Friday, March 28, 2008

Music "Fees" Sound Flat

Warner Music Group (WMG) has announced they've hired industry vet Jim Griffin to take a look at whether collecting fees from ISPs will rescue the music industry. The idea is that users would be assessed a fixed amount (included in their monthly internet bill) and would then have unlimited access to music. They hope to cover losses from illegal music sharing.

We already have numerous versions of this plan that are optional: Yahoo Music, Rhapsody, Napster, etc. We also already have many similar fees that are not optional. They're called taxes.

You don't have to be a libertarian to see this is not an "essential service" that ought to be subidized by all. Yes, we've all said the music industry's business model is dead, and it has to wake up and search for new, innovative methods to survive. But this ain't it.

Imagine you're a retail bank. You and your competitors, from time to time, lose money to thieves who hijack your armored trucks and drive them away down the interstate. In order to cover your losses, you lobby for a new highway toll that collects compensation from every driver using the interstate system.

Silly, isn't it?

No comments: