The Problem with Music Taxes: Where Does the Money Go, and How Much?

I’ll never fully understand technology bloggers when it comes to music policy. Here’s an obviously stupid idea: Warner Brothers, the label, comes up with a scheme to add a surcharge to ISP bills to allow, supposedly, “legal” use of music file sharing services. Stupid, yes. Here’s the response from Michael Arrington (Techcrunch): “It’s clearly good for the music labels, who are facing their imminent extinction.” He claims that this is the plan the “labels” (actually one label) don’t want you to know (except that they’re sitting down for long interviews with Conde Nast Portfolio). Gizmodo’s Matt Buchanan just regurgitates and …

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Gibson Guitar Loses Mind, Sues Entire Planet (But Wii Rock Band Should Be Fun)

Gibson headquarters. I’m sure some rational thought is going on in there, but search me to tell you what the (*&$# that thought is. Photo via mmwm Gibson Guitar may require a new column here on CDM, titled something like “what the $&*((*&$ can you possibly be thinking??!” Sure, it was strange enough when Gibson started a patent dispute with Guitar Hero game developer Activision because it claimed to own the patent for anything “simulating a musical concert experience.” (Jeez, I’m glad Gibson hasn’t been to a couple of my gigs.) Never mind that their patent involved pre-recorded concert footage …

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Gibson Guitar to Guitar Hero Maker: We Own All Digital Musical Reality

Wannabe musicians: now the exclusive legal domain of Gibson Guitar? Photo: Unhindered by Talent. Are you making music without real acoustic instruments? You know, in, like, virtual reality? Then you may have stepped into a strange, alternate dimension. Let’s call it, for the sake of argument, The Gibson Zone. They control the horizontal. They control the vertical. They invented what you’re doing … right now. Or, at least, that seems to be the message sent by a recent patent dispute between Gibson Guitar Corporation and Guitar Hero developer Activision. (Harmonix, the original Guitar Hero developer, has moved on to Rock …

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Stardock: Stop Blaming Pirates, Start Targeting Paying Customers

PC games — and even Windows customization utilities — make up a much larger market than music software. But in this parallel universe there have been echoes of the challenges facing music developers since the early days of PCs. Both have highly dedicated, niche audiences. Both face rampant piracy. Neither has the support of big business sales as the likes of Adobe and Microsoft do. Many of the customers use the products in their free time, rather than as tools that generate revenue. (Sorry, but it’s true.) Both have, let’s face it, customer bases who often don’t have that much …

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How Much Will Your Fans Do – And How Many Do You Need?

There are two phenomena right now on the Interweb. One: access to self-distribution (for artists and small labels) means artmakers can explore new models for the business that supports their work. Two: an open market for ideas (the blogosphere, namely) means if you can come up with some pithy something or other, you can achieve overnight fame. Of course, the former is considerably tougher than the latter. And don’t make that idea too complicated or nuanced, because you’ll lose the link-happy bloggers impatient for you to help topple the conventional Record Industry. Latest case in point: Kevin Kelly posits the …

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Pay What You Will for Nine Inch Nails, from Free to $300

Trent sez: “Buy all these music formats from meeeeeeeeeee!” Photo: Jenna Foxton. Artists are known to mouth off a bit about the Future of Music and Digital Distribution and whatnot, but Trent Reznor is putting his money — and not money — where his mouth is. Nine Inch Nails Menu of Ordering Options for Ghosts I-IV via Mashable: Practice What You Preach: Nine Inch Nails Gives Away New Album And they certainly have their bases covered with their new album “Ghosts”: Get the first volume of the album free on torrent sites (or via the NIN site) Pay US$5 for …

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Beyond The Apple – Wal-Mart Music Landscape

Above: The future of iTunes? By dave_mcmt. By now, you’ve likely heard that Apple’s iTunes Music Store has taken the #2 spot in music sales — all music sales — right behind retailer giant Wal-Mart. This tends to lead to one of two somewhat gloating reactions from Apple advocates. One is a sort of “rah, rah, go Apple!” attitude. The other is along the lines of “hurrah, discs are dead, go throw your CDs in with your eight tracks and vinyl while we leap into the future!” A typical sentiment comes from Scott McNulty on The Unofficial Apple Weblog: “I …

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Want to Encourage CD Sales? Add Crack, Guns

An RIAA/District Attorney training video warns about the dangers of CD spindles. But what could be inside? Photo: Hackintosh, apparently the Martha Stewart of hacker cuisine based on this innovation. Suffice to say, we at CDM discourage pirating music. I should hasten to add, though, that we’re also generally opposed to terrorism, illegal firearms, and narcotics — just in case there’s any doubt. According to a training film produced by the National District Attorneys Association and Recording Industry Association of America, and leaked on the Interwebs (doh!), these things typically go hand in hand. In the course of the film, …

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The Flashbulb Pirates His Own Album; Fires Torpedo at the CD

Photo: WadeB. Caution: piracy can make you … queasy / vomit-y. Discussions about music distribution, sales, and piracy often return to that time-worn theme of “supporting artists.” Of course, what usually gets left out is what actually supports the artists. Sure, it’s lovely that the industry likes this theme — maybe you imagine an ingenious, talented songwriter lighting candles in her studio — and she’s super cute, too. And you’re stealing money from her. Or worse, you’re actually ripping the livelihood from a toothless guy with his guitar, who sleeps in the mud in rainstorms. (I’m only half joking … …

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