9
November
2006

A cover-all blanket license for music? 18:57 on Thursday

Janne posted some very good links the other day. Especially the interview with star music manager Peter Jenner in The Register was excellent. He talks about the future of music business and where things are heading.

Peter Jenner

Jenner says we will have blanket licensing for all music in a couple of years. What’s a blanket got to do with music, you might ask. Well, blanket licensing means that instead of paying for units of music — CDs, MP3s and such — a flat fee is paid for access to all music covered under the license, preferably all music ever made, anywhere, by anyone. It’s an option, and not a bad one. Besides, it would be a big step towards a celestial jukebox.

However, I would say that first we’ll need better collecting societies. I mean, a lot better. The societies will really need to:

  1. enter this millennium
  2. sort their reporting systems out for true international co-operation, and
  3. enable individual use tracking — not only per song tracking, but per use tracking

With a blanket license the last point is not that paramount, but it’s still important.

Apart from talking about blankets, Peter Jenner introduces the best one-sentence introduction of current major labels I’ve ever seen:

…[major labels have] built their power around their monopoly, and their manipulation of the market, and that’s how they cover up their incompetence.

Amen.

Jenner goes on to talk about collecting societies and their so called “black boxes”, money that can’t find its owner. I would be starry-eyed enough to say in Finland we only have white boxes: the money that doesn’t find it’s way is distributed evenly (whatever that means…). Teosto and Gramex are non-profits, so there’s no incentive to maintain a huge black box. Or is there? I wonder where that Steinway grand in the Teosto office came from… (and by the way, if you have a 300.000 EUR piano, I wouldn’t use it as a fruit table!!)

[tags]music business, copyrights[/tags]

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