Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Orchard worries about future harvests

The big deal between MySpace and the majors, much ballyhooed last week, has unsettled a lot of indie musicians and operators, not least digital distro The Orchard who want to know why Bono gets cash when the current set-up cuts out the hundreds of thousands of artists who made MySpace what it is:

"...it is unclear whether and how the equity the participating major labels received will be shared by them with their artists, or with the independent labels they simply distribute...To our understanding, independents have not been offered any equity.

"... Digital retail is fairer than physical brick-and-mortar retail ever was. iTunes ...helped to shift music industry dynamics towards a more level playing field...In that light, if reports are true, the apparent MySpace licensing approach is troubling. It hearkens back to a time none of us wants to revisit ... Where independent artists and labels were third-class citizens in the global music economy..."

This is a step beyond Billy Bragg's claims that Bebo should share some of its cash with musicians just because; MySpace's deal with the majors has offered some artists some revenue. There is no reason we can think of that smaller artists shouldn't have a share if the existence of a shareable revenue stream has been established.