Newsletter Event Mailing November 2008
LET’S SELL RECORDED MUSIC! – PT 2: ‘WE HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY, WHAT’S THE SOLUTION?’
Stakes Are High – Shadow Pricing P2P’s Economic Impact
Only last week I had someone try to explain the recent stockmarket troubles to me using a rather baffling analogy involving monkeys, that frankly left me more confused than before they started. Sensibly Will Page, Chief Economist at the MCPS-PRS Alliance, has used the resolutely more down to earth cow to simplify the stand off between ISPs, MSPs and rightsholders over file sharing in his latest Economic Insight report. A good choice indeed and one that provides a cogent analysis of how the market could solve it’s own problems if the relevant parties can find a way to work with each other and make a leap of faith.
Of course as Will and his cohorts demonstrate, and anyone who has studied game theory and the tried and trusted prisoner’s dilemma will know, even if all parties working together will generate the best result, fear and self interest are powerful factors that will often work against any rational long term positive response. Offering up four possible courses of action, it’s clear there are no easy solutions but clearer that inaction is surely the least profitable choice of all.
Read the full report here: http://www.musictank.co.uk/reports/mcps-economic-insight-12-shadow-pricing-p2p2019s-economic-impact/
Meanwhile, here’s another opportunity to join the ongoing discussion…
04 Nov – ‘We Have The Technology, What’s The Solution?’
Having previously considered what music consumers actually want from legal digital distribution and whether or not their needs are met by a raft of new and emerges distribution services – outline below – this think tank will look at what is becoming technically feasible and what might be the best blue-sky model for the UK, while considering the needs and perspective of ISPs and mobile platforms.
How can technology enable licensed services to develop some of the functionality of existing unlicensed sites? How reliably can we sample and identify internet traffic for managing tracking and payments? Is this only possible within a walled-garden system, or is the technology available to monitor all traffic for accounting purposes? How might this sit with the notoriously privacy minded torrent communities? What are the benefits and pitfalls of using deep packet inspection and can this work for encrypted content? Is copyright filtering on a network level desirable or possible?
Are there more creative, compelling or enduring models out there? What can we learn from some of the more advanced licensed P2P platforms such as Korea’s Soribada? What about licensing the end user or the access point, à la Noank, rather than the delivery platform? Might this enable music fans to continue to with their consumption habits and trusted filters in a way that better utilises the internet’s potential?
How does the blue-sky models square with the needs of ISPs and device manufacturers? What kind of ISP might be interested in developing content services anyway? And would they look to do so themselves or rather to provide a platform for third parties? And how many kids are right now in their bedrooms cooking up new ideas that will do to P2P what Napster did to the traditional business? Can we develop more futureproofed solutions or are we forever doomed to play catch up?
Jim Gelcer (Noank Media Inc.)
Developed in 2006 at Harvard, Noank Media Inc. is a US-based technology company that enables copyright holders to monetise P2P distribution on a global basis. Jim is flying-in from Toronto specially for this think tank.
Jonathan Friend (Friends MTS)
A regular conference speaker, Jonathan is regarded as a leading authority within the Internet monitoring and content protection industry. Friend MTS services some of the largest entertainment and media companies on the planet.
Tom McLennan (Vodafone UK)
From a telecommunications background, Tom McLennan has worked for Vodafone UK for the last six years and is currently responsible for Vodafone UK’s music products and was responsible for the launch of MusicStation. In the industry, he’s interested in new commercial models and in particular what subscription-based services might offer operators and labels.
Frank Taubert (24-7 Entertainment)
24-7 provide the back-end solution to platforms such as Vodafone’s Music Station, TDC – a Danish broadband & Mobile service provider and Tesco’s online music store. Frank co-founded the company having spent 10 years working across entertainment platforms in the U.S. and Germany.
The Carphone Warehouse
One of the UK’s largest ISPs and signatory to July’s government backed file sharing MOU, have been added to this panel
Sam Shemtob (MusicTank/Name Music)
Booking: Each session may be booked individually at the usual rates (£20 MusicTank Members | £25 Trade Body | £30 Full Price). A series discount for all three remaining sessions is also available, with the following discounts applying…
£50 MusicTank Members – save £10 | £65 Trade Body – save £10 | £80 Full Price – save £10
To book for events individually, please follow the individual links below.
Venue: All sessions take place at the MCPS-PRS Alliance, Berners Street, London | Time: 18.30 – 21.00hrs.
Please remember all MusicTank events MUST be booked and paid for in advance! Become a member of MusicTank and enjoy priviledged discounts on all MusicTank events…
OUTLINE SUMMARY OF PT1: ‘Here We Are Now, Entertain Us’
Sparks flew Tuesday night in the basement of the MCPS building as MusicTank kicked off its autumn series ‘Lets Sell Recorded Music’. In a refreshing change from the usual platitudes and compromised positions prevalent at so many public discussions, there was genuine debate and disagreement between both the panelists and some members of the audience, debate that has since spilled out of the basement and taken on a life of its own in cyberspace. Not that the session was one long rumble and in between the arguments there was much agreement between many present on the way things are heading and an overall upbeat assessment of the future of legal download services.
UK Music CEO Feargal Sharkey began the session with a typically polished presentation. Reeling off an impressive selection of facts and figures he was able to back up his assertion that despite recent high profile losses in the recordings business, we are on the brink of developing services that will see those who download and share music illegally brought back into the legal fold.
Sharkey reserved his ire not so much for those who download the music but for those who have profited on the backs of the download boom but haven’t compensated the rights holders, highlighting the income (to the tune of several hundred million Euros) received by Thomson Consumer Electronics for licensing MP3 players to play the MP3 format, with an inference that some sort of blank media licence is an important part of an overall solution. Feargal’s message was generally positive though, noting that every piece of research backed up the belief that music was still one of the most important things in many people’s lives and that with the ISPs finally sitting down at the table with the music industry a chance for real progress was within our grasp.
Following Feargal was music industry analyst Keith Jopling who provided a run down of the current services that are available and tipped us off to what he see’s as being the most likely winners out of the emerging services (Spotify, Nokia’s CWM and Sony’s Music Plus topped the list for those not running scared of the stock market at the moment). With the debate opened up to the panel, several things soon became clear.
Much of the panel agreed that the obsession with creating unlimited download services was something of a red herring, indeed most agreed that for those for whom downloading and hoarding files was not a pathological compulsion, a capped service, providing music in the quality they expect, without any kind of DRM and with a better level of service and a true consumer experience, may well prove a winning formula.
Of course not everyone backed this upbeat view, with some members of the audience and a couple of the panelists, most vocally Andrew Orlowski, believing that the panel was ignoring one small but ever so vital issue, file sharing. Would any of these new services effectively compete with what already exists out there in the black market? Would it not be better to develop a service that did something akin to licensing people’s behavior rather than trying to force people onto new, possibly inferior platforms? Indeed EMRs research suggested that most of the 1 in 4 over 25s who fileshare do so because they are able to find content through P2P that they cannot find elsewhere, and would happily pay for it if it were available.
Keith Jopling’s response though was clear, rather than chasing after the habitual downloaders we should be focusing our efforts on those who would in the past have bought several CDs a year, provide them with a
clean convenient option and they’ll embrace legal alternatives. We think the debate may rumble on for some time on this one. Which is handy for us as we still have at least three more think tanks to go on the subject.
Next week we have Noank’s Jim Gelcer flying over from Toronto specially to keynote on where technologically is heading, and what blue sky-models might offer the most compelling alternatives to unlicensed file sharing. In the meantime the debate carries on and you can follow its various twists and turns here http://www.musictank.co.uk
Let’s Sell Recorded Music!
Level: Think Tank – medium-to-high level of knowledge required; open to all.
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 Think Tank series will focus on that third prong: effective legitimate alternatives. Over the course of the four events (above and below), we will review what people want, where technology is heading, what the most plausible new models are and how they might be licensed.
21 Oct – ‘Here We Are Now, Entertain Us!’
What do music consumers actually want from legal digital distribution and how does this tally with the status quo and raft of new services in various stages of development or launch? Keynotes: Feargal Sharkey (UK Music); Keith Jopling (Strategy Consultant). Panel: Ben Drury (7Digital); Russell Hart (EMR); Paul Hitchman (PlayLouder); Andrew Orlowski(The Register); Philippe Steinmetz (France Telecom).
The full event transcript is available online to MusicTank Members and is accessible at the foot of the event page (link as above). The Podcast will follow shortly…
04 Nov – ‘We Have The Technology, What’s The Solution?’
The second in a four-part series, this panel will look at what is becoming technically feasible and what might be the best blue-sky model for the UK, while considering the needs and perspective of ISPs and mobile platforms. Keynote: Jim Gelcer, (Noank). Panel: Frank Taubert (CEO, 24-7 Entertainment); Jonathan Friend (Founder, Friend MTS / Fortify Media); Tom McLennan (Vodafone UK) & The Carphone Warehouse.
18 Nov – ‘Coalition Of The Billing’
This session considers what might be the best way to license these new services and whether or not a collective approach is indeed desirable or plausible? Panel to incl. Tom Frederikse (Solicitor, Clintons), Peter Jenner (Sincere Management); others tbc.
02 Dec – ‘Squaring The Circle’
Drawing together conclusions from the series and scoping possible areas for consultation. Panel to incl. Simon Persoff (Orange); Will Page (Chief Economist, MCPS-PRS Alliance), others tbc.
That's all for this issue - 'til next time...
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