Sunday, March 13, 2005

There He Is

An academic from McGill University in Canada has a proposal to help end the illegal download of songs:
Pearlman proposes putting all recorded music on a robust search engine -- Google would be an ideal choice, but even iTunes might work -- and charging an insignificant fee of, say, five cents a song. In addition, a 1 per cent sales tax would be placed on Internet services and new computers -- two industries that many argue have profited enormously from rampant file-sharing, but haven't had to compensate artists.

The assumption is that if songs cost only 5 cents, people would download exponentially more music. Daniel Levitin, a McGill professor also associated with the project, said that a simple computer program, such as those already in use on Internet retail sites, could track people's purchases and help them to dig through what would become a massive repository of music on the Web.

The extra windfall for musicians and those who own the publishing rights to the songs could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, or more, Pearlman said his study predicts.
There are numerous hurdles and obstacles to this idea, too many to get into. Likely enough to sabotage the proposal, although it has merit. The Big 4 record companies, their distributors and the entertainment industry are too wedded to the old business model. Read the article.

But what really caught my eye was that this proposal comes from Sandy Pearlman, former co-conspirator with the Blue Oyster Cult back in their heyday. Albums like Tyranny and Mutation, Secret Treaties and On Your Feet or On Your Knees bear his stamp. I still listen to them.

Little known fact: they are the band for whom the phrase "heavy metal" was coined, by writer / reviewer / lyricist Richard Meltzer.

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