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Let’s Sell Recorded Music! Part 4: Squaring The Circle

2nd December 2008 @ 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Venue: The Basement, PRS for Music, Copyright House

panelKEYNOTE: In his keynote presentation to this think tank, Detica’s Media Accounts Director, Dan Klein asserted that ISPs have an opportunity to break the cycle of declining revenues offered by digital music and suggested a set of models for future digital music sales in the UK.


TOPICThe grand finale of the series cuts to the main issue to surface throughout this discussion strand: does the future of digital music sales lie in licensing proprietary music services or with open systems that somehow utilise P2P?

While open models will no doubt prove the most compelling to music fans (who’ve arguably already made their choice about how they wish to access music), some rights holders are understandably wary about cannibalising sales from their core digital revenue stream – iTunes.  And in moving slowly towards subscription models, their financials are still firmly embedded in à la carte downloads.

With some arguing that for young people, P2P has already cannibalised their potential purchases of downloads, a bit of nervousness about displacing some of the more mature music buyers is surely understandable.  What needs to be done to resolve this dichotomy?

And which ever way it might be resolved, how, practically, might ISP-based music services co-exist in a way that preserves value for music and avoids ISPs being traded against one another in a race to amass a terabyte of music as quickly and cheaply as possible?


SERIES CONTEXT: Illegally downloaded any music recently?  Given that nearly two thirds of all internet traffic is made up of P2P activity these days, if you haven’t, then most young people you know are.  Since Napster first reared its head in the late nineties, the recorded music business has tried in vain to put the genie back in the bottle.  The result – some pr blunders and an estimated 20:1 illegal/legal download rate.

For music fans it’s been a golden age where hard to find and out of print releases have been readily available alongside the latest hits of the day, but with no way of monetising these streams the record labels have been forced to watch their profits dwindle while the world’s been moving online.

The UK government has taken notice and is overseeing a three-pronged initiative aimed at educating and developing awareness, dealing with the most serious infringers and facilitating legitimate offerings.

This series will focus on that third prong: effective legitimate alternatives.  Over the course of the four events we will review what people want, where technology is heading, what the most plausible new models are and how they might be licensed.

You can find press coverage from this event via the links below.

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