Monday, January 19, 2009

MIDEM 2009: Man - the lifeboats?

The Isle Of Man government has introduced plans for a blanket music tax on broadband services. The BPI is - at least publicly - being all pleased:

"If ISPs take the position advocated in the Isle of Man, we’d be in an enormously better position," [The BPI's Geoff] Taylor responded.

The Register's Andrew Orlowski isn't quite so sure:
[M[any in both the tech business and the music business are wary of a government-imposed licence fee. A voluntary subscription scheme would provide an incentive for new services to be created - P2P service providers would compete for your custom. Such a voluntary P2P scheme is expected to be announced from a major UK ISP within a few weeks.

With a compulsory licence, ISPs would have no incentive to look after music sharers or differentiate themselves - everybody would be able to offer anything. And privately, labels are wary that collective agreements set a low floor price for music royalties.

Ah, but this is the Isle of Man we're talking about here, and it's more than likely that the music industry will see a small island in pretty much the same way the British military saw Gruinard: a place to test the most toxic stuff away from the major centres of population. If it all goes wrong, and results in the music industry losing more control, they've only lost a tiny market. If, on the other hand, it means the big four get a disproportionate chance to hoover down revenues from the licence, then that could be a prize worth the risk.

[Thanks to Mikey for the story]


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