Music industry consideres tax route

Posted: March 28, 2008 in Uncategorized

I have personally made it a point to pay for my music as opposed to getting it for free from various online resources. According to this latest proposal by the music industry, all of my efforts may have been a waste of time.

Fee for All

by Sam Gustin

portfolio.com

Edgar Bronfman Jr.’s Warner Music Group has tapped industry veteran Jim Griffin to spearhead a controversial plan to bundle a monthly fee into consumers’ internet-service bills for unlimited access to music.

The plan—the boldest move yet to keep the wounded entertainment industry giants afloat—is simple: Consumers will pay a monthly fee, bundled into an internet-service bill in exchange for unfettered access to a database of all known music.

Bronfman’s decision to hire Griffin, a respected industry critic, demonstrates the desperation of the recording industry. It has shrunk to a $10 billion business from $15 billion in almost a decade. Compact disc sales are plummeting as online music downloads skyrocket.

“Today, it has become purely voluntary to pay for music,” Griffin told Portfolio.com in an exclusive sit-down this week. “If I tell you to go listen to this band, you could pay, or you might not. It’s pretty much up to you. So the music business has become a big tip jar.”

Nothing provokes sheer terror in the recording industry more than the rise of peer-to-peer file-sharing networks. For years, digital-music seers have argued the rise of such networks has made copyright law obsolete and free music distribution universal.

Bronfman has asked Griffin, formerly Geffen Music’s digital chief, to develop a model that would create a pool of money from user fees to be distributed to artists and copyright holders. Warner has given Griffin a three-year contract to form a new organization to spearhead the plan.

Griffin says he hopes to move beyond the years of acrimonious record-industry litigation against illegal file-swappers, college students in particular.

“We’re still clinging to the vine of music as a product,” Griffin says, calling the industry’s plight “Tarzan” economics.

“But we’re swinging toward the vine of music as a service. We need to get ready to let go and grab the next vine, which is a pool of money and a fair way to split it up, rather than controlling the quantity and destiny of sound recordings.” (more…)

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So would folks who do not use their Internet connection to download music have to pay this tax as well. From the way it sounds, yes.

h/t: michellemalkin.com

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