This is the all defining document regarding the future of music media.
I mean that in total seriousness. If you are in the business of music or are a fan of music, and fail to understand the predictions I'm about to bring to light, you will be left in the dust.
Ladies and gentleman, now that Best Buy and Wal-Mart have cut their shelf space by 60%, the compact disc has passed away. We need to give it a funeral, so people will stop talking about them, and bands will get the memo and stop signing away their licensing rights to record labels in exchange for a loan which is smaller than a car loan only to ship between 300-5000 copies of their CD to stores, making it one of the least popular items at their merch bin behind their side print shirt of an exploding heart hand grenade.
its over. the record industry based on physical media is over. at least as the central avenue of revenue it is... and boy is that exciting for an artist and libertarian like myself! That a. ends the corporate strangehold on our dollars, and b. means we can redesign how money flows in music.
HERES THE NEW FUTURE:
I have a friend from a prominent banking family(who I will not name here). His family is one which is so rich and tied into the finances of the world that they don't like to flaunt their name around in public life, and, being my friend, I will respect that. I happen to disagree with him very much politically on a lot of things, myself being a non-interventionist libertarian and he is a globalist in fan of a global union, but, i digress. He talks about an IMPENDING NEW TECHNOLOGY that all the financiers are investing in right now.
This technology is GOOD NEWS for music fans. It is called WiMAX. Follow the link for the tech jargon on this stuff to see what it is. For layman's terms it is a broadband micro-wave wireless internet connection which can be received anywhere in a miles-and-miles radius from the tower. All the money men are desperately scrambling to get these towers up and the funding is already there. Rural governments are matching funds with them in order to get this super high speed internet to areas where traditional cable and satellite methods are ineffective. This will accomplish several things:
1. bring the internet to rural communities, meaning more people stealing our music(HELL YEAH!)
2. the speed that the towers can transmit, especially close to the tower, is wildly faster than any current technology can receive it
Essentially, this will create de facto worldwide access to an internet with speeds that make the speed from your CD to your headphones look like a snail.
What does this for mean for music? Last.FM and Myspace have entered into deals with all the majors to license their music for free for streaming play. All of it. I'm sure they are paid some licensing fee. Indie artists can sign up for the programs too, and when your song is streamed, you are paid a portion of the ad revenue, which, although small, ads up very quickly. My own band has over half a million plays on myspace alone... so this is insignificant with the current technology, BUT...
Imagine if someone created a streaming device that read the signal from WiMAX towers, at a faster rate than 128kbps. That is the common resolution for most of those stolen .mp3s you guys are jamming on your ipod to save space for more songs. Imagine if the device could log on to myspace or Last.FM and just literally stream any song that existed immediately over the air at a better quality than you could save it on your harddrive. You paid a small fee per month for service to the company which carried all the music. Indie artists could upload the songs themselves and you could hear them that very day. Every time you played a song, it would report back to the service and give the band of your choice an ad revenue share, something probably like .01 cents.
Now, if everyone were using these devices, which would be hot as fire for how cool they are, then every single play of every single song everywhere in the world would be ad supported and then would fairly pay the artists who put them out. You would no longer need a label to publish your songs or collect payment.
The only thing that is stopping this from happening is a tiny leap in technology, which, I guarantee, will happen whether someone takes charge of it or not. The WiMAX towers are going up, I've overheard the phone calls between investors. The BIG MONEY people who can swallow governments and eat the corporate record labels for breakfast are talking about six month timetables for some of these to go up. This creates a vacuum of technology for the first developer to come up with a streaming device which can stream over the air music at a better quality than an .mp3. Whoever creates this device first becomes a millionaire. I hope that millionaire graduates from MIT or whatever really quickly because I NEED this transition to earn the money from all the European LWID fans who can't buy our record because its not available in stores.
I need a way for our fans to support us, just by jamming our tunes. What an awesome world for an independant band if this technology hurries up and happens.
But mark my words, it is happening. These towers are going to be everywhere, everyone will be on the net, and the device to read it and shift from digital download to streaming play will be the FUTURE OF MUSIC. There's too many millionaires to be made off of this for it to not occur. So bands, be prepared, start giving away more music for free, let fans stream everything you've got. the more used to this they are, the better your stats will be when the transition occurs and the more viable you will be.
The music industry is built off of a bad model right now and is dying, we are in a "correction period". The Golden Age will come when these towers are built. Prepare ahead, do not sign record contracts that give away your rights to these types of plays in a royalty sense. Demand that the contracts treat streaming play ad revenue as a partnership, so that you can see the money from them.