Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Music The Media Entertainment

Sony, Universal Hope To Beat Piracy With 'Instant Pop' 369

Posted by timothy
from the trying-to-quote-get-with-it-unquote dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The Guardian reports that Britain's two biggest record labels, Sony and Universal, plan to beat music piracy by making new singles available for sale on the day they first hit the airwaves hoping the effort will encourage young people to buy songs they can listen to immediately rather than copying from radio broadcasts online. Songs used to receive up to six weeks radio airplay before they were released for sale, a practice known as 'setting up' a record. 'What we were finding under the old system was the searches for songs on Google or iTunes were peaking two weeks before they actually became available to buy, meaning that the public was bored of — or had already pirated — new singles,' says David Joseph. Sony, which will start the 'on air, on sale' policy simultaneously with Universal next month, agreed that the old approach was no longer relevant in an age where, according to a spokesman for the music major, 'people want instant gratification.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Sony, Universal Hope To Beat Piracy With 'Instant Pop'

Comments Filter:
  • by Gordonjcp (186804) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @09:06AM (#34926206) Homepage

    After 50-odd years of people taping new releases off the radio, they've finally got their heads around the idea that releasing them for sale at the same time means that people will buy singles while they still like them. Now they just need to realise that people don't really buy singles any more...

    • Exactly! This was needed YEARS ago I've been making tapes from the radio since I was 5!
    • by aurispector (530273) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @09:11AM (#34926260)

      itunes is basically all singles?

      Still, it's hard to believe the record companies were still doing that. More proof the entire industry is composed of dinosaurs.

      • and oddly enough, even my much more pop-inclined GF only buys full albums, even if she just heard the one interesting single

        I dont use itunes myself, but i also shun singles, for me it is full album or nothing (sometimes a few good songs trigger me to just go full discography on a band)

        • by uglyduckling (103926) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @09:41AM (#34926522) Homepage

          Online sales of singles has got me interested in throw-away music again. When I was a teenager I used to DJ a lot - nothing 'creative', just parties, 21st, weddings etc.. You could get a newly released single on 7" for 99p (UK) so before a gig I would go and spend 5-10 pounds and enjoy turning up with a handful of new records. For years CD singles have been 2.99 - 3.99, so I've waited until compilation albums came out (like the NOW! series) to get 40 songs for 15.99, of which perhaps 10 I really want to play.

          Just recently I've done a few weddings and parties, and I've been able to go to Amazon and buy singles for 69-99p, and the prices don't go up after two weeks. I'm suddenly really enjoying DJing again because I can turn up with the tunes that everyone wants to hear, and I don't care if I will never play them again after 6 months. Plus if I've forgotten to buy a track that everyone's requesting, I can fire up my broadband dongle and buy it there and then.

          For me, being able to buy the music that everyone's listening to on the radio will be a major step forward. Of course, I'll keep buying albums of the bands that I really like (NOT dance music!!), but I'm really glad I don't have to have piles of compilation CDs just to have a reasonable mix of music most people will dance to.

    • by rwv (1636355) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @09:11AM (#34926268) Homepage Journal

      Now they just need to realise that people don't really buy singles any more...

      I've never bought anything on iTunes or any of the other online music stores, but I'm pretty sure the business model for those is to sell singles for about $0.99 each and "albums" for about $9.99 each.

      I'm pretty sure - since most albums contain mostly junk-and-filler these days - the individual songs that are popular end up selling very well.

      • by 91degrees (207121)
        And you'd be (sort of) right. In 2009 more singles were sold in the UK than albums (source [utalkmarketing.com]), although this does still represent more income from albums.

        Still, the single is making a comeback, most probably due to singles being convenient for download, but impractical for a CD. Vinyl could be stacked. mp3s can be sorted in all sorts of ways. CD singles need to keep being changed.
        • by tixxit (1107127)
          I can understand the appeal of singles. I've been buying albums for quite a while, but I think I'm going to switch. I've been burned far too many times lately when buying albums based on 1 single, only to discover it was the only half-decent song on the entire thing.
      • I actually think the online music stores help albums sell. On iTunes, and I assume the others, if an album is composed of 15 songs and you buy 1 of them at $0.99 and decide you want the rest, you can 'complete the album' for its normal price - $0.99 you already paid. I'm not a huge music buyer but for 10 or so new artists I've gone back and bought the rest of the album after the single song grew on me.
      • Quite a few tracks on iTunes are only available with the purchase of the whole album.
    • by Xest (935314) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @09:13AM (#34926290)

      This amuses me, I can imagine the moment in the Sony/Universal boardroom when someone came up with this idea and was treated like a genius, whilst the rest of the world has been pointing this out as part the piracy problem to them for decades now.

      It's a big reason why people pirate music, movies, and even games. The disparity between US and European release dates of films for example has always been a big part of it- if the US has already had the DVD release when Europeans are being told in a few months they'll be able to watch some film with an awesome trailer, then what the fuck do they think people will do if they have the option? Sit waiting patiently, or just acquire a US copy?

      Giving people an on-demand option at the same time as scheduled options such as radio based music or cinema based film is bound to help them out- you can't tease people by "setting them up" and then wonder why they went off and acquired the content their own way rather than continued putting up with your teasing. If people want something and you wont give it to them, they'll go and find their own copy from someone else which by and large, will be the likes of The Pirate Bay.

      • by Kjella (173770) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @09:23AM (#34926358) Homepage

        I wish they'd do this for TV series.

        American Dad? Sign me up.
        Californication? Sign me up.
        Dexter? Sign me up.
        Doctor Who? Sign me up.
        Family Guy? Sign me up.
        The Simpsons? Sign me up.

        Just let me here in Norway get it same time as US air date. Just today I discussed the latest simspon episode with a colleague - and I mean the one that aired this weekend in the US. Fuck the european TV networks and do direct delivery and see what they're still willing to pay.

        • You don't want Doctor Who at the same time as the US air date. You want it at the same time as the UK air date.

          There are all sorts of subscription models that make sense, but they seem unwilling to even consider.

          For example, how about selling DVDs in advance? People could buy a DVD at the start of the season, get an empty package, and get streaming without commercials a day early, and have a DVD mailed every month or so and fill up the box. (Or you could buy at any time and get DVDs to that moment.) This would seem perfect for cult TV shows that sell huge amounts of DVDs but don't have amazing ratings.

          How about letting people download encrypted TV shows in advance to computers, with commercials, and then releasing the key at the moment the show airs? They could even do the right local commercials so the advertisers get their money, and have DRM to delete the show after a week. It looks exactly like broadcast TV, but, hey, you don't need cable or receive digital TV or anything, and you could do it the next day if you'd missed it. Software to do this could even be embedded in DVRs...imagine if you could scroll backwards and pick a show 'to record' that already aired, and be told it would show up in an hour or so. Or if you pick too many shows at once it downloads one of them instead of recording. (Or, hell, it just downloads them regardless, and just pretends to show them live.)

          Which, yes, people would crack it...which would give them a digital copy of the show with commercials, as opposed to a digital copy of the show without commercials that they can already download illegally, so that's hardly a loss for the network. The episodes could, however, have perfect encryption before the show airs...that's not DRM, that's just actual encryption you can't get past without the key.

          Combine those two ideas, and people with 'advance DVDs' could get with a downloaded copy without commercials. You buy an advance DVD, your DVR (Which has access to that information.) starts downloading that show in advance, without commercials, and shows you that instead of the on-air show. Just magically. And that copy stays on your DVR until you delete it, and you can go get it again if you want.

          The problem is that industry is a mess of contracts and people who use them as excuses to avoid doing anything at all to change the system. It is, frankly astonishing that Hulu happened at all, but they really are pushing to not have that be the television paradigm.

          In fact, because of all the contracts between broadcasters and networks, the first people to do stuff like this are probably going to have to be a cable network, who don't have agreements with broadcasters about commercials, with a new series with contracts specifically written for handling stuff like this.

          And it's going to totally fuck up syndication deals too, but, frankly, those are on the way out. No one's going to watch reruns like that in the future...they'll just demand 'An episode of BtVS I haven't seen in a while' and get that episode with instantly inserted ads from the people who hold the 'syndication rights'. They're not just going to fill the extra airwaves with old shows. It will function more like 'free, ad supported, on demand programming'. (Which will actually work a lot better for the advertisers, but is going to be nearly impossible to figure out how to do for current shows, legally.)

        • Or, better yet, movies. The movie you just watched in the theatre should be on DVD/Blu-Ray for $5 on your way out. How often have you been blown away by a movie in the theatre, only to realize days later that it wasn't so great after all. Why not capitalize on the post-theatre excitement? Studios would make bank!
    • Maybe they should use the pledge system [wikipedia.org]. Make a demo or something, get pledges, make the full CD. Open source could do the same.
    • Stop radio piracy! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mcgrew (92797) * on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @09:55AM (#34926662) Homepage Journal

      A St. Louis radio station, KSHE, is the first FM stereo rock station dating back to the late sixties (I don't remember the date, but they became my favorite station the first night they aired as KSHE-95 [kuro5hin.org].

      From the start they played album sides, whole albums, etc, moreso when they were new than now; the 7th Day show, when they play seven full CDs uncut and uninterrupted on Sundays, is the only remnant.

      Years later I was married and going to college and KSHE played Ted Nugent's new album, Stranglehold. I recorded my copy off the air. Mind you, this was decades ago before anything was digital.

      My then-wife and I went to a bar in Wood River that always had great bands, cheap drinks, and no cover charge. The band took a break and we went to the car to smoke a joint (again, this was back in the stone age).

      I may have been the first person ever to put big speakers in a car, and had the hatchback popped open with Stranglehold blasting.

      It attracted the band, who were amazed that I had a copy of this long-awaited album two full weeks before it was available in a record store. The whole damned band piled into my Vega for more pot.

      A memorable night. But needless to say, I didn't have to buy a copy of that album, or a lot of other albums that KSHE played before they were available.

      I still tape stuff off the radio, only now I use a computer rather than tape. You usually get a better quality rip than you can download, legal or illegal, and the legal piracy is a lot less trouble than the illegal downloads.

      If you want top-40 music, just plug your radio into your computer and sample for a couple of hours. You'll usually get the entire 40 songs on the list, and it's a matter of a few minutes to cut them into singles and convert to MP3.

      Stupid record lables...

      • by Kjella (173770)

        My then-wife and I went to a bar in Wood River that always had great bands, cheap drinks, and no cover charge. The band took a break and we went to the car to smoke a joint (again, this was back in the stoned age).

        FTFY.

    • by pz (113803)

      After 50-odd years of people taping new releases off the radio, they've finally got their heads around the idea that releasing them for sale at the same time means that people will buy singles while they still like them. Now they just need to realise that people don't really buy singles any more...

      Hmm. Someone ought to tell the folks over at iTunes that their business model isn't actually working, despite record profits because people don't buy singles.

      Ok, sarcasm off. I think the deeper message here is that with Google, you can *measure* the actual demand, rather than guess. Turns out the classic guess of 6 weeks is wrong -- or, it may have been right back when the business process of setting up a single was invented -- and they know this only because there are good tools to measure what seems l

    • Actually, singles sales are way up, given that people can now buy the songs they want off albums instead of having to buy the entire album. From this article [nytimes.com] (first one i could find):

      Album sales have dropped for four of the last five years, and while sales of digital singles are booming, that has not yet been enough to offset the drop. Music companies sold more than 350 million singles last year, a jump of 150 percent over the previous year's total.

    • by I8TheWorm (645702) *

      Meh, I do buy singles. WAY more of them than whole CDs (and yes, I do pay for them).

      The best thing about the digital revolution in music IMHO was not having to buy a whole CD for the one good tune and 9 filler/crap songs.

      It does seem silly that it took labels this long to realize that with the short playlists on stations people are very tired of songs by the time they hit the rack.

    • by Kijori (897770) <`ward.jake' `at' `gmail.com'> on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @10:59AM (#34927416)

      Amusing as the parent's post is it does make a serious point: the record companies are changing their business model - they're doing it slowly and reluctantly, but nonetheless they are doing it. Here's my prediction of the reaction:

        - This will have no statistically significant effect on piracy
        - "The record wasn't available yet" will persist as a reason for piracy for a year or so among people who could have taken advantage of this
        - Pirates who previously used this justification will move onto another

      Why points 2 and 3? Because the vast majority of "explanations" that are given by pirates are post-facto justifications and actually have no significant connection to the real reason that they pirate, which is that it means that they can get music for free and they probably won't get caught.

    • I was thinking pretty much that. There would be no "piracy concern" today if they caught on a long, long time ago.

      What makes people copyright infringers? Now, there are three reasons:

      1. Price.
      2. Availability
      3. "Because it's possible".

      You cannot beat 3. But these people tend to be rare, at least originally. Who would start their infringing career with the idea "there's so much musik out there, gotta have it all". In case you're infringing, ask yourself: Was that my motivation in the first place? That I want

    • by ultranova (717540) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @12:51PM (#34928864)

      After 50-odd years of people taping new releases off the radio, they've finally got their heads around the idea that releasing them for sale at the same time means that people will buy singles while they still like them.

      Yeah, it shocked me too. It's almost like they'd reached sapience all of the sudden. I wonder if a black monolith took pity on Sony and played "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" through cafeteria speakers?

  • by R2.0 (532027) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @09:07AM (#34926218)

    That's unpossible!

    • I was surprised also, but I won't complain. It's about time these people woke up and realized that the world has changed.
    • by jimicus (737525) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @10:27AM (#34927034)

      Not true.

      We jest, but in fact this is precisely how the entertainment industry has worked for decades, if not over a century.

      1. New technology which impacts entertainment comes out.
      2. Industry fights tooth and nail to eliminate it.
      3. Industry adopts it and winds up embracing it so thoroughly that they make even more money than before.

      The time between step 2 and 3 varies, but the end result is always the same. The only time this hasn't been the model followed is when the technology is developed hand-in-glove with the entertainment industry (eg. DVDs) or it is only practical for big companies to set up and produce (eg. CDs before the advent of CD burners).

      It happened with recorded music (artists complained that nobody would want to see them play, eventually started selling their own music), it happened with radio (who will buy the record if you can just listen to the radio? Eventually the radio became a marketing tool), it happened with videos (who will go to the cinema when they can tape the movie? Eventually they sold pre-recorded videos), it happened with compressed digitised audio (who will buy the CD when they can pirate it online? Yet today we have a whole slew of online music stores).

      I guarantee if CD burners had become cheap and half-decent five years earlier than they did, we'd have had the music industry trying to ban them too.

  • Regardless of how much people value instant gratification, why was a delayed release ever a good idea? Of course, it is only particularly harmful now that there exists an illegal free alternative that will satisfy demand if the song is not sold quickly enough. But what was ever gained from not selling it instantly? Just the satisfaction of making customers twitch?

    • Because in the Olde World they could have their slathering hordes drooling in anticipation and rage.

      Now that we are DoItYourself, if they want to play all "high tower" that's why people began to tell them to push off.

      • by h00manist (800926)

        Because in the Olde World they could have their slathering hordes drooling in anticipation and rage.

        Now that we are DoItYourself, if they want to play all "high tower" that's why people began to tell them to push off.

        I just want the giant music labels to get completely replaced by some combination of thousands of indie efforts.

    • by Ice Tiger (10883)

      I never understood this either, when you hear something you like you want to buy it right then and why not?

      • Well, in the old way of doing things, everybody wins: you play a new song on the radio for a while, forcing people to listen to the radio if they want to hear it (and thus boosting the stations' revenue), and increasing the number of people who hear the song. Then once you have built enough anticipation and demand, you can sell the song at a higher price, increasing the recording industry's revenue. The fact that the listeners want to buy the song right away never mattered, because back then, they had no
        • Also in the old days music was good. I'm not talking about the generational gap and how all the music today sucks, I'm just saying that most music today is assembly line corporate crap. It's designed to be catchy, it's designed to be universal, and in the end it's bland. Real musicians/songwriters still exist, but the record labels make more money of a one hit wonder band that they create compared to a band with actual talent and staying power. The problem is that a one hit wonder gets annoying after a few
          • by digitig (1056110)

            The problem is that a one hit wonder gets annoying after a few weeks of overexposure. Remember when Titanic was in theaters and EVERY radio station played 'My Heart will go on' sometimes at the same time?

            Um... you might find Celine Dion annoying, but with 9 US and 12 UK top-ten hits she's hardly a "one-hit wonder".

            • Sorry, just using her as an example of overexposure, guess I could have made that more clear. Couldn't think of annother example offhand because I haven't had my morning coffee.
          • In my book, the difference between good art and bad art is the message, the idea communicated. The main thing isn't really the beauty of the sounds or the colors or the shapes, although it's important too. The most important thing in art is whether there is some new idea communicated, some new inspiration, something to be said, informed, accused, called out, whatever. Pretty colors with no idea inside is just a pretty bottle with no wine inside.

            Now where are the websites with art of people who have som
          • by he-sk (103163)

            I'm just saying that most music today is assembly line corporate crap. It's designed to be catchy, it's designed to be universal, and in the end it's bland.

            There's so much indie/alternative music out there, you just have to go looking. Of course, it helps when you have a radio station [fritz.de] in town that does the looking for you.

        • Downloading is that significantly different from recording from the 70s radio/bootleg coping which anybody could and did do with readily available hardware. If you're talking about 50 years ago, they can certainly use some modernization.

          Assuming a free market with record labels fiercely competing to sell their units, wouldn't one of the first tasks for the "invisible hand" be a better experience for the user- say perhaps providing fastest possible delivery? They could easily play a requested song on their

    • by lisaparratt (752068) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @09:12AM (#34926276)

      So that a single would enter the charts at a high position, thus ensuring prominence and further sales.

      • by Toze (1668155)
        ^- this, I think. It didn't encourage lots of sales, it encouraged lots of sales when they finally let the proles have it, which would turn a mediocre release into a chart-topper based on weekly sales. Machine Of Death did kind of the same thing on Amazon, except not with holding off on the release or trying to build excitement; they just got everyone to buy the book the day it came out.
    • It fostered a psychological dependency and triggered a Pavlovian response which fed into addictive behaviors - making "sheeple" for the harvesting.

      Remember - these are Average People the label were manipulating.

    • >>>why was a delayed release ever a good idea?

      Same reason they delay DVD releases. The production companies are giving theater owners a chance to profit off the movies, otherwise people would just buy the DVD.

      Likewise production companies were giving radio owners a chance to profit off new songs for approximately one month..... and now they've just taken that away because people will buy AACs instead of hearing their songs on the radio. Music Radio stations will probably be pissed (unless they g

      • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @09:34AM (#34926454) Journal
        Which isn't necessarily a bad thing: I don't begrudge the dinosaurs their existence per se; but when radio and TV have their scaly antedeluvian asses planted right in the middle of a huge swath of sweet, sweet RF spectrum with good propagation characteristics they had better start showing some serious worth, and fast(as much as they like to pretend that spectrum is their god-given property, it is supposedly allocated in the interests of we the people. We can, and should, reconsider the bargain if it seems to no longer suit our interests...)

        While, unfortunately, the realities of politics mean that any new spectrum that becomes available will probably fall into the hands of telcoes, I would love to see radio and TV sold for scrap, and their entire bandwidth allocation dedicated to "wifi-but with a slice of spectrum that doesn't totally suck". The possibilities for medium to wide area mesh networking and all sorts of other cool stuff would be amazing.
      • Same reason they delay DVD releases. The production companies are giving theater owners a chance to profit off the movies, otherwise some people may just buy the DVD.

        Fixed that for me. If you're talking about the children market that's sounds likely to be true, since paying a fortune for the privilege to schlep your screaming kids to eat junk in a movie theater packed with dozens of other screaming kids is to be avoided.

        I used to be a guy who would go see something at the cinema but never bought the DVD. I've since gotten myself a decent screen and swapped to the opposite, rarely visiting the movies and buying DVDs instead (though very rarely buying a DVD I've seen on

    • To break first week sales records?
    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      My guess is they wanted to try out a single before pressing actual copies of it. Especially vinyl (these policies stem from that era of course) is relative expensive to press and distribute - you want to be somewhat sure that your product is selling. Otherwise you end up with large stacks of unsold records, or you don't have enough if a song proves to be an unexpected hit. With CD's the costs are lower, but still significant.

      Now with iTunes that whole distribution and upfront printing cost is gone of cours

  • Aren't songs leaked into the pool of piracy before they're officially released anyway? (I know movies are.) How will this make any difference then?

    • Empirical results sugggest that, while people can and will turn to piracy if they cannot otherwise get what they want(and that there exists a pool of hardcore pirate/hoarder types for whom pirating as much as possible, much more than they could ever watch/play/listen to, is a hobby in itself), Joe User is actually pretty happy to pay a modest fee, so long as the experience is simple, frictionless, and Just Works.

      The difference that this is supposed to make is as follows: Before, because of artificial del
    • by Xarius (691264)

      Movies are hyped up for a long time before actual release in cinema, meaning a demand is created before the supply is actually available. If a screener is leaked accidentally, people are already waiting for it.

      With music this is different. You don't get "trailers" for upcoming song releases, or big media campaigns getting people ready months in advance--there is no point for a 3-4 minute audio track.

      Even if a track was leaked and available on bittorrent a month before its actual release, no one would downlo

  • It's one thing to generate demand by creating fevered anticipation, but people will only wait so long before the fever dies down and the excitement turns to some new shiny that can be obtained right now. I used to be REALLY excited about Rockband 3's pro mode back in november, I was going to get the new pro guitar and learn for real. Unfortunately, Mad Catz has a bad history of underproducing their most in-demand hardware (SF4 pro-sticks, anyone?) and as a result there has been zero PS3 or Xbox360 pro instr

  • Beating piracy is easy. Pay musicians their fair share so they will make music with originality, creativity, and integrity featuring talented musicians using actual instruments without autotuning bad vocals.

    You know, music that people actually want to BUY.
    • yes... thats right... music nowadays is not liked or wanted so people would download them illegally just to spite the musicians.
    • by Abstrackt (609015)

      A lot of music that meets those parameters is already legally available for free (if you like the artist, you can give them money directly).

      I think you'd certainly cut down on piracy if the music on the radio stayed fresh longer than a bowl of milk in the sun but I hardly think it's what's going to beat piracy. Personally, I like the pay what you want model; piracy may still occur but you get more than enough sales to cover it.

    • Pay musicians their fair share so they will make music with originality

      This assumes that a musician can make sure his music has originality. George Harrison accidentally copied half of a Ronald Mack song into "My Sweet Lord" and lost a million dollar lawsuit over it (Bright Tunes Music v. Harrisongs Music). Are there steps that a songwriter can take to prevent accidental copying, or should one accept that it might eventually happen and just buy some sort of insurance?

      • by jimicus (737525)

        I can't remember an exact source, but IIRC someone has done the arithmetic. There's only so many permutations of musical notes you can have, and it turns out the back catalogue of every major label is rather larger than the number of permutations available.

        This is before you discount the fact that most of those permutations sound complete rubbish and most genres have essentially "rules" dictating what works together. So your average song of any given genre has substantially fewer permutations available.

    • by pikine (771084)
      When "music with originality, creativity, and integrity featuring talented musicians using actual instruments without autotuning bad vocals" becomes available, that will just become pirated as well. If you don't like a song, why bother pirating it? Besides, there always has been "music with originality, creativity, and integrity...," only that they're not marketed with a massive budget, so you'll have to look harder for them.
    • by gstoddart (321705)

      Pay musicians their fair share so they will make music with originality, creativity, and integrity featuring talented musicians using actual instruments without autotuning bad vocals.

      There are actual musicians out there who still do that, and entire record labels as well. In some cases it may still be electronic instruments, but that's what the band does.

      Just because the pop-radio stuff is dreck doesn't mean that there aren't artists and labels out there who actually make good music. In fact, from what I

    • Beating piracy is easy. Pay musicians their fair share so they will make music with originality, creativity, and integrity featuring talented musicians using actual instruments without autotuning bad vocals. You know, music that people actually want to BUY.

      Wait, what? I ... um... missed the logic here. People download music without paying for it because they don't like it? I mean, if I don't like music I... erm, don't bother wasting my time with it. But maybe I've been doing something wrong?

  • by Manip (656104) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @09:13AM (#34926284)
    Well OBVIOUSLY Sony. The main problem most of these old people have in the media industry is that they cannot get their head around the fact that they're in competition with piracy and it is a competition that they can win (even if they continue to charge). Look at Steam. Steam charges for games, but the level of service is high enough to justify the cost, or "you get what you pay for." The problem Sony and other media companies has is that they want to offer a sub-standard level of service to consumers while charging a premium rate - which shockingly consumers aren't happy with.

    You can say whatever you wish about iTunes, but iTunes has proved that is the level of service is high enough, and the prices reasonable enough people will use that instead of pirated music - because they have the money and the hassle of piracy isn't worth the time/effort investment (people are lazy!). While some will always pirate, these say people have no money, and thus aren't really "customers" anyway.
    • by cronius (813431)

      Exactly. Previously, pirate bay was the best service available for me. Now I pay for spotify, and I get access to just about all the music I want at home and at work.

      All someone needed to do was offer me a better service (anything, really). I spend 100 NOK a month on spotify (about 13 euros) and it's been many years since I've used that much on music, and although it's not perfect, I'm very satisfied.

  • This has to do with how to get maximum money from impulse purchasers. While I may buy singles, I don't buy anything without considering if I'll want it in a few weeks.

    So I don't buy games I'm not willing to keep. I don't buy songs I'm not going to listen to for years, and I don't buy a car every 2.1 years (which is, according to a recent car salesman I bumped into, the national average). [We are averaging a new car every 7 years.]

    But then, I <humor>am old and </humor>spend money more care

  • Wouldn't it just be easier for Sony & Universal to lobby the government for speaker licensing? People, after taking a test of course, and showing proper government approved ID, will be issued speakers which will allow them to "hear" an "analog" version of the song in "audio" format.
    Then, people accused of copyright infringement can have their license revoked. anyone with unlicensed speakers will face jail time of 10-25 years.

    oh wait... that's their OTHER plan.

  • About Bloody Time (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Spad (470073) <slashdotNO@SPAMspad.co.uk> on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @09:24AM (#34926362) Homepage

    Singles these days get so much repeated airplay for so many weeks on the radio that by the time they're actually available to buy legally, by any means, I'm sick to death of hearing them. This is actually a good idea, though it will doubtless result in less "successful" singles (chart-wise) because the purchases will be spread over a longer period, as opposed to the usual first week rush.

    • by c (8461)

      > Singles these days get so much repeated airplay
      > for so many weeks on the radio

      The very idea of singles for radio play is broken. Last time I recall listening to music on a regular radio station, I remember the so-called "dj" announcing the "new" single for some bands "latest album". Said "latest album" had been released almost two years prior and that particular song was basically filler, yet this station had never played that particular song because there was no available single. Single gets relea

  • by SirGarlon (845873) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @09:28AM (#34926402)

    Have you noticed that this radio executive has unilaterally expanded the definition of "piracy" to include recording a broadcast? He's just overturned the Betamax Case [wikipedia.org]. Note the progression here: from piracy = mass producing copyrighted material for unlicensed sale (1980's) to piracy = copying a single recording from the Internet (2000's) to piracy = legally protected fair use (2011).

    Yes, I know this story is from the U.K. where the laws are different, but I would be very surprised if taping a signal from the public airwaves is illegal there.

    "Piracy" as used by music executives is becoming a buzzword with no meaning other than "people deciding to listen to music without buying it."

    • by Spad (470073)

      It is to the eternal dismay of record executives worldwide that there's no way for them to let you hear a song (to encourage you to buy it) without the possibility of you hearing it multiple times for free.

    • "Piracy" as used by music executives is becoming a buzzword with no meaning other than "people deciding to listen to music without buying it."

      Piracy is a simple scapegoat for an overzealous and underachieving CxO.

    • Have you noticed that this radio executive has unilaterally expanded the definition of "piracy" to include recording a broadcast?

      Yeah, this got me too. I guess if I hum a few bars of the latest pop music I'm also engaging in piracy.

    • There is case law on the subject, but not for radio. With radio, there is no program schedule; You cannot pre-program your cassette deck to record a specific song, in order to listen to it later. I understand that this was fundamental in the recording of TV shows cases, where "timeshifting" a recording was allowed, therefore recording a show on TV is allowed, as you may not be present for the entire show, or any of it at all. However, you will be present (within earshot) of your radio for listening to the 3
    • by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @10:17AM (#34926892)

      Have you noticed that this radio executive has unilaterally expanded the definition of "piracy" to include recording a broadcast? He's just overturned the Betamax Case [wikipedia.org]. Note the progression here: from piracy = mass producing copyrighted material for unlicensed sale (1980's) to piracy = copying a single recording from the Internet (2000's) to piracy = legally protected fair use (2011).

      Yes, I know this story is from the U.K. where the laws are different, but I would be very surprised if taping a signal from the public airwaves is illegal there.

      "Piracy" as used by music executives is becoming a buzzword with no meaning other than "people deciding to listen to music without buying it."

      All of what you say is true, however, there is one wrinkle that the betamax case did not address. Recording a show, say from ABC over the airwaves, is legal, per Betamax, however, recording a show from ABC over your cable provider is not covered as it is not broadcasted to your home. The situation gets even murkier if your cable and internet are the same thing. So relying on Betamax is not an open and shut defense.

    • and rest of human history: piracy = forcibly boarding a ship on the high seas to steal and murder.

  • Gee, I never would have expected that being able to buy something when, where and how you want might actually impact your decision whether or not to buy it.

  • by Toze (1668155) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @09:36AM (#34926468)

    I swear to Jeebus, I got to the end of the article summary and had to check my calendar to make sure it wasn't April 1st. Then I had to check the link to make sure it wasn't the Onion. I know we all thought these guys were dinosaurs, but this goes straight past incompetence, blows past malice, and lands straight in hug-me jacket territory. What sort of insanity is this? I stopped buying, pirating, or listening to Top 40 radio years ago; I get all my tunes from CC-licensed clearinghouses like jamendo.com or searching the Goog for CC licenses. This whole report just sounds like a discussion of 60's era soviet oppression- I know that's melodramatic, but it's got that same weird dissonance of separation of time and culture.

    • What sort of insanity is this? I stopped buying, pirating, or listening to Top 40 radio years ago; I get all my tunes from CC-licensed clearinghouses like jamendo.com or searching the Goog for CC licenses. This whole report just sounds like a discussion of 60's era soviet oppression- I know that's melodramatic, but it's got that same weird dissonance of separation of time and culture.

      Protip: The "Top 40" is the list of the 40 most bought/played tracks. You know, the 40 most popular; by definition. The 40 most popular tracks of the week tend to be quite popular.

      I've never lived in the eastern US, or eaten a burrito. That doesn't mean that nobody has.

    • by Carewolf (581105)

      Radio quality differs from area to area. Some areas it is pretty good and the major venue for most people to encounter new music. Funny enough it seems the quality of a radio depends on at least competition from public radio stations, with no public radio in the competition, radio quality goes to hell.

  • I think a an instant buy function has very little to do with piracy. It just a cynical and artificial way of boosting single sales. If a "buy now" button lights up in the radio app when music plays, then the music with the most airtime gets more revenues and races up the sales chart faster. If radio stations also get a cut of the proceeds (as they probably would if they're providing playlists for this feature) then it just becomes payola through the backdoor.
  • by vadim_t (324782) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @10:32AM (#34927092) Homepage

    They're a huge pain.

    "This song/movie/video isn't available in your region due to licensing restrictions"

    This is amazingly common in Europe. Which is very stupid, because if I can't buy it legally, the most logical thing to do is to pirate it. If I can't pay even when I want to, the logical conclusion is that they just don't want my money.

  • Consumables (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MaWeiTao (908546) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @11:07AM (#34927520)

    I find that the sort of stuff that ends up on the radio, which is mostly pop and hip hop, has a very short shelf life anyway. Most of it is low-quality consumable junk. It's tailored for mass appeal; people go nuts over it for that first month or two until it becomes grating. That means if people haven't bought the music during that short window they're likely never going to buy it. I'm shocked stupid music executives have taken this long to catch on to this.

    What bothers me about the pervasiveness of buying individual songs is the loss of albums with a cohesive theme or outright concept albums. There's nothing to stop musicians from producing them, but if people aren't going to buy the whole thing I bet a lot of people will be a lot less inclined to bother making them. Financially, it probably makes sense to release individual songs from time to time instead of working on an entire album all in one go.

  • by Sloppy (14984) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @12:04PM (#34928210) Homepage Journal

    These marketing geniuses are telling me that if I'm worried that people might not buy my product, I ought to offer my product for sale?

    Damn! Why didn't I think of that?!?

"It is better to have tried and failed than to have failed to try, but the result's the same." - Mike Dennison

Working...