1709 Blog: for all the copyright community

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Not the end of the world after all? Why technological innovations have actually helped musicians

"No, RIAA, It's Not the End of the World for Musicians" is the title of an article by US copyright scholar Michael A. Carrier (Rutgers University School of Law - Camden, right). The article is published in the University of Missouri-Kansas City Law Review, 2014, but you can access it via SSRN here. The abstract reads like this:
Technological advances threaten established business models. That is Innovation 101. In particular, that is Disruptive Innovation 101, by which revolutionary business models disrupt the status quo, introducing new frameworks that displace demand for the original.

Such an observation plays a large role in explaining why the record labels have called for more expansive copyright protection. Caught flat-footed by the technological revolution unleased by digital distribution and peer-to-peer (P2P) services like Napster, the labels have blamed much of their woe on copyright infringement.

This article, written for a symposium on music and copyright, rebuts these dire proclamations. It shows that the sky is not falling for musicians. And it shows how innovations in technology have made it easier for musicians to participate in every step of the process: creation (GarageBand), distribution (Twitter, YouTube), marketing (Topspin, Bandcamp), royalty collection (CD Baby Pro, TuneCore), crowdfunding (Kickstarter, Indiegogo), and touring (Songkick, Bandsintown). The article concludes by highlighting examples of musicians forging stronger connections with their fans.
Michael has also written a blogpost summarizing this article for Techdirt, here.

Something tells this blogger that not everyone agrees with Michael's conclusions -- but what take will they have on the data he cites?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Technology has lowered the barriers for creators to participate, but the system is broken, fair remuneration is not returned to the creator. Whether this is "better" or "worse" depends on how much you value rewarding talent. For "copyright scholar Michael A. Carrier" perhaps this is not a priority. For others, particularly those concerned about future generations, it is.

How about this for a data point?

Geoff Barrow has received £1,700 from 34 million streams of Portishead. Music is being withdrawn from technology services he mentions, because it cannot sustain creation. Copyright scholars should (occasionally) refresh themselves with reality.