50 Cent: File-sharing ‘doesn’t hurt artists’ | News | Guardian Unlimited Music
The industry has to “maximize its income from concerts and merchandise”, he said, adding: “It is the only way they can get their marketing money back.”
Have you noticed that seeing a live-show has become quite expensive? In the nineties the idea was to tour to sell CDs. Many bands received tour-support from their record labels because a tour did not have to break even or make money in order to be successful. The idea was that CD sales would more than make up for the lack of touring profits. Shows tended to be huge and extravagant, because the aim was to sell CDs. One could say the live-show was a commercial, an advertisement for the CD. Basically the artist’s income (plus the people involved in either recording or touring, e.g. musicians, roadies, engineers…) was derived from many people paying very little – the cost of a CD.
Now CD sales don’t amount to very much and artist have to make a living from touring. The result is that ticket prices have gone up and may no longer be affordable for students, for example. The irony is that the group of people most likely to share files is also the group that may not be able to afford a live-show as a result.
Another result is that current major label contracts specify that the record company also receives money from the artist’s touring and merchandise income – not just the sale of CDs and downloads. A major label deal now reads much more like a management contract – a percentage of ALL income.
I am starting to believe the only sensible thing to do is to levy a tax on every single device that plays or amplifies music, including amplifiers, headphones, loudspeakers, computers, music-players of every shape and form etc… – this is not a new idea: in the Nineties there was a tax on DAT tape, because it was the first medium that could create a perfect copy…
Stretched over so many devices the amount of tax a person would end up paying would be small, smaller than the sales-tax perhaps. BMI and ASCAP have a lot of experience in dividing up income for musicians. For many years they have divided fees for use of music in film, television and radio. They could divide the money derived from the music-tax by looking at how many times songs are being downloaded. Maybe music would indeed become free, there would be no more RIAA raids, and the artists would simply receive their share from the music tax.
I cannot find a downside to this idea. Concert ticket prices could come down again and live-shows would become more accessible. File-sharing would simply become unnecessary because music could be downloaded for free.