11 gennaio 2008

La musica online? Gratis per forza

A integrazione dei commenti alla chiusura di Pandora in Gran Bretagna, volevo riportare da TechCrunch le considerazione di Michael Arrington che si è espresso più volte a proposito dell'attuale tendenza alla scomparsa del DRM sui principali negozi di musica online (iTunes, AmazonMP3); case discografiche (Sony BMG); e gruppi musicali (vedi RadioHead, NIN... che addirittura rinunciano alle labels e mettono online la loro produzione gratuitamente o sotto "contribuzione volontaria" con il risultato che la gente si rifiuta di pagare anche solo 5 dollari di price cap). La brillante penna di TechCrunch si dilunga sulla problematica del download musicale a pagamento e quindi dell'accesso agli stream delle Web Radio, profetizzando il momento in cui la musica online non costerà nulla e gli artisti che la producono vivranno grazie a modelli di business diversi da quelli attuali, che prevedono un editore che masterizzi dei dischi e li rivenda, o delle associazioni ombrello che autorizzano le radio a trasmettere e poi raccolgono e ripartiscono gli utili con gli autori. L'impatto disintermediatore di Internet è irreversibile perché la tecnologia permette di riprodurre la musica e distribuirla a costo zero e il euolo degli intermediari si assottiglia. Ma prima di arrivarci, questi ultimi venderanno cara la pelle e cercheranno di imporre misure suicide come la "music tax". Staremo a vedere.

Il primo intervento provocatorio di Arrington risale al 4 ottobre "The Inevitable March of Recorded Music Towards Free":
2007 is turning out to be a terrible year for the music industry. Or rather, a terrible year for the the music labels.
The DRM walls are crumbling. Music CD sales continue to plummet rather alarmingly. Artists like Prince and Nine Inch Nails are flouting their labels and either giving music away or telling their fans to steal it. Another blow earlier this week: Radiohead, which is no longer controlled by their label, Capitol Records, put their new digital album on sale on the Internet for whatever price people want to pay for it. [segue con numerosi commenti]
Ieri, 10 gennaio, intitolando il suo intervento "The Music Industry's Last Stand Will Be A Music Tax", Arrington scrive (facendo anche riferimento al post del 4 ottobre che ho appena riportato):

It is becoming more and more difficult for the music industry to ignore the basic economics of the their industry: unenforceable property rights (you can't sue everyone) and zero marginal production costs (file sharing is ridiculously easy). All the big labels have now given up on DRM. They haven't yet given up on trying to charge for their music, but it's becoming more and more clear that as long as there is a free alternative (file sharing), the price of music will have to fall towards free.
You can disagree as to whether it's "fair" that the price of recorded music will be zero or near zero, but you can't disagree that it's going to happen. I presented my arguments here last October. [segue]
Arrington ipotizza però che il settore non accetterà il crollo dei prezzi senza reagire e che questa reazione, temibile secondo lui, potrebbe essere la richiesta di un modello di tassa generalizzata sulle connessioni alla rete, alle quali potrebbe essere "agganciata" una imposta forzata (stile, immagino, quella che grava sui supporti ottici) che copra il download di musica non più protetta:

[...] But before that happens, the music industry is going to make one last stand to preserve their "bloated bureaucracies." And that is going to be a call for a music tax to create guaranteed revenues.
Reznor called for it today, saying "I think if there was an ISP tax of some sort, we can say to the consumer, 'All music is now available and able to be downloaded and put in your car and put in your iPod and put up your a– if you want and it's $5 on your cable bill.'"
This isn't the first time its popped up. Over a year ago, Peter Jenner (he was Pink Floyd's first manager, as well as managing The Clash and other great artists) called for a mandatory monthly tax in the European Union on broadband Internet and mobile phones of around €4/month that allows consumers to download and consume all the music they want without DRM. I attacked his plan, and he responded here:

[Il commento di Peter Jenner, ex manager dei Pink Floyd, cui fa riferimento Arrington merita da solo una certa attenzione. Lo si trova con numero d'ordine 76, ma qui di seguito vi voglio riportare la sintesi del suo ragionamento finale, in quattro punti. Scrive Jenner:]

[...] In this context I see 4 possibles resolutions for the record industry.

1. Leaving things as they are and watch the continuing flouting of copyright and evasion of DRM/TPM and continuing decline in prices and sales volume, and reliance on TPM and DRM to get people to pay for online delivery on a per item , or subscription basis. All this is combined with endless litigation with all concerned including the fans.
Few thinkers in the industry seems to think this is the solution anymore, especially with the growth of broadband and developments with digital radio, not to mention allofmp3.com, and its successors. However there has been such a sustained propaganda drive for DRM/TPM that it is being put into legislation all over the place, and we are all a little brainwashed about this in the industry.
Mobile phone companies are particularly unenthused about proprietary TPMs.

2. We could legalise all the on line activities going on , and accept that music on the net should be free.
It is hard to see this happening in the short run, [...]

3. We can introduce some sort of blanket license for the non authorised use of music on line. This accepts that it is going on and that it is unstoppable, and that money is being made from it indirectly by the ISPs and, they hope, the telecoms in the future. The problem is that licensing music is almost insurmountable both from the complexity of rights and the reluctance of many of the main players to co operate and develop practical models. [...]

4.Any other solutions that people may have which are as good or better than the above. I have yet to hear one , but they probably exist and I am am anxious to hear about it.

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