DRM technology and policy

bear bear at sonic.net
Fri Apr 25 19:17:53 EDT 2003


I wanted to apologize for ranting on the crypto list.  I'm
sorry.  I'm letting personal feelings, and passions about art,
get away from me here, and I guess I'd like to explain myself.

I have fundamental issues with a business model where a hundred or a
thousand promoters and distributors make a living off of every artist
who's on the short list of artists they consider it profitable to

I believe that it means heavily promoted artists, in order to make a
living at all, have to occupy market share that could otherwise
support hundreds if not thousands of indie artists.  And I'd like to
see those indie artists all have the money instead of the hundreds or
thousands of promoting flacks working with the work of just one
artist, because I like hundreds or thousands of different kinds of

What we've got in the web, with piracy, is finally a place where the
heavy promotion expenses work against this model of business.
Unpromoted indie artists are losing nothing to piracy, because
nobody's ever heard of them except their fans anyway, and there's not
enough margin or volume to make them worth a pirate's risk.  But
artists with heavy-rotation airtime and marketing blitzes are losing
margin to pirates, because the pirates move in to take advantage of
the inflated value and inflated sales volumes established by the
marketing blitz.

That doesn't make pirates good, and I'm not going to defend piracy;
But I've really liked that big commercial artists keeping their music
the hell off the web has created a surge in indie art that's
unparalleled since the invention of radio.

So, when I see someone looking for a way to distribute even heavily
commercialized music without losses to piracy, I get a bit irrational
because I see the hook coming.  Before it's all over, someone's going
to put some kind of hook in it that will try to freeze out competition
from indie artists again and sweep these thousands of good bands back
under the rug.  And I really don't want that.

Anyway; I'll try to behave a little better in the future, and not just
go off on somebody when this kind of question comes up.


(would love it if music stores were more like bookstores, and you
 could go into any music store and find albums from fifty thousand
 artists you'd never heard of before....)

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