Archive for February, 2009

Dichotomy in the Music Industry

Thursday, 26 February 2009
EMI Group Ltd

Image via Wikipedia

The Streets

The Streets (via

On the one hand Mike Skinner of The Streets twitters an offer of free gig tickets for people that remix a Donk version of his music.  Note, he’s inviting people to violate copyright.

Then you have EMI suing Seeqpod and Favtape services that are merely linking to music, not violating any copyright..

The problem isn’t just happening in the music industry in the US, it’s with video in Europe and this certainly wont be the last time a content owner sues.

Artists and Publishers are clearly on two different paths of maximising incentives for engagement and giving fans reasons to buy new music.

The real question that everyone is rightly asking is what value is there to the artist in limiting their exposure in a medium where the link is king?

What value is there to the potential fan if I can’t find new music?

We all know this is pointless in the long run.  Links make stuff discoverable.  Simple.

If EMI really wanted to stop this they could.  With all of their approved publishers, they could mandate that all make their URLs/links are un-trackable.  For every single track, they could obfuscate the URLs automatically changing them every second.  Give each ‘approved’ publisher a one-way key to generate a hash of the URL, so only they know what the URL will be at a discreet point in time such as 08:34 on Tuesday 26th Feb 2009.  Every non-approved third party will not be able to determine the URL.

Even simpler still, why not just stop the offenders from spidering the web-sites?  They could easily mandate that the publishers block the traffic.

There are so many technical solutions, it is clear that EMI’s strategy is not to prevent linking from happening.

EMI loves the link, they know they need it, they know that without it they are dead on the web.  But, they see the link as a money making opportunity, to be used on their own terms.  It’s traditional content ‘syndication’ without the need for a sales team, just IP lawyers.

If they win this case, and prove a point, what’s the next big ticket??   Google.  And everyone knows they pay content owners to stay out of trouble.