We’re crate-diggers at heart, so we were intrigued by Avant Music News’ piece on whether or not there should be a price on out-of-print music:
A great deal of music is out-of-print, including many recordings that have a viable, but small, audience. The recordings remain out-of-print in most cases because the cost of re-printing, re-pressing, and/or re-mastering is several times the amount of money that can be made by offering legitimate copies for sale. However, should this potential audience of perhaps several hundred individuals lose the opportunity to enjoy what in their minds might be a classic? Should art be not seen, not heard and not experienced because of its lack of commercial viability?
While the recordings may only exist in LP format or both LP and CD formats, the market for certain rare recordings on eBay and other forums can be in the hundreds or even thousands of dollars. One can debate the intricacies and justifications of free-market economics, but is it fair, or is it just for savvy collectors to profit off of the second-hand selling of art while the artist doesn’t get a cut?
It’s a thorny issue, and the piece has no real solutions, although the author does note that “collector scum” who make money off of rare records may not be bringing in as much cash as their absurd single-item prices might indicate. Obviously, we’re in favor of as much music being made available as possible, but in the digital age, is that expectation too costly? Perhaps, as Avant Music News gamely suggests, artists need to plan for their albums’ expiration dates by negotiating contracts better, and having the rights revert to them after a finite period of time–then they can re-release their music on their own terms, which protects themselves from situations where only others are profiting from their creativity.
AMN Opinion: Should Out-of-Print Music Be Free? [Avant Music News]