The music industry voiced its concerns over online piracy at the Digital Distribution and the Music Industry show (ddmi2000) yesterday.
Jodi Sax, owner of entertainment law site lawgirl.com says: "The world enjoys twice as much CD-manufacturing capacity as the number of CDs legally pressed each year. There’s a big difference between sending an MP3 to your friend and the CD-pressing pirates. The Internet is not the bugbear.
"Most music online has been for free, so the attitude has developed that music is valueless. The major labels have not helped their case by being recalcitrant."
Government aid Angelo Consoli, general secretary of the International Federation of Independent Phonographic producers, says: "We have been approaching the European Commission and member governments. We are trying to gain their support to fund an educational campaign to explain how important it is that music is paid for. We’re also trying to get these governments to set definite dates for the establishment of a regulatory frame for the distribution of online content, and agreement by the banks of payment standards."
Fionnuala Duggan, of EMI, says: "We’re trying to open up as many distribution methods as we can. We’re fighting to maintain copyright protection for our artists in the digital age, we’re a long-term business trying to create sustainable models for digital-music distribution. We’re training in this area, every EMI local group has a new-media section now, we’re working hard, but these things take time."
Scott Moskowitz, CEO of Blue Spike, disagrees, he says: "I think that the music business is running away from the Internet. The issue is that the line between piracy and marketing is so thin, it’s non-existent. Free distribution of music boosts the word-of-mouth buzz on an artist."
Angry Tom Valentino, of TVmusic.com, says: "Chuck D feels passionately that the labels have been exploiting artists for years, the evolution of digital distribution is the point of departure for artists."
Peter Beverley, CEO of Magex, UK, claims: "The music business is perceived as exploitative, the moment has come when artists don’t need the labels any more."
Paul Schatzkin, CEO songs.com, said: "We are at the threshold, you have to recognize that we have the opportunity to compress the supply chain and bring listeners closer to the artists."
Growth Harry Leckstein, of Eunite, says: "You have to find a way to make it possible for online music to grow, micro-payment systems must be developed, so the digital era is not limited to people with a credit card. Its vital that we agree and implement a standard for security, for establishing systems and to enable further development in the future."
Three dominant models for online music distribution emerged during the event. The first is an ads-based revenue model, where personalized ads are broadcast with the music. The second is a subscriptions-based model and the third is based on a pay-as-you go system - with digital watermarks to record the journey music takes from the first, legitimate buyer to the eventual unlawful possessor.
Richard Gotteher, of the Orchard, predicts: "You’ll wind up with three or four groups, who will own the servers and the pipelines, and they will all carry the same content. The digitally distributed marketplace will also mature."