File Sharing: The Sequel
Granted, the iTunes and iPod music distribution model is pretty decent for both consumers and artists. Let us forget, for a moment, that the downloading model turns what historically has been a music sale (which is covered by copyright law’s first sale doctrine) into a music lease (which is not covered by federal copyright law, and instead is handled as a contract between buyer and seller, often with no negotiation and take-it-or-leave-it terms.)
The current downloading model reintroduces the single to American music buyers, and, at least in the case of iTunes, gives buyers relatively free reign to transfer their leased songs across different players (i.e. from computer to car to home stereo).
What the iTunes model doesn’t really allow for right now, though, is capturing live performances. And many of the best artists — Clapton, Prince, Dave Matthews Band, Parliament — often give their best performances live. eMusicLive gives buyers the opportunity to capture these performances in an authorized fashion.
It will be interesting to see how much money the musicians make from this venture, particularly since it seems that live performances will again be the way that musicians make their money. Let’s face it: radio is so tightly programmed that it is virtually impossible for new songs to get play on the airwaves, although satellite radio ventures like XM Radio and Sirius may provide some opportunities. Further, most of the music is laden with samples of pre-existing work, making it harder for many songwriters to make a living by peddling tunes.
And theft, whether it be on the Web or on the street, always hampers revenue flow.
As a result, the live performance has become even more important as a way for musicians to earn money.
Associated Press. ‘Dude! This Thing Is Awesome!’. Wired News. April 29, 2004.