Music Executives Discuss Another Hair-Brained Scheme To Save The Industry

Mar 28th, 2008 // 7 Comments

AP051111018.jpgOn “Check the Rime,” Q-Tip may have once rapped that “record industry people probably smoke crack, look at the way they act.” And indeed crack-smoking seems to be the most logical explanation for the biz’s complete and utter inaction toward writing a profitable fiscal model eight years into the 21st century. Now, according to the Los Angeles Times, the majors are finally attempting to move to a subscription model that would tack on five bucks to your monthly Internet or cell phone bill in exchange for the ability to download, burn, and stream their music.

This idea has been bandied about since Napster first began to wreak havoc on the industry a decade ago, but it seems to be picking up steam in recent months. First, Columbia Records co-chief, Rick Rubin claimed the subscription model might save the industry six months ago in The New York Times, and this week Sony BMG honcho Rolf Schmidt-Holtz told a German paper that Sony has been “in discussions with other music labels and partners to offer an online music subscription service.” Warner also confirmed to the LAT that they too had been in such discussions.

While talks reportedly remain in the early stages, it’s difficult to imagine that this strategy is going to pay off, what with companies like Rhapsody and Napster already extant and struggling to break even–and not even touching the obvious reality that people aren’t going to want to pay $5 a month for something that they can already get for free with a rudimentary knowledge of Google. Ultimately, it seems that the industry is taking the cross your fingers approach and taking financial advice from yet another Tribe song: “Luck of Lucien.”

Music companies take a new look at subscriptions [LAT]

  1. GhostOfDuane

    i have a rudimentary knowledge of google and i would gladly pay 5 bucks a month for this service. i could steal blow pops from bodegas easily too, but i don’t because they are reasonably priced.

    oh, and stealing is wrong, mm’kay?

  2. noamjamski

    Seriously. Charge me five bucks and let me just go nuts on [redacted] or let Oink come back and let’s call it a day.

  3. wyly

    Seriously, why don’t you just subscribe to Napster? OK, maybe the model isn’t quite perfect yet, but I can see where it’s headed and it is a much better solution than taxing the world and socializing the music business. Jim Griffin’s socialized model is such a bad idea on so many levels I don’t know where to begin.

  4. Jasonbob7

    @Captain Wrong: On the contrary. I think it’s exactly what they suggest – unlimited access to all the music that’s out there, for as long as you keep paying the fee. You don’t OWN any of it, and once you stop paying, you lose access. But then again, if you want to own music, buy the mp3s.

    THAT’S where the future of the industry lies. Two revenue streams: downloads (that cost more but let you keep the files forever) and subscriptions (that cost a tiny amount but FEEL free cuz you have access to everything). Imagine an iPod that could store 80gb of music on its hard drive with another 4gb of flash memory that could sync with the “celestial jukebox”. I think there’s something interesting there…kudos to the industry for trying something new, anyhow.

  5. GhostOfDuane

    @Jasonbob7: I’ll give you 5 dollars if you let me use Celestial Jukebox as a band name.

  6. Captain Wrong

    OK, here’s my question: what exactly are we getting for this $5 a month? Everything I’ve read makes it sound like protection money, not that they’re going to make it any easier to download music. Like this is a surcharge that doesn’t admit any guilt but gives you a get out of RIAA lawsuit free pass. Even this Times article is kind of vague, I think they’re connecting dots that the majors aren’t suggesting connect.

  7. squashed

    Yeah I bet it’s 96kbps of lamest mash up collection catalog.

    no. sorry. It’s time for the industry to say good night.

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