What is to be done about the digital music revolution? With more and more people downloading files illegally, the worldwide organisations responsible for the industry have an uphill battle on their hands. Once, not long ago, I was downloading music in this way, but not now. Currently I am using the iTunes Store to replace all the music that I can, with legitimate copies.
What to do with those who are still flouting the law especially (according to the RIAA) university students in the united states? Surely the industry has realised that the heavy handed approach has failed. Now is the chance to do something different. There have been discussions about this on the web in recent months, and here is a summary of the suggestions.
Artists can ‘give away’ tracks for free, as a way of self promotion. This is more common with indie artists, rather than the mainstream music industry. Prince did this with his most recent album, but he was subsequently slammed by his record label.
Sites such as Jamendo and SpiralFrog allow users to download music for free using (in Jamendo’s case) a creative commons licence or (with SpiralFrog) downloading music in return for viewing ads.
Pay what you want and pay by popularity
There are a few artists who have offered their music in this way, namely Radiohead, Cliff Richard and Jane Siberry.
Radiohead offered thier latest album in this way and customers could even pay nothing for it if they wished.
The final way is subscription
You pay a set amount and then you get access to a catalogue of music for a set period of time. Although this may seem like a good idea, services such as Rhapsody have not reached mass adoption.
All the above suggestions have merit, so it is time the worldwide recording industry started to look to these models for inspiration, as they will most likely become the norm in the future.