Wednesday, 3 June 2009

In place of record sales

As sales of CDs continue to fall, the music industry is engaged on a quest for new ways to extract money from users of its products, and the New York Times reports that in Australia collecting societies are squeezing more out of club owners and the like. Not exactly surprising, and there is still a vast amount of unlicensed use of recorded music going on - well, certainly around here, at least I assume that a lot of it is not licensed as I don't see tell-tale stickers on the door of the establishments concerned.

My own view is that the collecting societies have an important role to play in driving music out of public places where passers-by are involuntarily assailed by it. I did not enjoy the recent experience of giving blood any more because of the music that the staff saw fit to play - I wonder whether it was licensed? Probably, given that it was in the civic hall. But where the listeners are volunteers it is only right that a price should be exacted. It is also only right, however, that the price exacted should benefit the performers: it is the performers whose contributions I enjoy when I listen to music, not the record companies, but that's not the way the system works.

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