The Royalty Scam - New York Times (Billy Bragg on the Bebo AOL deal)
Link: The Royalty Scam - New York Times (Bill Bragg / Bebo).
Billy: you are right of course; music should be paid for and the creators should always receive a piece of the take in all of these deals. But here is the real question: how come your representatives (i.e. the labels, publishers, rights organizations etc) have not yet offered a simple and realistic blanket license for the use of your music in these 1000s of social networks? A license like Radio has?
IF they had done this a few years ago, you WOULD HAVE receive a piece of this cash and you WOULD be participating in all these deals. The fault is not with Bebo but with the music industry, for not making those licenses available - at least not until there is huge pockets to go after (such as myspace > News Corp, Youtube > Google, Last.fm > CBS). Is it laziness, cluelessness, ignorance, incompetence... or lack of leadership? You tell me.
So far, the industry has waited until some startup gets big enough only to then, retroactively, take them serious and negotiate appropriate license fees. It is the fault of your representatives, Billy, that you have not received your share, not Bebo's or Myspace's - tell these guys to get off their behinds and start blanket licensing NOW. Don't complain about Bebo - the liability is with the music industry. In-action is what is hurting the creators.
"The musicians who posted their work on Bebo.com are no different from investors in a start-up enterprise. Their investment is the content provided for free while the site has no liquid assets. Now that the business has reaped huge benefits, surely they deserve a dividend.
What's at stake here is more than just the morality of the market. The huge social networking sites that seek to use music as free content are as much to blame for the malaise currently affecting the industry as the music lover who downloads songs for free. Both the corporations and the kids, it seems, want the use of our music without having to pay for it.
The claim that sites such as MySpace and Bebo are doing us a favor by promoting our work is disingenuous. Radio stations also promote our work, but they pay us a royalty that recognizes our contribution to their business. Why should that not apply to the Internet, too?"
Nick Carr has a comment on this, too, but he also does not see where the real problem lies, imho.