves customers worldwide, representing Healthcare, Sales Management, Homeland Security, Missing Person Alerts, Ministry and Online Enterprises. eGOware provides customers with true Permission Communication®.

    Contact:
    Greg Martin-Chairman
    Martin Broadcasting (610) 914-7921
    http://www.MartinBroadcasting.com
    Source: MartinBroadcasting.com

    (trademarks are property of their respective owners)

    # # #

    The music idea will fly Mark…DRM and hard drives will be the order of the day.

    Comment by Greg Martin -

  21. If there are people who would like this idea, perhaps some kind of subscription service could be available, but I personally would not buy any device which defaulted to this “service”. I don’t want someone else putting things on my ipod, the same way I wouldn’t want someone else putting things on my DVR. The reason I have these things it to listen/watch what I want when I want. If I wanted pre-programmed media I would just watch live TV or listen to the radio.

    Comment by anne -

  22. It actually seems like a form of spam, which the radio basically is now.

    Comment by franchise -

  23. “Wake up with a 1k new songs on your IPod every day, week or month.”
    Isn’t that called radio?😉
    Darryl

    Comment by darryl -

  24. Sounds like a good idea and it would be probably profitable and popular. But they need to fiqure out clearly how the users would pay and manage their music !!!

    Comment by puddy -

  25. The real problem even with the 8.5 cents per song (or less) is how to process micropayments. No one has a method for processing this small of a transaction.

    Comment by Quadszilla -

  26. This could be decent if it has some sort of music recommendation system such as last.fm, but otherwise there would be way too much sifting through unwanted music to make it enjoyable. I think mp3 blogs such as gorillavsbear.net need to be given a shot as a possible way for the recording industry to bring in more cash.

    Comment by franchise -

  27. The reason why cc is so popular and why podsafe music is so popular is simply because of this: antiquated systems of keeping some status which basis has long gone. Add to this the problem of international usage rights and you have what we deal with now.

    Well, in a way we don’t deal with it. We make up new rules – because the old systems are so inflexible and so against what we want and what we would be willing to pay for …

    Comment by Nicole Simon -

  28. Another thing (added to #11): Harry Fox isn’t the only licensing body you’d have to worry about in this scheme. Do you think the labels wouldn’t consider a bundled track functionally equivalent to a purchased download? Even if you could convince the labels that the 5-day audition period should be free of charge (good luck with that), you’re talking about a 65-cent charge *without* markup to the device provider. Add a few pennies for Harry Fox, and you’re talking about a 40GB device loaded with $5,600 dollars worth of possibly unwanted music that must be deleted in 5 days. Sell THAT to consumers.

    The whole idea seems so ridiculous and thoughtless that I’m starting to think I misunderstand the post. Please accept my apologies in advance if that is the case.

    but what I really suspect is that you are equating an unconnected player with a Music To Go player tethered to a subscription service. They are not the same. In the latter case the user pays a monthly fee, and that’s where the revenue is. Without that subscription, you’d better figure out how to satisfy the labels without threatening users with thousands of dollars of credit card bills.

    Comment by Brad Hill -

  29. Don’t preload video ads – Apple would never go for it anyway. But how about this – BMW (or another advertiser) might offer those who download one of their commercials a small credit at iTMS. Anywhere from 5 cents to $1. Perhaps even more if demographic surveys could be combined w/targeted email offers. Companies might pay $5 for certain higher-disposable-income individuals to download an ad. Or even offer “package deals” where the user can download a hot new music video free, as long as an ad is downloaded with it (as a separate track, which can be deleted after viewed at least once). Ideally, of course, video ads used in this medium would be of the “viral” type that people are willing to show friends and family, giving the advertiser free exposure.

    Comment by Johnathan -

  30. Not really into this idea. People know what they want these days, and go directly to it. I don’t think anyone has the time to weed thru 1000 songs that were just downloaded to their iPod. Not even in 5 days, or 10 days. I think if anyone did, 950 songs would be going in the trash, and who really has the time to fish thru 1000 songs to find 50 they like? That’s the beauty of download services. We go to the song WE want. In my case, I will buy the full album if I know the artist well enough. But these days who makes great full albums? That’s why we download. “Hey I want that SONG.” Unless you plan to give Ritalin to every single iPod/mp3 player owner, so they can concentrate on whittling down their music choices, I don’t think this is even close to the solution the industry needs.

    I also am not sure Harry Fox is the bad guy at the end of the day. They are collecting publishing royalties for everyone, and these days many artists live off publishing instead of physical units sold.

    Comment by Mark Goodchild -

  31. Sorry to be a wet blanket, but this is a preposterous model. And it’s not only Harry Fox that would resist it, it’s consumers. Let’s say we’re talking about 2 cents per track. Somebody receives a 60GB player for Christmas, loaded with 12,000 songs, then immediately goes out of town (without the player) over New Year’s. S/he returns to a $240 charge on the credit card. You cannot charge consumers for failing to delete, especially when–trust me on this–a large percentage of MP3-player owners don’t know how to delete tracks or manage their music in rudimentary ways.

    Another point: You post is a little unclear about who actually pays. You say the “provider” will pay, then a little later you say the user’s credit card will pay. It’s a crucial point. Which is it?

    Comment by Brad Hill -

  32. Good description of part of the problem as we transition from old media (records, cassettes, CDs) to new media (mp3, etc.)

    One nit. It isn’t exactly the fault of the Harry Fox Agency that there is a specific charge per track. That is actually part of federal law that ensures that composers will be compensated for their work at a statutory rate when it is used on recorded music. I’d have to look it up again, but I think the term is a “compulsory license.”

    The existence of this license not only provides income for composers when their music is used on recordings; it also permits any artist to make use of that music without necessarily asking in advance for permission. In other words, when group A records a song by composer X, group B can also “cover” that song and the composer gets paid in the end based on units sold.

    (The situation is different for other uses of the music, such as in advertising, theatre, films, and so on.)

    There is another type of right at play as well. In addition to the composers rights there is a separate licensed right to the audio recording itself. Using the above example:

    – When Group A records Composer X’s song, Composer X (usually) retains the rights to the song and Group A holds rights to their audio recording. When Group B records the same song they get a separate right to the audio recording of their rendition.

    Complicated, but that’s how musicians aspire to make an income from recorded music, and it is how they fund the expenses of studio time and all of the other costs of recording, distribution, and performance.

    Dan

    Comment by Dan Mitchell -

  33. David — bits aren’t food: they don’t rot, spoil, or occupy room at the landfill. Bad analogy, no donut.

    Comment by d.w. -

  34. Just one catch. To make it work will need robust DRM. And you really don’t want that.

    What’s wrong with paying $0.10 at AllofMp3.com anyway? 192Kb VBR Mp3s with no DRM.

    Comment by Julian Bond -

  35. Stock the pantry, then throw away the food you have no interest in? I’m at the store enough to buy what I want.

    Comment by David -

  36. On the new Motorola V3 phone that I bought, there’s the motorola v3 phone commercial in mp4 format sitting preloaded in the phone’s memory. It’s odd to me that they don’t do the same for at least the 5th generation iPod with Video capacity. It’s true that artists need to get paid whenever your commercial airs with their song in it, but there are a lot of commercial with no record-industry songs, no?

    As Jon Beer points out, this blows out an entirely new advertistment environment. Ipods, PSP and other video devices are perfect for marketing films like “The Hire” series by BMW. You probably wouldn’t have Walmart commercials running alongside independent shorts just yet, but perhaps the day is coming.

    Speaking of which, the whole “preload music for sampling” would be too much too complicated for Apple’s taste, at least in terms of putting them in the iPod. i don’t see Steve Jobs agreeing to it at all. Sure it’d be a wonderful way for people to sample new music, but iTunes Music Store is already doing a relatively good job in there.

    Let’s imagine a senario: If a track is pre-loaded onto my iPod which is set to shuffle mode. I’m driving, and the pre-loaded song comes up randomly. I’m too busy to skip it, and iPod recorded my playing it. ITMS charges me because of the play, assuming that I like the song and would like to keep it.

    It’s a fessible idea, but a lot of details need to be ironed out. I doubt that Steve Jobs would jump at the idea because it won’t help him sell more iPods.

    my 2 cents.

    Comment by Ben Liong -

  37. Fact is, Microsoft’s Portable Media Centers come preloaded with music, tv and movies. This is Apple’s fault for not trying hard enough, not the recording industry’s.

    Comment by Nathan Weinberg -

  38. Unfortunately, it seems too good to be true🙂

    Comment by Hopluv -

  39. It kinda reminds me of my Tivo, right? Its always downloading a buncha shows that I might like based on my viewing habits. How cool would it be to plug in the Ipod and have it suck down a suck down a buncha songs or videos that I might like based on my recent listening and purchase habits. This is a no brainer.

    Comment by TexFlats -

  40. I think in a world of ad buyers running around like chicken w/o heads and looking for ways to be creative w/ new users they should buy into “sponsoring” artists and flicks so that jane doe can get 1000+ songs for that 8 cent cost.

    The PSP is an amazing device (sorry it still beats the iPod screen) but try finding one indie filmmaker getting his stuff out at a small profit for ads and its currently very difficult. Same with all your podcasts folks where 99% suck and 1% are great the great can’t even make a penny on their revolutionary ad model because no one is picking up the idea.

    Mark – buy up some vidcast/podcast ads + kickstart a new ad buying model🙂 The only time the fuddy duddy’s will listen is when the model of making a few bucks reverses itself and make sense and kicks the middleman in the nuts.

    Comment by Jon Baer -

  41. Wow!! Something that makes so much sense how can we ignore this? Very valid, salient points that do not come across as bitching, pissing or moaning I love hearing such ideas that are so forward thinking. This beats the hell out of what Jess Kersey’s record is when officiating a Mavs game on forth Thursday of odd months in a leap year when his birthday ends in an even number.

    Love it! Pray for Howard!

    Comment by Scott (In Frisco) -

  42. It sounds like a profitable idea. But as you say, the industry would have to lighten up and come into the 21st century.

    Comment by Ryan Stauffer -

  43. all this would make since, so obviously the recording industry will fight it.

    Comment by kyle -

  44. good!

    Comment by imdbcn -

  45. good

    Comment by imdbcn -

  46. We go to the song WE want. In my case, I will buy the full album if I know the artist well enough. But these days who makes great full albums? That’s why we download. “Hey I want that SONG.” Unless you plan to give Ritalin to every single iPod/mp3 player owner, so they can concentrate on whittling down their music choices, I don’t think this is even close to the solution the industry needs.

    Comment by runescape money -

  47. With the difficulties movie studios, video rental stores, music labels and other technology firms are encountering today, this new exclusive desktop technology is the solution.

    Comment by wow powerleveling -

  48. While we’re on this subject – I support 2929’s releasing movies on video on the day of the theatrical release. I have to wait for movies to come on video because of captioning. Some theaters do have captioning technology, but they’re only at select theaters and not necessarily the movies you want to see. Please consider captioning “Bubble” and set an example for others.

    Comment by whales -

  49. Theres a company in the USA that do this with Video on Demand DVD Films, They offer a pre-loaded hard disk drive full of 200+ DVD’s.

    Only problem is, it only works with their 30,000 US$+ system, and the Fully loaded Hard Disk Drives cost in excess of 2,500 $US.

    Ben Hobbs
    http://www.h3-digital.com

    Comment by Ben Hobbs -

  50. I hate to break it to Mr. Cuban, but this service is already available. It’s called satellite radio. Not trying to be a smart a**, but really. What’s the diff between what he’s talking about and XM or Sirrius. Zero.

    As far as his argument about Harry Fox, I’ll go along with it when he agrees to offer Mavs fans the ability to connect to a device that pro rates ticket price for time with eyes closed while blinking, or nodding off for a few minute catnap.

    Comment by Chris Hughes -

  51. Mark – keep revolutionizing. We need someone to make innovation of archiac business practices a reality – and I nominate you.😉

    http://josephward.blogspot.com/2005/12/mark-cuban-revolutioning-way-you-watch.html

    Comment by Joe Ward -

  52. Why can;t I be driving in my my car and hear a song I like on the radio and hit my Purchase Song Now button and the song is bought and downloaded right away on my ipod account so when I get home, the song is already in my hardrive

    Comment by Jason davis -

  53. Yeah I feel the same way…I own a company that allows the user to remix or chop and screw mp3’s, music videos, cd’s and rigtones….and I have been having the hardest time with getting folks to think in that way….

    Comment by Mykel Mitchell -

  54. The increasing possibilities for consuming music put pressure on agencies such as Harry Fox in the US (or Teosto here in Finland) to lower the royalty rate. But it needs to be remembered the money Harry Fox collects does not go to “government”, it’s not a tax. It goes to people who create the music. But as you said, calculating the royalty for 1000 CDs worth of music using the current royalty rate, the result is absolutely not feasible.

    Trying out the formula, let’s make the royalty 1/10 of what it is now: $0.0085. Licensing the music in and iPod with 1000 CDs, about 12000 tracks, would then cost about $100 at max. If my track gets on a million iPods using your model, my tracks have to be good enough to be played over 5 times for me to benefit from them. If 1/100 of those new iPod owners like my music enough to play it the sixth time, I will get compensated for what now equals 1000 sold copies. That’s $85. I’m not so sure that’s a good compensation for a million people listening to my track up to five times.

    Comment by Niko -

  55. The real problem even with the 8.5 cents per song (or less) is how to process micropayments. No one has a method for processing this small of a transaction.

    Comment by Flesko -

  56. Mark,
    The royalty rate is federal law, not a number the Harry Fox people pull out of thin air. Back in 1909 it was 2 cents per recording sold. In 1977 congress finally allowed that number to go above 3 cents. That’s right, it took nearly 70 years to add a penny to the till. It went up to 8.5 cents much faster, obviously.

    It was really hard to make congress people understand that not all songwriters were rich enough to own NBA teams, that in fact most songwriters were making very middle-class incomes from their royalties.

    In fact, I worked for a very large publisher back in the 1970’s, and there were some people who were doing very, very well, but the vast majority of checks we sent out every quarter contituted supplementary income for people who had left the music business for a civilian income. Such checks went to people who had written one or two hits, made a nice check for a few years — and then a few hundred or thousand bucks for a few years after that. That’s right, the vast majority. If I’m a teacher or truck dispatcher making a few extra grand in song royalties, would I really want to roll the dice that that income won’t go away because Mark Cuban says it won’t?

    Now, your point seems to be that copyright owners would get lots more money – or hopefully at least enough to make up for the money they’d lose by allowing the per-recording rate to go back down. Maybe you’re right, maybe not, but would you be willing to lower your ticket prices by any amount at all if I assured you that you’d make more money if you did in MY blog?

    You haven’t even pulled imaginary numbers out of the air to show how the actual songwriters, most of whom, again, never get rich, would do in your scheme. Would you lower your ticket prices if I just assured you you’d do really well by lowering them?

    It would not be difficult to lobby congress to lower the royalty rate. They think songwriters are a bunch of lazy bastards sipping mixed drinks by their pools. You won’t have to show them a single number proving your case. I’m sure you know how to lobby congress. Go for it.

    Comment by Ken Deifik -

  57. The problem is online distributed video neglects a large portion of the audience: deaf, hard of hearing, silver-haired surfers and people in situations where listening to audio isn’t possible.

    While we’re on this subject – I support 2929’s releasing movies on video on the day of the theatrical release. I have to wait for movies to come on video because of captioning. Some theaters do have captioning technology, but they’re only at select theaters and not necessarily the movies you want to see. Please consider captioning “Bubble” and set an example for others.

    Comment by Meryl -

  58. It’s not music, but there’s an interesting example of a pre-loaded iPod available from http://www.ibirdpod.com/ — they bundle the iPod with the Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs (so the buyer purchases the content outright), but BirdPod includes their own software to remix the Stokes content into something more useful for birders in the field.

    Comment by Terrie Miller -

  59. I do not think that this is a very good idea. If I got a new ipod and had to spend the first 15 minutes with it deleting a bunch of music I don’t like, I am going to be pissed. Instead, why doesn’t itunes track what you buy and then load songs onto your ipod based on what they know you like. This way, someone who listens to rap isn’t going to get country recommendations. Just a thought.

    Comment by Danny Conway -

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