Ahh, copyright, you never cease to amaze me and you never seem to be out of the news.
Did you know that in the year or 1999, the profit margins for the labels on music sales was between 4% and 7%, and in 2018, the music profit margins are between 15% and 20%.
Read Sony’s financials and decide for yourself.
1999 is always talked about as that magical year in which record sales hit a peak, and the profit margins in music were less than what they are now.
Since that time, the labels have done nothing in the development of legal online platforms, like the streaming services which include Spotify, Deezer, Apple and YouTube, but they benefit greatly from these services in licensing fees and royalty payments. And their profit margins are better because their music manufacturing costs are lower. It doesn’t cost much to produce a WAV file compared to a vinyl record or a CD, especially, when other techies are developing tools for people to consume music. And the labels have this power because they hold the copyrights for valuable songs, which they refuse to give back to artists, even when the law states, they need to.
But the streaming services are their biggest payer, so the power is shifting from the catalogs to the distribution, as the labels are fearful of pulling their catalogs from their biggest payer.
In all this, stream ripping seems to be the biggest issue to the labels and money needs to be spent to kill this technology. For those who don’t know, stream ripping means creating an mp3 file illegally from playing a song on a legal streaming site. People who pay for streaming accounts, stream rip and people who pay for no content also stream rip.
According to the labels, stream ripping is the fault of everyone else except them. From the labels point of view, the streaming companies should be responsible for monitoring if content is being streamed and ripped at the same time, the ISP’s are to blame for allowing access to websites which provide the software to stream rip and the blame list just goes on and on.
Remember 20 years ago, Napster showed the world, what people would like to do with music and still to this day, no one has figured out a way to make money by giving the people the opportunity, to download music in a format they desire without any digital rights on the track.
Stream ripping is an opportunity to create a new revenue stream. These are users who would like to stream (have access to music) and also be able to take it with them as an mp3, just in case they choose to close their streaming account, which means that all of their content will be lost.
The label heads are probably thinking, why would people need to do this, but hey they do. Fans of music have their own unique way of connecting with music.
A statement always put out there by the labels is that fans of music who stream rip, don’t realise they are also ripping off artists. It’s pretty rich, coming from the labels who have ripped off artists since day dot, and even now, when artists ask for their copyrights back after 30 years, the labels are saying NO and off to court they go.
But hey, everyone else is to blame except the labels. They even want the Governments they bank roll to pass legislation so they can have access to the WHOIS data of websites, so they can track down online pirates.
Should a corporation have access to this kind of address book?
Well if you pay enough money as a lobbyist, anything is possible.
And I know I bash a lot of the labels and their lobby groups, however the techies and ISP’s are not free from blame here either.
ISP’s if they want, can block access to sites on their own accord or in secret agreements with Government institutions or via court orders. However, they also talk the same rhetoric that they have no control for the content their users access.
So should the ISP’s be known as the Online Censorship Police?
ISP’s in Australia and New Zealand, took it upon themselves to block access to sites which had footage of the Christchurch Massacre, which people didn’t really need to see in the first place, however by doing so, the ISP’s have declared that they can police the Internet if they want to, and they have now backed themselves into a corner. You could see the labels and movie studios saying, “well why can’t they block sites which provide access to music and movies, which are not legal sites.”
Anyway if that all fails, the lobby groups of the recording and movie industries want the governments to create laws giving more power to the copyright industries to filter the internet and block websites which they deem to be illegal.
These powers formed part of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) acts which got canned after online protests. Obviously, money talks and the music/movie industries are bank rolling a lot of politicians to push their cause.
In Australia, blocking access to sites approved by a court order has led to more than 250,000 innocent sites being taken offline for a certain period of time.
The best solution to any copyright issues is to develop a legal alternative. If people want to share their content, why stop them, let them do it, in an environment you can monetize. If people want to stream rip, let them do it, in an environment you can monetize. From when I can remember, every single person had their own unique way of experiencing music.