15 April 2011

Why Google Should Buy the Music Industry

Rumours about Google's music service have been swirling for a while now, but they certainly seem to be reaching a new stage with stories like this:

The latest rumor to emerge from the Google campus is that the company’s much anticipated music service is just about at the end of their rope with the major label licensing process. A source close to the negotiations characterizes the search giant as “disgusted” with the labels, so much so that they are seriously considering following Amazon’s lead and launching their music could service without label licenses. I’m told that, though very remote and my guess is that it would never come to this, Google may go so far as to shut down the music service project altogether.

When there are rumours that you're about to give up on a project, you know it must be real.

But what really caught my attention was the following paragraph and its final, throwaway line:

I’m told that this is when the idea of launching without licenses came up. Google may be starting to think that if the industry weren’t going to sue Amazon, then why would they take on Google? After all, who needs whom the most in this scenario? Could you even wrap your brain around the legal costs? As a source pointed out to me, “Larry, Serge and Eric could buy the entire music industry with their personal money”.

The fact that this is literally true tells us something that is often overlooked: the music industry is economically quite small and unimportant compared to the computer industry. And yet somehow - through honed lobbying and old boy networks - it wields a disproportionate power that enables it to block innovative ideas that the online world wants to try.

On a rational basis, the music industry's concerns would be dwarfed by those of the computer world, which is not just far larger, but vastly more important in strategic terms. But instead, the former gets to make all kinds of hyperbolic claims about the alleged "damage" inflicted by piracy on its income, even though these simply don't stand up to analysis.

But that throwaway comment also raises another interesting idea: how about if Google *did* buy the music industry? That would solve its licensing problems at a stroke. Of course, the anti-trust authorities around the world would definitely have something to say about this, so it might be necessary to tweak the idea a little.

How about if a consortium of leading Internet companies - Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Baidu, Amazon etc. - jointly bought the entire music industry, and promised to license its content to anyone on a non-discriminatory basis?

At the very least, the idea ought to send a shiver down the spine of the fat-cats currently running the record labels, and encourage them to stop whining so much just in case they make the thought of firing them all too attractive to the people whose lives they are currently making an utter misery....

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca.

82 comments:

NomDuClavier said...

Oh yes, please let's 'promote away' these people.

I don't know what the compared size of the pharma industry compared to the computer industry is, but maybe they should look into that as well, lest these managers would use the spoils of being acquired such to set up shop there.

What interest would Google et al have in acquiring the pharma industry? They have rather a lot of employees who's medical costs would could be reduced, for starters.

glyn moody said...

@NomDuClavier: yes, lots of possibilities...

Amy T said...

Are you kidding? So you're advocating a patronage based system where google gets to decide who has enough talent to make a record? Mozart had to rely on patrons but didn't enjoy the benefits of success in his lifetime.

So are you suggesting that we relegate all artists to a lifetime of poverty at the behest of technology giant overlords???

(Oh wait - that's what we have already - creators don't make money - but the googles of the world do - on the backs of creators - just ask an indie filmmaker. http://vimeo.com/22248846)

glyn moody said...

Amy T: not at all: I'm advocating Google/a consortium should buy the big labels to clear the logjam there - to allow new business models to be tried since recording companies just won't countenance this.

but I'm also a big advocate of everyone trying new business models - bypassing the big labels altogether. Ideally, the ecosystem would see a huge number of smaller players too - for example, with musicians setting up on their own and using the Net for distribution/marketing.

And that's exactly what Mozart tried to do with his subscription concerts - go it alone. Alas, he failed, since he was about 50 years too early. But he would have been trying new ways today, not working through the big labels.

And as you rightly say, artists don't make money today: over 90% goes to the recording companies. So they really have nothing to lose but their chains...

Valdis said...

To Amy T: If movie in your link is true and "online piracy" is so profitable risk-free business, why authors don't join pirates? Are they dumb or stupid, or too greedy?
BTW why so cruddy technology as Vimeo is used for this great "educational" movie? Shouldn't it be sold for 20$ on DVD to support authors?

Matt Earle said...

This is a really silly article. Google should just put more nails in the coffin onf the music industry. Their model of capitalizing off of musicians is fading rapidly. They will be soon pushed completely out of distribution then it will just be promotion and that will be next.

Buying the music industry is a horrible idea, what they should really do is lobby back hard and work on eliminating the parasite inefficiency that that the music industry creates.

Ron said...

> So are you suggesting that we relegate all artists to a lifetime of poverty at the behest of technology giant overlords???

That's kinda what's happening now. Artists see only a miniscule amount of the profits from their content.

I'd like to see Google buy the record labels and dissolve them. Artists already have a better choice -- producing independently they can make a much larger share of a smaller number, which equates to more than they're making now. It's often just a matter of getting out of current contracts.

Anonymous said...

@Amy T.: "Mozart had to rely on patrons but didn't enjoy the benefits of success in his lifetime."

Actually Mozart was very successful. Yes, he had to rely on patrons (including Emperor Joseph II) but until his behavior started dwarfing his talent, he could, probably, literally, get away with murder.

jcneto said...

I Have to say that The Music Industry will earn a lot more money if they work in an open bases then they do now. :D Quite a nice idea!

CYMM said...

The folks that say this kind of stuff have no idea about the real nature and value of music to the US culture let alone economy. Considering the majority of producers of entertainment are not part of a major company the very premise of this statement makes no sense.

Are the folks spouting this crap-- suggesting that Google dorks should fund ever indie label. The very premise is so stupid and smacks of major label talking points that it make us almost feel sorry for the nutters that keep repeating the Majors talking point.

When you folks awake up Music is people not corporations Buy Indie Support Local and Fu#k Goolge they are just stealing from Artists that they know have no chance of getting justice from Multi-National Corps like them.

Neto said...

That's is a nice thought.

The current music business model is completely uneven, the idea of an evolution of it that creates channels of delivery and promotion for artist (not labels) is great.

I am not sure if I agree with the idea of google itself buying the industry, but definitely technology should replace (or at least change) the old model where record labels get to decide "you're in" or "you're out".

The difference between the artist that is incredibly rich and the one that barely makes a living out of it is abysmal and rarely based on talent or music.

Technology (in this scenario google) can provide the tools for an artist to create, record and promote his material which were only available through a record label before, hopefully making the ground a bit more even.

Chan Lee Meng said...

Hey glyn, that's an intriguing idea, and they wouldn't even have to buy the whole company. Plus, they could just use their personal money, and not Google's.

For instance, Vivendi, the parent company of Universal (the largest record label) has a market cap of $25.1 bil; 10% of that is "only" $250 mil. Warner Music has a market cap of only $1.1 bil

Here's how I'd do it:
1) Buy a 10% stake in the "big four" labels right now.
2) Every month, for the next two years, buy another %1 stake in the labels.
3) Do not negotiate or meet with the labels at all.
4) Attend all shareholder meetings at the labels, but remain silent.

They'll eventually get the message.

Anonymous said...

Amy, you are spot on. While big labels and studios can afford to chase pirates, the state of affairs is dismal for any small / indie authors. I have exactly the same experience you had, hundreds, perhaps thousands of links and download locations. And your video describes the problem really well. For me the end result is hundreds of thousands of pirated downloads, only a few thousand sales.

So much for bypassing labels Glyn. Content creators are creative, and can rarely double up as businesspeople, let alone when faced with unscrupulous masses from every geography who don't see piracy as anything wrong.

Anyway, I'm not being fooled again - as nasty as some labels are, without them to run studios, do promotion, distribution, and chase pirates there would be little hope of living of creative work.

Anonymous said...

"And as you rightly say, artists don't make money today: over 90% goes to the recording companies. So they really have nothing to lose but their chains..."

How naive. You are assuming that you can create and sell anything in exactly the same amount without professional studios, staff, promotion, advertising?

10% of something is much more that 100% of nothing.

Anonymous said...

I'm advocating Google/a consortium should buy the big labels to clear the logjam there - to allow new business models to be tried since recording companies just won't countenance this. but I'm also a big advocate of everyone trying new business models - bypassing the big labels altogether.

I can see the new Google music business model now: Instead of releasing full songs, Google-owned artists will release only parts of songs, in beta. Then, after relentless A/B testing about which instruments, melodies, and rhythms work the best, they will iterate and iterate until the full song is finally released. Of course, being a web song, it will be subject to change at any time.

Joey said...

This is an interesting debate but actually the big issue here is not just the labels, but the publishers. The licenses that Google needs right now mostly belong to thousands of music publishers and there is no government-set statutory rate on how much it costs to do what Google wants to do, which is make copies of music files and other things that technically violate standard licenses. Just buying the labels won't necessarily free them up to do what they want. There are thousands of companies that stand in the way, and as long as even a handful of companies stand in the way and you don't know which songs belong to them, you risk fines of millions for accidentally violating copyright law.

It's not just the record labels - the entire industry has these issues. Honestly, if you started from scratch and wanted to build an industry that was broken, you could barely do a better job than the recording industry.

But to an earlier comment's point, after they hypothetically buy all of this content, do they just make it all free and destroy the lives of the artists and publishers who still earn a living from them? Granted, the industry is stubborn, but that's because their livelihood is already threatened, and sadly it's while they still make products that people love and use.

Rich Heimlich said...

Google only needs to buy ONE of the majors and then free them. That'll have a number of repercussions. It'll drive the others to compete at levels they never anticipated and it'll likely drive vast amounts of talent to Google's new label.

I'd even be willing to pay for a good chunk of this if Google would announce, up front, a promise to collect the funds needed to cover the purchase price (which would take about a year of funding from the masses) and then drop the fees to allow for unfettered access.

Jason Varmazis said...

If "buying the music industry" were combined with an equitable revenue share that properly compensated artist, songwriter & music publisher this could work. There would absolutely need to be the equivalent of a net neutrality for discovery and access. Economic models could be made to satisfy both artists and consumers.
What will hold this back? The large record companies that like to squeeze what they can out of their old catalogs while pushing new pop superstars. This model is more suitable for the next "Death Cab for Cutie" not the next "Britney Spears"

Archer Sully said...

Generally speaking, recording artists don't make money. Personal services contracts in the recording industry are pretty onerous, and the artist has to pay back every dime of advance money they get to make a record. Oh, and the label usually tells you how much money to spend and what to spend it on. And what songs you record, when the record gets released, if at all, etc...

The record industry adds very little value, and I would love to see Google buy up the lot of them.

money cant buy me songs said...

not a good idea,
you cant just buy industries
you could buy companies, but others will emerge and compete, which is a good thing, an industry is an ecosystem.
in addition, the music industry is not about Market Value, its about influence and culture, which is more valuable than money in the human reality, eventough we may have not realize it yet

Anonymous said...

@NomDuClavier Considering Google as a whole has 29 Billion in revenue and Merck alone has 46 Billion in revenue - you can see that being pretty much out of the question. Add in Pfizer with their 67 Billion revenue and then the remainder of the top pharmas such as Wyeth, AstraZeneca and Norvartis with their combined 105 billion and you can see how it overshadows little old Google. Even if Google and Microsoft teamed up it would never happen.

Anonymous said...

Do you have any numbers about the relative sizes of the music and IT industries?
Wikipedia (yeah, so I'm lazy) says about $30-$40 billion in 2004: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_industry#cite_note-20
Anyone have some more up to date numbers?
For comparison Google also has revenue of about $30 billion in 2010.

The EAM-Dude said...

But Google has no new business model to offer. They are an ad-broker and the music industry would be sent back to the model of 30's where the corporate ad-buyers decided which music gets released. That is a real fat cat model. The LP/album model had the advantage that consumers direct purchases (vote!) could finance the recording/release of an album and during the 60-70-80's small and big labels released a very wide range of material. For a while the music industry was a free market with consumers in power. The tech-industry, by breaking ip-law, has disrupted this model and we are now thrown back into the 30's.

Hamranhansenhansen said...

That is an absurd idea. Anyone who lives in either Northern California or Southern California could tell you how ridiculous this is. It's like suggesting that Saudia Arabia buy Israel. There is no cultural overlap between Google and record companies. Plus, Google is an Asberger's factory, they have zero social skills, zero artistic skills, and that is what is required at a record company.

We don't have to guess how this would go, either. Sony already followed this logic in the 1990's when they bought CBS. That lead to them building the music players that their record company wanted instead of the music players that their customers wanted and Walkman became iPod.

Also, we saw AOL buy Engadget, but then everybody left. So what did they buy? The name? Google buying record companies would similarly destroy those companies.

Further, Google is an advertising company. They commoditize everything they touch other than ads. The music industry is already broke. Google would be the nail in the coffin.

I know that some tech people really like Google. But you have to try to be broadminded enough to understand Google is very, very widely hated. Especially by content producers, because we have all had the experience of Googling our own work and the top hits are pirated versions of our work festooned with Google ads. When you complain about this, a glassy-eyed tech drone says "open … freedom … open … freedom" as though Google is not making billions of dollars off of it, as though they are some non-profit foundation that exists to index the Web for the public good. No, they are not. They are advertisers who want to put ads next to every last bit of the world's content.

Do record companies need to evolve and catch up to the 21st century? Fuck yeah. But sold to Google? It's more practical if they buy the moon and put ads on there. Don't tell me they haven't thought about it.

Wayne Borean said...

Glyn,

But why buy now? The price will only drop. All of these companies are hemorrhaging talent. When an artist can make 70% of off an album download on ITunes, why would they sign to a label?

As more and more artists go independent, the value of the labels drop. And as more and more movies like 'And Then Came Lola' are made independently, the lower the value of the movies studios. The same with the book publishers.

The 'content' industry is in terrible trouble. I've been crunching the numbers. The publishers are sinking fast. The labels won't be far behind. The Video production houses will last longest, because of costs, but they are going down too, it will just take longer.

BTW, you didn't nominate anyone for the voyage yet. We have a Captain now, what do you think of him:

Proposal For An Expedition To HD 38283 b To Be Funded By The Gates Foundation – UPDATED

http://madhatter.ca/2011/04/13/proposal-for-an-expedition-to-hd-38283-b-to-be-funded-by-the-gates-foundation/

Wayne

jlaprise said...

I agree but let's go one step further. You're a billionaire and want to make a long term lasting cultural contribution to society, coincedentally making sure your name lives on forever. Buy out the recording industry with the understanding that the new ownership make available all currently help copyrights under a creative commons non-commercial use set of priviliges and is managed by a non-profit entity which uses the commercial proceeds for operations. So the "Buffett Foundation" goes down in history as the entity that gave the gift of music to the people.

jlaprise said...

This is a great idea. Google (or other wealthy individual or entity) sets up a non-profit entity and subsidizes their acquisition of the music industry with the express understanding that the copyrights obtained will be made available under a non-commercial creative commons regime. Commercial usage will underwrite the foundation's operations. Can you imagine the intangible goodwill generated by being the name that "set music free?" That would be prize beyond price.

Yeah, I know. It would really be problematic for the music distribution industry. The proprietary iPod would be obsolete overnight. For musicians, it would be a dream come true. A parallel entity which would freely host your (or your band's) music under whatever terms you chose (price and copyright).

Welcome to a vision of a musical world.

rmz said...

It would be like swallowing a very large poison pill. Sure, G. can afford the cash, but can they afford the hassle that will surely accompany a purchase like this?

That said, it would be an interesting developent :-)

glyn moody said...

@Chan: that's an interesting approach - and shows that there are lots of interesting variants on the basic idea.

glyn moody said...

@Matt: but we don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater: I'm trying to find a way for us all to access the music that exists - and for artists to get paid too.

glyn moody said...

@Ron: yes, but maybe we need a consortium to handle the legacy side of things; the future is definitely different.

glyn moody said...

@CYMM: you're right it's people - but most of those people are getting a very raw deal currently, with most money going to the distributors, not musicians.

we need a new model so that artists get paid more fairly; the music labels are the main obstacle to that - my suggestion was a way to remove that obstacle.

glyn moody said...

@Neto: "Google" is really just a placeholder for any sensible management that is prepared to work with the Internet, not against it.

glyn moody said...

@anonymous: you invoke those pirates, but research simply doesn't back up your claims. As I've explained many times elsewhere, plenty of research shows that sharing files leads to more sales - it's like free advertising.

Demonising "pirates" is part of the problem: they are not "pirates", they the industry's customers that aren't being served properly.

glyn moody said...

@anonymous: you write "10% of something is much more that 100% of nothing" but it's actually the other way around: 100% of a moderate number is better than 10% of a bigger number.

Keeping most of the profit on sales is possible precisely because artists don't need to spend much on marketing and distribution: the Internet does the latter, and sharing does the former.

pitsch said...

google might be a private company but they provide a service which would have been public a few decades ago. they should focus on royality collecting agencies. accepting that youtube is already quite effective in streaming a large amount of long tail music. much more than amazone and deeply tied into music blogs and fb feeds. its all about streaming. they shouldn't outcompete itunes on the download level and beat apple where they are weak, the web.

glyn moody said...

@Joey: you're right, it's more complicated than I've indicated here - and in a sense, even more broken. The idea was more to get some people to realise how broken it is compared to what we would do rationally - and maybe help concentrate the minds of those causing the problems.

glyn moody said...

@Rich: good point. In fact, it's interesting that there are lots of variations on the basic theme.

glyn moody said...

@anonymous: as regards the relative size of the two industries, I came across some figures a while back, and now I can't find them.... But my memory was that computing dwarfs music by a big factor (anyone?)

glyn moody said...

@The EAM-Dude: why can't it use the iTunes model? It presumably will if it ever gets Google Music off the ground.

glyn moody said...

@Hamranhansenhansen: yes, but the reason there is no cultural overlap is the *problem* I'm trying to solve. The music industry has little understanding of the digital world: letting a consortium run it would bring precisely that knowledge.

glyn moody said...

@wayne: why now? because we've waited long enough and we want our music...

yes, the price will drop, but you have to factor in the continuing frustration....

glyn moody said...

@jlaprise: yes, that's a nice variation. I'm almost surprised someone hasn't done this...

Anonymous said...

Actually, why don't they make google music like android market and/or youtube. Bypassing the music industry altogether. Anyone can publish thier own song, and get paid for it, based on usage. They'll have to find thier own studio's, just like youtube artists have to buy their own cameras. If a label want's to join, they will have to make their own account just like when say... EA or Adobe want their apps in the android market.

glyn moody said...

@anonynous: yes, that would be a good idea for *future* music production, but we need to liberate the past, too....

Nathan said...

I like it! I like it a lot.

Anonymous said...

She's such a cunt. She left out Apple. At least apple has some taste compared to google, yahoo and amazon.

Anonymous said...

I think what he's advocating for is having an Internet/Open minded organization take over and change the rules to adapt to reality.

Instead of suing everyone, instead of being impossible to negotiate, just set the rules straight, make music licensing easy for everyone and enable a multitude of distribution channels for musicians.

All musicians would win if every entrepreneur on the internet could affordably license and resell music.

MORE movie/film/documentary producers could easily use the internet to license music for their works, etc. etc.

Google would take all the lawyers out of the way and re-invent the music industry, just the way they did for advertising.

They could turn music into their second huge business model.

glyn moody said...

@anonymous: yup

Briggsly said...

I agree that the music industry needs new management that is open to innovative business models of distribution/consumption. However, I'm leery of Google/Apple ownership. Apple already has a serious lock-in to their iTunes model, do you think if they bought the big 4 labels they would disrupt iTunes? Or open the model up to be disrupted by rdio/pandora/spotify? And Apple is the one tech company with enough media chops (eg Pixar/Disney) to not f#ck things up. Maybe Amazon.
Can you imagine Larry Page discussing Gaga's next world tour? Zuckerburg talking shop with Rick Rubin? Jeff Bezos reviewing album art with The Kills? Talk about being out of your element!
But I will say that there are major opportunities to disrupt things, and tech companies would provide some much needed data-driven decision-making to the process. Having the future and fate of a musician's career in the hands of a moronic label exec just doesn't work.
Lastly, those knocking the open business models for independent music by saying, "well, 10% of something is better than 100% of nothing" are absolutely wrong. Just take a look at Kindle self publishing from Amazon. There are hundreds of independent authors who couldn't get published (or could but chose to be independent) that are selling hundreds of thousands of units with ZERO marketing/promotion. As with indie music, the cream rises to the top.

glyn moody said...

@Briggsly: I agree, there's plenty of scope for abuse - that's why I suggested a consortium, so that the different biases would cancel out...

Briggsly said...

@glyn A better move is to continue to out pressure on the industry to standardize licensing terms. Amazon's new push without label consent will drive this, and Google's venture will as well. Spotify/Rdio/Pandora/MOG need to join in and all jointly propose a standard and just more forwar with it. If you could solidify the consortium of tech companies to set the terms and say "take it or leave it, this is what you're getting," then the labels would finally come together and set decent terms. I am not up on the early history, but wasn't the early radio model all screwed up until the labels got together and everyone agreed on a set royalty? The stations all wanted different amounts, pay-to-play in some cases, and the labels got fed up, banded together, and standardized radio royalties? I think that's how it went down. Ironic how the tables have turned.

glyn moody said...

@Briggsly: yes, attacking the problem via licensing might be more doable. Although I almost fear the labels would prefer to go out of business than to concede...

Wayne Borean said...

They would. Since you didn't comment I gather you missed the joke when I named the long time mascot of Mad Magazine, Alfred E. Neuman, Captain, and claimed that he worked at Time Warner...

Wayne

Anonymous said...

why does people think the owners of the record labels are the ones that discuss who is going to be the next big artist or how the next tour of X singer is going to be? im almost completely sure they dont even know what singers are signed with them, i believe its more like this: "hey she/he sings nice, is she/he with us?", i suppose most people think larry did gmail right? maybe it was sergey! (no it was paul buchheit), just because you are one of the owners or creators of a company it means you are the only one that will do everything in that company

this proposal is to make more convenient the legal layer of business, the creative layer would remain intact...

Anonymous said...

It'd be much better to just require mandatory licensing. Yes, it would be nice if somebody like Apple or Google bought major labels (audio or video). Sony did that and where are they now?

No, I think the better approach is to reexamine IP. The IP industry needs to be open to new business models and mandatory licensing and shorter copyright terms will provide a better economic environment for all involved.

glyn moody said...

@anonoymous: I think Sony failed because they brought nothing new; in fact, they just became like the existing record labels.

Yes, changing intellectual monopolies would be great, but I suspect there will be a certain resistance to that...(doesn't mean we shouldn't try.)

Anonymous said...

Nobody needs to own the music industry, what is there even to own? It's easier than ever to distribute music independently and at most you need a middle-man to help you set up an online store. 99% of the existing industry is shit music that nobody can remember, and massive marketing structures to tell you which of it you're supposed to buy, and that's why it's failing.

Anonymous said...

agreed with people above. Why bother buying the labels - just sell from independent artists and the labels will either remember how much talent and money they're hemorrhaging and play ball or just disappear altogether.

Anonymous said...

for 'Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Baidu, Amazon etc.', substitute 'Google, Apple, Amazon, BitTorrent, BMI, ASCAP, Limewire, Kazaa, Napster, Fox, MSNBC, etc.', and maybe that'd be a start.

twitter said...

Glen said, we don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater: I'm trying to find a way for us all to access the music that exists - and for artists to get paid too.

As Richard Stallman pointed out about software, the creation and distribution of works are two separate problems. We only think the two are linked because publishers have told us that people will stop singing and dancing if publishers stop making money with US style copyright. There are lots of ways to fund the creation of works that don't restrict everyone else's ability to share. Micropayments, subscriptions, advertising, community funding, public performance, private parties, merchandising, product endorsements, old media publication and works for hire are just some of ways musicians make money without restricting distribution.

The purchase and liberation of all major label music would be a great gift and might help bring justice to publishing. Journal paywalls are a larger injustice that leads to ignorance, wasted talent and death every day. How are people in developing countries supposed to practice medicine without access to proper journals? How many Einsteins are there living today who won't be able to learn physics? Can we have verifiable history if people are not allowed to collect and publish news like public libraries do? The war against sharing has done more serious harm than destroying Napster, which was the world's greatest library of music. As people realize the costs, they will tear the walls down and those who built those walls will be lucky to stay out of jail. If buying out the music labels brings us closer to reasonable copyright law, it might be worth it. I'd rather throw the bums in a cell next to the Boston Strangler.

Derek said...

This conversation is exactly why you need to install Disqus or something like it. I want to respond directly to so many of these comments.

glyn moody said...

@twitter: yes, you're right, this can be applied much more widely to make the world's knowledge available to everyone. not doing so is simply a crime against humanity.

Nikke said...

A Question: how would artists get (or not) get paid according to the copyright law and artist existing contracts? If Google would buy the music business. Google come from the angle of free but not all artists (forget the business) agree.

glyn moody said...

@Nikke: I'm not suggesting artists shouldn't be paid. Just that Google/a consortium would be more open-minded to negotiating new deals with new services - something the current labels seem reluctant to do, as Spotify's difficulties demonstrate...

Artists could be offered a choice - and those that accepted would have additional revenues, unlike those that didn't.

Anonymous said...

@AmyT It is symptomatic that none of the answers were about the movie really. Only demagogy... no wonder they call 'em freetards, i think it fits pretty well..

Wayne Borean said...

Glyn,

Whoever it was who mentioned Disqus is right. You really need to migrate off the antiquated blogger platform onto Word Press.

Before you say that you'd loose everything, no you wouldn't. Word Press has a Blogger import function. What I'd suggest is set up a Word Press account. Mess around with it for a while till you are comfortable using another blog name like dottestdrivesitedotdot.wordpress.com and then when you are happy with basic set up options (I can help you with this) copy the setup to the real blog, and import all of your posts from here over to blogger, and then make one last post with a link to the Word Press site. That's what I did, and it worked fine.

Oh, and I also locked commenting on articles on the old blog. Minor detail, so that if they wanted to comment they had to come to the new site.

Word Press has some issues, but most of them relate to self hosting (which I am doing) and if you let Word Press host for you, you don't have to worry.

Wayne

glyn moody said...

@Wayne: thanks for the suggestion, which is a good one, apart from one thing: what happens to the content when I die?

twitter said...

What happens to your writing depends on the quality of the writing and freedom of it's publication. Good libraries try to capture everything. Fans make sure they do. If they are free to share, they will.

glyn moody said...

@twitter: well, as you can see, my licence is pretty liberal. The Wayback Machine is wonderful - but very limited in its coverage of this blog.

As to the quality, there's not much I can do about that...

Oliver S. said...

So, your solution is a monopoly where Google owns everything?

Wayne Borean said...

Hell Glyn, what happens to it now? You don't even have a copyright notice of any sort on the blog, so we don't know if you intend to allow remixing or reusing, or anything else. One thing that Word Press is really good for is that you can edit the Theme yourself, so mine says that the bottom of every page:

Copyright © 2011 Wayne Borean aka The Mad Hatter Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Canada License.

Just a minor edit in the PHP code. All I did was keep opening PHP files and searching for the word 'copyright'. Once I found it I
replaced 'All Rights Reserved' with 'Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Canada License.' Anyone who can use an editor/word processor and knows how the 'search' function works can do it.

Another question - do you have a will? I'm in the process of drawing one up. I operate 8 websites, and I'm now (as of yesterday) a professional (paid) writer. My family doesn't know where a anything is, I'm in the process of documenting it all, along with user names, passwords, and everything else.

My will won't cover the details. It will however tell them the access information to get to a document which will give them the details. And until I start trying to document all of the stuff I've done, including software, articles, recordings, etc., I didn't realize just how busy I'd been. It's actually quite scary.

The thing is though that neither Blogger nor Word Press will now if a bus runs over you outside the pub tonight, and your blog will continue to exist until the company hosting it (if you pick the free option) dies. If you pick the paid option like I did, and allow your site to be scraped, it will live on at Archive.org and hopefully the Google Cache.

glyn moody said...

@Oliver: that's why I suggested a consortium - to avoid precisely that problem.

glyn moody said...

@Wayne: er, every page has a CC-by-sa sign on it...

Yes, I have a will, but I don't want to burden anyone with the problem of keeping my sites running. I expect Google to outlive me, so that's one reason to use Blogger.

Archive.org is a wonderful resource, but very patchy - and certainly not something that can be depended on any more than Google....

_sMatlak said...

Imagine being a musician working for Google:
You usually work on whatever project the Great G thinks will attract the most viewers most susceptible to advertising. However, you are allotted 20% of your studio time to work on your own musical projects which can become your main focus if they are successful enough

glyn moody said...

@_sMatlak: nice...

Brandignity said...

If there is anyone that can really take the music industry by storm online it is Google. You need two things in order to do this, muscle and money and Google has both.

Anonymous said...

>>>So are you suggesting that we relegate all artists to a lifetime of poverty at the behest of technology giant overlords???


In the avalanche of shit that is our culture, music is the least avoidable horror. Make them starve till they all have to get jobs.

True power would be the ability to buy it all, just to snuff it out. They can't do that so they're no use to me.

But if they could they'd be my hero. They could buy my wife too, and shut her up, and we could kill every single radio "personality" and live in relative happiness.

I can dream, can't I? Bono and Elton and all the rest of the fuckers on a big fire!

Anonymous said...

Fuck yeah start a revolution fight the muso-facist oppressors

Anonymous said...

A fascist government invades every space, cannot be escaped, tyrannizes the very minds of the enslaved, if it can.

I thought about this while i was grinding my teeth to the sound of Van Morrison in a $2 shop yesterday, what an annoying little faggot, and the radio dj sincerely opined, after making me listen to this fucking nonsense song about bit by bit and shalalala, that Van Morrison is brilliant. It's in my head right now, won't go away,because it's "catchy" - people think that's a good thing. Evil people. Bring on the fucking asteroid.

Andrew Hwang said...

And yet another textbook example of the music industry attempting to keep their heads above water and their ’dream’ alive, as they continue to fight the uphill battles with the computer and software industry. Only this time online power figures, Google are giving a run for their money.

Do you think record labels made the right choice for not granting these licenses to Google?

glyn moody said...

@andrew hardly...