Monday, June 1, 2009

More changes in the music industry - follow the money

This blog has devoted a bit of coverage to various issues in the music industry, and in my Google Reader I've discovered a few new items in this regard.

The first item, from the New York Times' Eric Pfanner, notes how the music industry is looking to nightclubs as a new source of revenue. The article starts by looking at fees paid for playing songs in Australia:

To pump music out to their dance floors, Australian clubs used to have to pay record companies and artists a nominal 7 Australian cents in royalties per guest, per night. Under a recent copyright settlement, that rate has risen to 50 cents per customer, and it is set to jump to 1.05 dollars, or 84 U.S. cents, in a few years.

The theory, as expressed in the article, is that customers are paying A$10-$15 cover charges and A$5 drink charges, so why shouldn't the music industry get a cut of the revenue, since they're providing the entertainment?

And more than Australian nightclubs are affected. U.S. radio stations currently pay songwriters when their songs are played over the air, but U.S. Representative John Conyers and others are pushing a bill that states that record companies and artists should also get payment from the radio stations. (The reverse of payola, as it were.)

Steven Hodson of the Inquisitr also examines this issue, but takes a look at the other side of it:

Of course [Michael] Huppe [of SoundExchange, a collector of royalties] doesn’t acknowledge the incredible amount of free advertising that artists, and record companies, get because of all the free airplay they get.

However, if the revenue stream from selling recordings is drying up, then what good is free advertising?
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