…with apologies to Aristophanes.
As I previously stated, I’m pretty sure that piracy will soon be a thing of the past. And that’s because the concept of ‘ownership’ will soon be a thing of the past. People will no longer need to steal music because they will get it all from ‘the cloud’. They will give up ownership in order to pay for convenience.
The question for me is how will artists get paid when this happens, because it sure as shit ain’t part of the business model now. There is also this whole fantasy world which is finally being questioned that states that artists will be able to derive all manner of revenue from this magical new cloud-based entertainment world. Every wannabee musician I know is amazed at the number of ‘options’ available to them for getting ‘streaming revenue’ for their work. That’s the cuckoo part of this whole cloud deal.
Here’s a quick bit of statistics courtesy of Billboard Magazine:
Here’s a quick overview: To generate revenue equal to the $1,160 per month (slightly over the U.S. Federal poverty line), an independent artist needs: 1,813 downloads per month at iTunes; 3,392 downloads per month at eMusic; 127,473 streams per month at Rhapsody; or 7,733,333 plays per month at Last.fm.
Here’s the problem: Rhapsody just lowered it’s rates to $10 per month. If you can explain to me how artists are going to get more money, when the services are charging less each month? Well, you’re either an investment counselor named ‘Bernie’ or trying to sell something like CDO’s to Section-8ers.
The model basically says, “Look, you got used to doing without money due to pirates so…?” What should happen is that rates reflect the revenue that artists got back in the good ol’ days (circa 2000) when men were men and…
Boy The Way Glenn Miller Played!
…As Archie Bunker used to croon. Back in the day, the average major label artist gleaned a whopping $1.65 per CD. I ranted about this way back in the good ol’ days! 😀 Out of sixteen bucks of your hard-earned money the artist got less than 10%. Now, with the current on-line reimbursements, ten percent seems like gold. I call this The Ronald Reagan/Air Traffic Controller School Of Attitude Adjustment.
My guess is that artists today will be thrown a nice maggoty, disgusting, little bone by Google/MySpace/Rhapsody/Pandora/et. al once the subscriber base reaches critical mass. And artists will wolf it down like it was the blue plate special—simply because it’s better than holding their breath for 100k of plays per month in order to make the rent (in the aforementioned Section 8 housing; we are that gullible as a rule.)
So nothing much will change. We have returned to the historical norm for artists (pre-1960). Artists will look upon the forty or so years where one could make a real living from just the content and not patronage or constant touring are over. In effect, the return to this situation really is a return to “the good ol’ days”.
And anyone who talks of a world where musicians make money off the cloud? They’re the ones off in a cloud somewhere (probably selling server space.)