Solving the P2P crisis
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[dancetech database recompiled in 1999 - some articles listed April '99 are older]
anyways, my thoughts are along these lines - we need a big leap of faith which is also a double-wammy to both give artists and bands fair fees and help sales generaly without disassembling the trad' industry structure at all:
i dont see why we cant have legal subscription p2p. this would generate huge traffic (i mean just look at the big torrent sites' traffic! they garner enormous traffic between them) so youd have a pool of funds, partly from subscriptions and partly from advertising - thats one enormous pool of revenue to share.
costs would be very very low as no files are stored so no massive bandwidth or server costs. The public becomes the distribution infastructure
Files could be easily tracked and distribution of songs ranked by 'spread' - fees would be distributed to the musicians or their elected agencies and representatives (labels etc where they exist) after costs are accounted for based on their download ranks in any given month
basicaly renumerate based on download rankings and spread just as site traffic is caulculated to price advertising fees.
it's as foolproof as you can get I'd say given that there's no alternatives that can possibly work.
the old trad' industry could still function
1. we're in a massive recession which will last for a few years at least, so people dont have money.
2. the majors are really just distributors now, there is actualy no need for them to function as labels with the trad' 'label' remit of paying for recording and taking copyright in return - bands can fund recording thru privately raised 'angel' investment quite easily.
3. bands have tracks recorded thru private funding - labels would pickup bands primarily functioning as advertising agencies. The more sucessfuly they advertise and promote, the bigger cut of the download fee 'pool' they get = the more money they get - the deal changes so labels promote in return for download fees - this also costs them less and allows them to primarily function as promoters
btw, the producer system can still exist with producers and labels working with bands they select as viable as they do today. The producer as now gets a percentage of the labels download fee. However, named producers can function indepedently as well, selecting and recording bands they like and functioning also in some way as 'quasi-labels', delivering product into the torrent pool which is fronted by their reputation to garner extra revenues independently of labels. This in no way kills or reduces the traditional label/producer relationship though.
4. if labels want to put out hard copy product thats an 'add-on' - labels can fund dvd videos etc and hard copy cd where appropriate.
5. download tracking systems mean that smaller indie acts and labels get the publicity they deserve as it can be shown their product is widely spread - wheras before only hard copy sales mattered in terms of revenue not how many people are actualy listening to their product - So for example small specialist very good trance labels which have product spread widely in torrent form would usualy lose out if their only reward is hard-copy cd sales, but with a torrent tracking system they could garner decent revenues if their product is widely spread.
6. the tracking/reward system would factor in sample cd's and s/w helping those companies also.
7. the industry can still function without being ripped apart - the same relationships and deals can still work and exist.
8. radical changes are made to musicians and writers legal rights so they get PER-DOWNLOAD fixed renumeration which is at least 50% of the fee paid to the promoting label - publishing and downloads then operate on a minimum 50/50 (to the artist) basis - artists/writer always get 50% minimum - no more fiddling accounts, knocking off costs and fees and packaging and discounts, promotions costs discounted and all that nonsense etc - the labels simply signs deals with acts to be their exclusive promoters/labels and can get on with what is their real core business - advertising and promotion
9. Hard copy cd distribution deals and dvd deals are seperated from the main core 'download' industry - negotiated as seperate deals at the labels and artists discretion - this will incentivise the industry to make hard copy product something abit more interesting. true fans and those wanting cd can pay slightly more for a cd if the band/artist/label decides it is a suitable venture outside of download fees - cd's and dvd in effect become 'merchandise' products
10. acts/labels can forget chasing downloads and spending millions on legals & lobbying and pointless representation groups, dump costly manufacturing and distribution (as the core function without which they cease to be a label) and concentrate on their core business of promotion of tracks, gigs, events & merchandising activity
11. Ip's will be relieved of gov't pressure & laws forcing them to perform prohibitive costly tracking and spying - this will incentivise the spread of faster networks thru investment as downloading and legal p2p spreads and forces a requirement for better infastructure people are willing to pay for.
12. the industry removes it's negative image in the eyes of the public - treats artists decently - levels the playing feild for smaller labels & enterprises etc
13. this would incentivise true music lovers to re-join the industry and hopefuly lead to better acts and less emphasis on a major-media industry controlled scene - potentialy a bunch of keen hardworking kids making the right moves promotionaly using the www could run a sucessful label if paid based on download spread stats.
14. more money would be available for the music-video industry helping revive it and resulting in more video product 'merchandising' - bands could collect fees from downloading and release tour documentaries & gigs etc on dvd as bonus merchandising products
15. remember, download torrent films are lo-fi and play ok on a pc screen in a small size but people usualy pay for a full screen size resolution hi quality copy. therefore the film biz would have also a dual revenue - tracked download fees & hard copy product and all the usual cinema revenue, tv fees etc
16. Indie films could compete with major studios at least they wouldnt be blocked from distribution as is usualy the case - the film biz is doing well anyways, so dvd's would still sell as they currently do - Films downloaded & watched by millions such as Zeitgeist would get the fees they deserve based on the fact millions watch that film - indies can compete - this can hopefuly also stimulate the indie film industry
17. back catalogs of older B&W and specialist films would be available and easy to acess - often these must be purchased from tiny distributors at very expensive costs and often delivery of those films takes ages.
18. back catalogs of deleted and rare songs (such as old soul music) would actualy garner revenue again for older forgotten artists and various rights holders who currebtly have no way to monetise those assets except thru possible inclusion on limited release specialist compilation cd's
most importantly of all, the current and traditional relationships and jobs within the industry are mostly not threatened - management still functions - publishers still can function as can labels. But with distribution costs slashed there's no reason then that labels (who are from that point functioning primarily as marketing companies) cant give up decent fixed fees to artists.... hopefuly this can remove the totaly speculative nature of renumeration from the industry which has always plagued it.
It would allow labels to sign MORE smaller bands without a requirement for them to have instant and major sucess to justify their continued label support. Smaller selling bands could re-emerge in stables with major artists and not be slung off the label if they dont sell 500,000 albums in their first showing. Hopefuly this would in some way also stimulate and rejuvinate the smaller venue gig scene opening up new opportunities in this sector.
any band or indie label can have tracks in the global torrent 'pool' by simply buying a product code for a small licence fee which also goes in the admin pot to fund the system - This helps split off the non-signed home-made track fodder circulating within the system from being tracked - this then allows quality unsigned bands with no deal (or who odnt want one) to garner revenue by promotion on social networking sites and their own sites etc if they are willing to stump up the fee (which many do anyway on independent band-cd-selling sites).
indie websites in the genre with decent traffic could function as labels by simply getting their product codes and putting out torrents into the pool.
the only caveat is that only one torrent licence holder (a label or the band itself or whoever) can hold a track at any time - thus you get 'deals', with bigger more popular artists/bands able to negotiate with labels for 'advances' in the form of one-off possibly non-refundable fees as 'sweeteners' to come onboard in return for giving up the label fee percentage to that bidding label. In effect the labels are bidding with major acts for the right to promote and then garner the 50% maximum torrent 'pool' fees - the better they promote the more money they make. But the band always get paid a fixed, forcastable rate per download.
i think it could work fantasticaly - it would sound the death knell for iTunes tho sadly
look at a typical band and how much they get (if anything) after all the un-specified deductions - with legal p2p labels get licenses simply to promote and in return they get to keep 50% of download fees - the band/writers gets the other 50%... or even why not 60%!! Labels cant argue anymore they need to claw back all the money to cover expenses for traditional manufacturing & distribution - as i said, hard copy cd/dvd and other products all come under merchadising and are treated as such with deals following traditional merchandising models. BUT, lo-fi copies can also be distributed by p2p networks which then provides 2 potential revenues - one lo-fi and one for other 'merchandise'.
this gives musicians and writers some ability finaly to actualy forcast revenue
also another important aspect of p2p tracked fees would be the removal of majors ability to block out whats happening in the street, so currently poorly renumerated street music such as uk hiphop, grime, dubstep etc will be shown as popular and labels cant hype acts all the time to block out and monpolise the maket - street music gets it's rewards and can compete - if 500,000 kids download ndubs them this is reflected and not blocked by a mad hype of lady gaga.
if legal p2p had say 100 million subscribers globaly (not a hyped figure at all, look at social sites totals and torrent sites traffic and combine the 2) at just $2.99 per month (or possibly more), thats ALOT of money to share monthly which currently is lost forever to pirates.
on top of that load of easy-peasy revenue the mabels can persue all the usual avanues of additional revenue from tv sell offs to merchandising of cd and dvd product and more.
why cant it work to both fix this industry and finaly give artists proper payment?
the alternative is what exactly? endless negativity, endless talk of criminalisation and spying on people etc. huge effort and money continualy spent on policing and prosecuting etc, and also the fact that right now corporations are deeply unpopular and to align yourself with that is the kiss of death imo
i might be old, but i remember that kids in every generation always need a new version of 'the man' to stick it to - labels hav spent the last 10 years setting themselves up as 'the man' over and over
oh well - that my 2p, i cant see how this unending talk of criminalising and prosecuting the public can work or help; and besides, you tell me how you can genuinely and without massive expense actualy shut down illegal p2p?
People dont want drm, they dont want restricted formats, they dont want copyright warnings etc to sit thru, they just want to do what they do - feel the urge to get a song and do so - this then means the industry can profit from the ultimate impulse buying, cos it's instant access.
also you need a system that brings onboard torrent site owners & communities so they co-operate and see it as a good thing with some moral substance. Why cant the site creators profit from all that work?
As far as the torrent communities are concerned, honestly i truly beleive most people on torrent sites are pretty sus (sure there will always be idiots) and those members in truth would like to see artists and bands paid but they beleive the bands wont get paid anyways by the evil corps if they buy the cd's, and they are right in that view in 99.99% of cases.
Also those cd's cost way too much and not everyone wants a cd, many are happy with mp3 but dont want shitty drm.
Why cant that work? who the hell needs a label nowadays to fund recording? any decent band could get funding privately even if they pay themselves as most bands do
so why do we need a monopoly system which is based on this old premise now defunct?
this old system means labels have a closed shop monopoly that forces bands to enter into recording contracts as the only available contract (i'm not including comps etc and leasing etc products)
why do we need a system where bands have to sign 'recording deals' and they must give away everything and get a shitty 6.5, 7 or 8 percent after deductions etc? and give away all their intellectual property for VERY long terms way beyond the actual life of the 'record deal'
it's a pile of total out of date BS.
it should be simple:
band funds cd - labels bid for download rights licence (in some cases with sweetener non refundable advance - band gets 50%-60% of fees, NO deductions - labels absorbs costs to promote as does ANY promoter.
everything else product wise is done as merchandising.
tracker charts show popularity globaly, regionaly and by date ranges just as say google stats does it - everything is above board and visible to both fans, artists and labels
stop taking copyright from artists for long terms
stop cheating artists out of payment by creative accounting
spread the music - open the industry up - radio & broadcast fees remain as is pretty much.
basicaly stop the majors' monopoly before it kills the industry off altogether and get this industry back on track as it should be - vital, alive, fresh and delivering new acts regularly - get the street and the public back into the equation in terms of deciding what is popular
or we stick with the old model of inter media-company deals, no street influence on the main commercial music scene at all, majors dominating, small labels closing....
... and a global populace who remembers the entertainment industry as the people who killed the internet.
anyone think it's workable or am i just rambling? better take me meds i guess.
Round 2 - More thoughts
What worries me with the tax-ip solution is that it's just a corporate monopoly total crafty con.
Some guy was saying the other day that he has a decent label selling decent amounts but he is plagued with downloading - well i dont think ip-tax would end up in the hands of those smaller guys, the big corps would take it all
also for sure it wouldnt include self releasing bands and other organisations for payment
then the issue of it hindering ip's and infastructure devlopment they could make (ip's makes peanuts profit on dsl accounts, they will fight an ip tax)
also it wouldnt do anything to make a new global download chart which could include anybody's work - corps would still control the market
also it wouldnt include the pirates, so they would still need to be removed which is so difficult if not impossible, plus the huge cost to try and do that and then police everything
also it would mean ip's spying for govt on your web activity
legal p2p wouldnt involve those things, it would by nature of it's method automaticaly bring onboard rogue pirate torrent sites which would suddenly become legal
it would just be switched on and be working already with all the current torrent infastructure - I mean you dont suddenly cut off your potential customer-base of multi hundreds of millions of users globaly who are setup already using torrents - because torrent sites and torrent s/w is the system you already have a global system in place ready to go!
torrent technology is so effective, and there's hardly any server costs, it's a self replicating, self-ifastructure-creating system - we should use the best most widely spread technology i reckon, and that's torrents!
troube is most people against file torrenting dont use torrents and arent aware of how it all works and how good it is. It's brilliantly simple!
and it's alot of money in that potential pool of users! - say conservatively there's 200 million torrent users globaly paying subscription - you setup a global membership system - a user signs up and can access all torrent sites signed up to the plan. Torrent ssites NOT signed up are prosecuted, but there'd be no need cos the carrot is they become legal and get 10% say of the membership they garner on top of their advertising - Any Torrent site join the system to garner membership, but that membership works with any torrent site in the system.
Pirate bay and mininova etc have loyal users and they would sign up with their favourite site, everyone is a winner. The torrent site owners would make MORE money and thus would all come onboard and become wealthy legal businessmen (come on we offer amnesties to terrorist groups even where it brings a peaceful resolution right)
So imo all torrent sites would signup for it
It just requires each torrent site has an ID number to pay them for users they register and a global registration mirrored database system to administer records and payments (all automatic).
There ya go - youve solved illgal torrent sites without any prosecution and policing costs at all, and new torrent sites can be created by any labels who can use label incentives to drive people to prefer & use their site - Like the big4 can just add torrenting into their current sites and join the party and not only get paid for downloads but garner registration fees on top - also it can work with stuff like adobe AIR widgets and delivery sites etc.
Anyways - say you have 200 million users @ 5 euros a month - thats ONE BILLION euros a month to distribute fairly, based on stats, to every label, band and s/w maker!!
That's HUGE money - thats 12 billion a year with just 200 million users (and it'd easily go WAY above that, more like a 1/2 billion users globaly)
Everyone would make more profit AND they can still sell hard copy product & merchadise, tv rights etc etc on top of that!
Imagine - your band pays to make a track in a studio, you release that torrent into the torrent cloud ether - if you plug it and 500 people a month are downloading it, you get paid for each transfer! all you need is a host server to get it started but after that it is shared accross between peoples machines and your server. The more popular it gets the LESS server costs you have, lol, you cant beat that surely!
Trouble is it makes a totaly level playing feild which is why i think corps will fight it to the end so they can retain their market monopoly, and thats why imo the proposed IP-tax is actualy a crafty con
It seems like a solution but if you follow the technology and the ramification of that, it actualy makes the corps have an even bigger monopoly and blocks out any chance for small labels to get paid - never mind the fact it will not stop illegal torrent sites which will still have validity cos files in effect will still be illegal - while people share illegaly no-one gets paid - and who can track where to distribute payments?
We would still be stuck with the crappy old system of a few feeble web stores & possibly the dreaded drm will stay - hence the total incentive for illegal files still exists.
Also it'd hurt apple and amazon etc download stores and all those corps who have invested in the old system would fight it for their own sake, NOT for musicians and labels and s/w writers etc.
All the IP TAX will do is pay the major corps a chunky tax but downloading and torrents will still be illegal and still be taking away sales. you cant stop it imo in any practical way without a total clampdown on the www which would wreck it forever - it'd no longer be a free information highway and would become more and more controlled like radio & tv and all small web entities would be quickly killed off i think.
Cant you just taste the possibilities of this brave new potential world? it's so exciting what COULD happen - Sadly tho we all know the reality of how corps have crushed other tech advances/changes like electric cars etc just to hog markets or keep old systems alive
I dont trust 'em one bit, i fear we're going to end up with the web equivilent of VHS tape when we could have BETA
It's so predictable how corps kill the real technology possibilities.
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