Major labels continue to shoot themselves, musicians, and fans in the foot (or head)...

I am listening to CBC Radio show The Current which is doing a feature on independent/unsigned music, peer to peer sharing/advertising, and the failure of major labels. They are hooked on a "Block Buster" business model which simply doesn't work any more in a world where people have access to a greater diversity of music. We are headed for a major market correction, hopefully with out government not continuing to stand in the way of modernization.

At the same time I see articles about how the majors are trying to put upward pressure on the cost of music downloads, which we all know will drive more people to alternative channels for their music. While the Canadian government is entirely asleep on cultural policy and fixing the monopolies of the major labels, a New York state antitrust probe of record labels' digital-music pricing.

Links to what I found of the people interviewed:

And of course, I wrote a letter (part of which I cut and pasted from another letter).

I listened to the story on the plight of independent musicians, something that is very important to me as an independent software creator.

We are currently in an election, and while copyright is not seen as a major issue, the major labels, studios and "software manufacturing" lobbiest are involved. They have been sending out press releases claiming that the reason that their revenue is declining is because of unauthorized P2P filesharing, and that the problem would be solved by modifying copyright law in favour of these intermediaries.

Read more on the BLOG for the riding of Parkdale--High Park.

The fact is that when they tried to sue to get the names of 29 John and Jane Doe's they lost not because of insufficient copyright law, but because of insufficient evidence. In fact, their evidence did not adequately differentiate between unauthorized sharing of major label music and authorized (and perfectly legal) sharing of independent music. This fact makes one wonder whether the major labels were suing to try to stop copyright infringement, or suing to try to stop the rising competition from independent musicians using alternative methods of production, distribution and funding of their creativity.

When we moved from older media to newer media, replacing our records with tapes, and then tapes to CDs, there was only a mechanical media change. The Internet is not a mechanical media, and represents a change in the possible methods of production, distribution and funding of creativity including music.

The problem for the legacy major labels represented by the RIAA is that they are to the Internet like the 8-track was to the CD : they represent the outgoing industry, and their only hope is to try to stop progress to try to keep things the same as it was in the past.

I am an independent software author, and I only use what are called "peer production" and "peer distribution" techniques for my work. I use Free/Libre and Open Source Software license agreements, and never charge royalties for my software -- only up-front development costs for the value-add software that I author. The software marketplace is in a similar transformative market change as the music industry. The "software manufacturing" companies, with Microsoft clearly being the most successful, also represent the legacy 8-track equivalent. Microsoft lists Linux and Open Source as their major competitors, and the statistical methods used by the Business Software Alliance is so broken as to not differentiate between legal use of FLOSS and unauthorized use of "software manufacturing" software.

Russell McOrmond Co-coordinator of Getting Open Source Login INto Governments http://goslingcommunity.org , host for http://Digital-Copyright.ca