Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Future of Music

About 25 cents of every 15 dollar CD you buy from a major record label goes to the artist. The RIAA claims they sue people in the States who download music to protect the artists; really it's to protect their fat profit margins. A few years ago, the CRIA — the Canadian equivalent of the RIAA — got the Canadian government to impose a levy on all blank CDs, arguing that the major purpose of blank CDs was not to back up data but to copy music. Ironically, they were too blinded by short term profits to foresee that the levy now makes it legal for Canadians to copy music as long as they burn the music to blank CDs.

I love Radiohead. I first heard them on the soundtrack of Romeo+Juliet. I found out who they were, downloaded a couple of their songs from Napster, and based on that bought a couple of their CDs. And unlike Metallica, who made obnoxious fools of themselves by joining the recording industry's fight against Napster, Radiohead always supported music downloads.

Not long ago, Radiohead completed their contract with their record company. Instead of signing a new contract, they decided to reject the established music distribution system and distribute their new album In Rainbows themselves via the Internet. Besides being possibly the first major band to try this, they are also offering the music with no copy protection and the album has no set price: pay as much as you like.

I paid a lot less than 15 dollars. But they just made substantially more than 25 cents. This is the future of music.


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