Musik fliesst heute überall, jederzeit und auf allen Geräten, egal ob
wir einen Download oder einen sog. Stream wollen. Der Unterschied
zwischen Anhören und Besitzen ist bereits fast vollkommen verschwunden -
und genau das ist die Herausforderung für die gesamte Musikwirtschaft.
Wir brauchen dringend neue Geschäfts- und Kulturmodelle die diesem
unwiderlegbaren Trend Rechnung tragen.
Eröffnungsrede / Begrüssung
Präsentation: Eine neue Internet Musiklizenz und die Musik-Flatrate: was, wie, wer und warum?
Gerd Leonhard, Autor, Musiker, Futurist und CEO TheFuturesAgency (Basel)
Stellungsnahmen zum Thema:
Acht eingeladene Gäste, u.a. Tim Renner / MotorMusic Berlin, Poto Wegener / Swissperform.
Zusätzlich werden eingeladen: Vertreter der SUISA, IFPI, Musikschaffenden, Parteien, IGE.... etc.
Teilnehmer werden nach Zusage umgehend bekanntgegeben
Öffentliche Diskussion und Debatte
Update: ein kurzes Video von Gerd
Resourcen zum Thema
It seems like every single day I read about how Internet and mobile companies are struggling to obtain the rights for what they want to do, whether it's about music, videos, TV shows, films, articles, text and images.
Netflix seems to have been more successful at tackling this wicked problem of content licensing, at least to some degree, by - as cnet aptly puts it - 'building relationships in traditional means' (I guess this means playing nice with Hollywood? Read the article - those are good, old-fashioned golf-club paradigms I'd say)
Spotify is a fantastic music service, no doubt; very much along the lines of what Dave Kusek and me envisioned as 'music like water' in our 2005 book 'The Future of Music', and subsequently expanded on in my follow -up book, Music 2.0 (free PDF here). Spotify is not officially available in Switzerland but I have been successfully using it via a UK paypal account (after trying simfy.de and not getting anywhere with their really awkward and crash-prone iPhone app). Unfortunately, Spotify just can't seem to get the music labels and national rights organizations to bless their launch in many other territories, including the U.S. (read this Slashgear piece for more details ). All of this - you guessed it - because the record companies and the music publishers have not agreed on the licensing and deal terms for those countries, yet, and despite the fact that Spotify is already spending most of its VC money on paying for the music licenses. The fact is that there are no compulsory licenses available for on-demand streaming and flat-rate access services so unless these deals are negotiated nobody can touch it. Read about it here, or here (my Spotify-related blog posts), or via my July 2009 blog post on specifically why I think Spotify is unlikely to survive, or peruse the Zemanta-enabled links below for more enlightenment by some smart people
So here is the point I am trying to make: I don't think a purely free-market-driven and unregulated approach will work, in the future. Many large, incumbent media companies, publishers, record labels and other traditional intermediaries (i.e. the 'industry' as opposed to the actual creators) have every reason NOT to be flexible or even slightly forthcoming with their licensing terms and thereby support the deployment of new cloud-based, access-on-demand and flat-rated services. This is simply because their very existence may quickly and irreversibly change the entire playing-field, and may make it very hard for the incumbent rights-conglomerates to continue to effectively control distribution (and by extension, advertising prices) in the same way as before. These changes aren't for the better when you currently run the entire show, so why should you agree?
This is why Warner Music Group's Edgar Bronfman has said many times that he will not license any unlimited streaming-on-demand service, why Netflix - despite of (or because?) its vast growth - has been back and forth with the Hollywood studios on getting more content deals done, and why Hulu is losing steam because of the studios' concerns over future cable-TV revenue streams. Clearly, this is all about controlling and milking the market (i.e. the 'people formerly known as consumers') as long as possible. Yes, sure, just like the big telcos used to do before they had to let competition in. This is not about 'getting the artists / creators paid' or about fighting digital piracy - it's about maintaining a comfortable and lucrative monopoly position for the longest possible time. Which is OK, too - if it wasn't for the criminalizing effect it has on every single Internet user.
Most large, international media companies (disclosure: many of which are or have been my clients in some way or the other) and almost all major TV, film and music rightsholders are used to absolute control over the distribution of the works (and artists / producers) that they own or represent, and this simple fact used to result in getting much higher license fees - the other party had no choice but to take it or leave it; no license simply meant no (legal) business. This may sound somewhat reasonable in a mostly offline world (i.e. until just recently, when the mobile Internet started to take of), but on the Net, in a truly networked society, this kind of thinking plays out quite differently: refusal to license at a price that is affordable(and / or financially viable for a new, potentially huge but legally unprecedented player) simply encourages and produces piracy, because the desired content will become available anyway, legal or not, one way or the other. The reality is that there is no real control of distribution of digital content, any longer, and all models based on re-achieving that control will fail miserably. Witness the 100s of illegal movie sites that now stream pretty much any movie on-demand, or the many new IP-cloaking and re-routing services (commonly used to access locally restricted content services) that are currently flooding the market. Not licensing content to new players on actually survivable terms simply lets other, parasitic entities prosper by offering it without permission. Everyone loses.
My thesis is that - just like telecom deregulation - we urgently need new, open and public mechanisms that first significantly encourage and then possibly even enforce the licensing of copyrighted works for new services that require a new and more experimental approach, and that may end up serving the consumers much better than the traditional services. A 'use it or lose it' rule may be useful to that end; and as far as music is concerned I have been proposing a new, public digital music license for a long time.
In any case, I think that a system that continues to be based on deriving future benefits ONLY for the largest and most powerful rightsholders (again, by that I do not mean the actual creators, but the industries that represent them) is, in my view, simply unsustainable and socially indefensible in this dawning broadband-culture and in a connected, networked and interdependent society. We need better and more transparent EcoSystems and less EgoSystems; less empires and more Open Networks.
Let me have your feedback please!
Note: if there is some kind of problem with my comment box on this blog, please use Facebook or Twitter for comments, for now, or email me and I will post them.
Here is some context via Zawya.com: "Gerd Leonhard Predicts a Radically Different Future for the Media and Content Industries: "In the content industries, we are going from selling copies, whether physical or digital such as books and CDs, to selling access, such as bundled music offerings where music is included in internet access. This is painful if you made money selling paper or plastic, but it is as inevitable as the switch from horse-drawn carriage to the railroad. And there is lots of new money to be made in selling access to the content-clouds," said Leonhard. "Without a doubt, data is the new oil. Over 4 billion connected users willgenerate zetabytes of data, every single day, by commenting, rating, tagging, forwarding, uploading and sharing content. Every marketer, every brand, every telco and every mobile operator will want to get to this data, and be allowed to use it," he said. "The consumer will be more powerful than ever before, and - just like oil - many difficult situations will arise from the use, such as the discovery, the mining, and the refining of data. In any case, data will emerge as the most important asset of the next decade."
It didn't take long for the TedX NewStreet (London) people to put the videos online at the TedX Youtube channel - great! Unfortunately my own talk got started while the wireless microphone was still on 'mute' so for the first minute or so (while I am doing my introduction) the audio recording was quite bad.
Therefore, I edited the video and scrubbed those 60 seconds; the result is below (using my own GerdTube / Blip.TV channel *you can get the iTunes podcast feed here). The original TedX Youtube version is below, as well, as is the slideshow, from my previous post. I think I really touched on some very important issues here, and I would be delighted to hear your thoughts on them. Fire away via Twitter, or Facebook, or comment below. And spread the word. Thanks.
It was a great pleasure to speak at TedX New Street in London yesterday (tweet flow is here, btw) I was allotted the usual 18 Ted-minutes to speak about the future of intellectual property and copyright - a piece of cake! Here is my presentation, below - let me know how you like it. Hopefully we will have a video on Ted.com pretty soon, as well. If you want a quicky download (rather than the high-res slideshare version, below), you can try this low-res PDF: Future of IP and Copyright Gerd Leonhard Tedx London LOW RES
Updated again: here is a low-tech video of the Executive Roundtable presentation (just my talk, nothing else). It's kind of home-made using a Kodak ZI8 (thanks to Jeffrey Hayzlett, Kodak's amazing CMO) but still offers good value I think.
Martyn Warwick from TelecomTV news has some very nice and succinct comments, as well as some recent stats, on the bizarreness of the French HADOPI law. The juiciest stuff is excerpted and commented below. Enjoy.
A new study carried out by the University of Rennes and focused on the illegal downloading of online music and video in France reveals that it grew by three per cent between September and December 2009 - despite the noisy and bad-tempered passing of a contentious law designed to outlaw the practice.
The report shows that 30.3 per cent of all Web users in France illegally downloaded content over the quarter. Over the period 1 July to 30 September it was 29.5 per cent.
What the Rennes University work throws into stark relief is the feebleness and structural shortcomings of an ill-conceived piece of legislation that was foisted on the government by intense lobbying by vested interests within the content industry. It was conceived in a panic and rushed through without any real analysis or understanding on the part of the legislators of the way the Internet actually works. That's because Hadopi 2 only targets P2P file sharing networks and completely ignores streaming sites. (My comment on access versus copy is here)
However, the numbers of people who watch and/or download video, film and music via streaming is growing rapidly, while the numbers who do so via P2P networks is in equally rapid decline.
The Rennes Report shows that the percentage of French Internet users who favor streaming sites rose from 12.4 to 15.8 between September and December last year. At the same time the percentage of those using P2P networks declined from 17.1 to 14.6 over the same period.
Even more interestingly, the study also shows that those who routinely
and frequently buy and download content legally also use illegal
platforms. It also comes to the conclusion that the suspension or
permanent removal of an individual's Internet connection will be counterproductive as many who do pirate content also pay for stuff as
well. Thus legal video and music sales would fall. My comment: I think this is the most important point: disconnecting those that are looking for content, those that are fans and interested in music, is a ludicrous idea if you actually want to sell to them! Protection is in the business model not in technology or the law. Regulatory capitalism will fail (quoting James Boyle here).
It was a great pleasure to be invited to contribute to the Sao Paulo / Brazil-based Fundacao Dom Cabral's innovative CEO leadership program, led by my colleague and Swiss-Brazilian collaborator and leadership guru Didier Marlier, as a visiting professor. Below is a fairly large and long (95 pages - do not print!!) slideshow with most of the important stuff I presented; needless to say this was not the usual 45-60 minute session but took pretty much the entire afternoon. I was extremely impressed with the organization and their hosts (FDC / Dalton Sandenberg) as well as with the fast and agile minds of the CEOs that attended - we had some very inspiring conversations. And Caipirinias, too;). Update: Low-res download of PDF here: PDF 11.5 MB Open Network Economy Gerd Leonhard FDC SP Low-res
Enjoy. Share. Retweet. And get my free iPhone app before it turns 'freemium'.
We would like to invite you to The New Year Revolution: an insight into what's on the horizon in the technology, media and telecoms sector in 2010 (and beyond!)
We are delighted to welcome Gerd Leonhard, TMT futurist as our keynote speaker.
Gerd is renowned for his presentations and think-tank appearances, which are hard-hitting and provocative yet inspiring and motivational. His clients include Nokia, Google, Sony-BMG, Siemens, ITV, the BBC, The Financial Times and many others.
Following Gerd's keynote there will be a session bringing you up to date on important law changes for 2010.
Date: Wednesday 13 January 2010
Time: Registration, breakfast and networking at 8.30am. Seminar 9.00am to 11.00am, including time for questions. There will be more time to network when the seminar has concluded.
Venue: Berwin Leighton Paisner Adelaide House, London Bridge, London EC4R 9HA.
It was a pleasure and a privilege to be invited to the Telco2.0 Executive Brainstorm event in London, today, and to address a roomful of telecom & media executives that were - as it says in the conference tagline - looking for a way to 'reduce the friction in the digital economy'. After having to listen to some rather bizarre and, sadly, rather 'retro' justifications about why those pesky Internet users and Digital Natives (i.e. our kids) really do need to be threatened with disconnection from the Net if they don't comply with the rules of yesterday's game, delivered with great pathos by the usual lobbyists from UKMusic and Universal Music Group executives (see the list of panelists below), I tried to get down to the bottom line of what the workable alternatives to their Control & Enforcement paradigms could be.
Funny thing is, that in the subsequent vote most people in the audience seemed to actually agree that disconnection and punishment are not going to change anything and are not a suitable path to new revenues... I always wonder why there seems to be strong consensus if people vote (or talk) individually, but if you hear them 'in public' everyone always delivers the good old party line of wanting more control and protection. Why is that? Whose bread we eat whose song we sing... is that it?
I will post a summary here, shortly. In the meantime, here is the slideshow (download the PDF via slideshare). A
Once again, great stuff by Mary Meeker and her Internet team at Morgan Stanley, via the Web2.0 summit. The video, embedded below, is good, too, but in my opinion it's the the slides that matter most: every single page packs a punch and makes you think. Great mix of facts, statistics and some key foresights. A must-read (and then... digest). Techcrunch has some great comments on this presentation, here.
The proposed "3 Strikes" legislation is flawed in many more ways than I could hope to outline in this letter, and many of these issues have already been addressed in many other places. Therefore I shall provide only a quick summary of some of the key issues, and then move on to describe what a fruitful, realistic and decidedly more pragmatic alternative could look like.
Unauthorized use of music on the Internet is not a technical problem but a business issue. The reasons why the global ‘free’ sharing of music via the Internet (whether streamed or downloaded) is growing exponentially cannot be nullified by technological means. Rather, the digital music (r)evolution clearly poses a myriad of business and socio-cultural problems that require us to devise a new social contract that legalizes what people actually do, and then build new business models around it.
Anyone that has attempted to innovate within the music industry (including me) will attest to the fact that the largest hurdle for the monetization of music on the Internet during the past 15 years has been the astounding absence of new licensing schemes that actually fit the 'Internet Generation' i.e. the digital natives, and the new ways of consumption that connected consumers are rapidly adopting. Bottom line: the problem is not what consumers are doing - the problem is that the music industry has not blessed it with a license yet!
Therefore, any attempt to solve these business issues with technological measures – such as the proposed 3-strikes legislation – would, with utter certainty, be very expensive, have serious social and political consequences and yet fail miserably to deliver tangible monetary results for the content industries or indeed the creators; just like Digital Rights Management (DRM) which was pushed very hard by the music industry for over a decade and has now finally been acknowledged as the snake-oil it really always was. The only outcome of the proposed 3 Strikes legislation would be to further criminalize every single consumer that is interested in music, every fan and every potential customer.
So, again, let me be pragmatic: this idea means no money for the creators, no new revenues for the industry (but even more rejection by the consumer), and still no satisfaction for the music consumers. In my view, the most pressing objective must be to solve the very real problem of how music (and then, other digital content) can indeed generate new revenues via the Internet - for the old revenue streams are the past, beyond a shadow of a doubt - just look at what is happening to newspapers and print publishing! Technology will not and cannot solve problems posed by seriously outmoded business practices.
I would argue that we are in fact trying to build a new business on top of the decidedly pre-Internet principle of total and exclusive copyright – a stark dilemma that has proven to create endless friction but produce very few new revenues. The very idea of being able to control the flow of files in order to extract earlier or possibly higher payments from the users is fundamentally flawed, and we must therefore look for ways to monetize it rather than to prevent it.
The value of music is no longer (just) in the copied file. We urgently need to understand and accept that the value of music is no longer (just) in the mere copies of the digital files. Our attention needs to shift from the old - and dying - business of ‘selling the copy’ to selling everything else i.e. the many other values around that copy (some people call that 'service' ;) but starting with providing very low-cost or flat-rated and bundled access, and then creating many new revenue generators on-top of the bundled, legalized access to music. Once legal and unlimited music distribution is build-into Internet access - when Access is Content - a revitalized music industry can focus on talent, curation and marketing, i.e. the attention-getting and the conversion of that attention into actual income. And yes, there is serious commercial value in the music industry once we regulate distribution (I call this Music 2.0 - if you care to read my free book on this... here it is)
The DML: the alternative to the proposed '3 Strikes' legislation. 80 years ago, the answer to the challenge of a then-new and vastly popular technology called 'Radio' was to legalize it and provide new licensing schemes to remunerate the content creators. The same thing happened with CableTV and with the copy-machine, and the very same logic needs to be applied to music on the Internet. A public, collective, standardized and open license for music on the Internet needs to be either voluntarily created by the music industry, or mandated i.e. enforced by the government - and the sooner the better for everyone. The DML would - similar to the existing radio & broadcasting licenses that are already in effect around the world - make music available on public, standardized terms and conditions, and therefore allow any and all businesses that want to use music to do so without the utterly crippling uncertainties that exist in the current marketplace.
Revenue shares and flat rates - not fixed license fees per song. The objective of the DML is to create a new, vast, and constantly replenishing ‘pool of money’ for music, i.e. to grow the revenue potential along with the growing number of users, as well as via the many new kinds of usages that will be spawned by the DML.
In my opinion, the most crucial component of the DML is this: the license fee needs to be calculated on a revenue-sharing basis rather than on a per-unit i.e. per song fee, whether streamed or downloaded. The current practice of a fixed per-track fee (usually amounting to about 1 cent U.S. per song, for the use of the master recording) for a stream and around 70 cents (U.S.) for a download has proven to be economically detrimental and utterly unrealistic for the market participants (such as Omnifone, Spotify, Rhapsody, Napster, We7 and Yahoo). Why is this? Because of the still-very-nascent stage of the digital music ecosystem, the fact that large-scale advertising revenues for new forms of media are always 2-3-5 years behind, and given that a very large number of users - potentially all UK consumers - are likely to listen to quite a bit of music in this way.
In its formative stage, this new market does not and will not bear license fees that are fixed in this manner and that are totally unrelated to actual incoming revenue streams. Instead, the DML would need to be calculated on a flat-rate or percentage-of-revenue basis, possibly combined with a minimum 'floor' that could prevent unfair and unintended use of 'free' music as a loss-leader (if needed).
Initial DML's reserved for ISPs, telecoms and operators. Since there are many different kinds of businesses that would benefit from having legalized music available (e.g. telecoms, operators, search engines, social networks and communities, blogs, web portals, online magazines etc) but their business objectives and parameters are so vastly different, I would propose to initially make the DML only available to ISPs, mobile network operators and telecommunications providers. This would have several important advantages: 1) once ISPs and operators are able i.e. licensed to offer music bundles and flat rates, they will have every incentive and reason to monitor (i.e. count not control!) which songs are used on their network, 2) they have very large user bases which will provide for a critical scale of payments to be obtained immediately (thus significantly lessening the perceived threat of revenue loss in the physical music market), 3) they have strong potential for the integration of next-generation, user-friendly advertising integration 4) and they already have build-in billing and payment mechanisms.
A flat fee license per user, generated in a multitude of ways. When licensing ISPs, mobile operators and other telecommunications companies it will be crucial to offer flat-rate licenses rather than to pursue revenue shares which are not going to be an acceptable way of generating music revenues from this process, at least initially. Rather, I believe that a fixed, flat-rate license fee per user, per week or month, would be the most suitable way provided that suitable 3rd parties (see below) will also engage to contribute to the funding of each user’s license fee. We must not simply declare the license fee payments to be the ISP’s problem - because it isn't, and because the solution is in the creation of a new Ecosystem, a new business logic, and not in creating tax-like burdens for individual industries.
Economic experts have already done a lot of work on the flat rate model. Far from being an economist myself, I would add that a payment of 1 GBP (in the UK) or 1 Euro (in Germany, France etc) per week per user seems to be economically feasible; however the exact price point will of course need to be negotiated with all involved parties, and possibly be adapted on a yearly basis until the market is more fully developed and each party’s ultimate value position can be determined. In any case -and this is crucial - the DML must clearly be so utterly affordable that every single ISP, operator and telecommunications company would immediately apply for a license.
In terms of the actual use of the music and the subsequent accounting for remuneration purposes, I propose that it should not make a difference if a song is downloaded or streamed (i.e. played on-demand while online), and - similar to CableTV - it should not make a difference if a user would use music 24 hours a day, every single day, or just download 3 songs every now and then. All music usage would need be counted, anonymized and reported, and artists would get paid fully proportional to the actual use of music i.e. according to their popularity (see below for details).
A calculation example: a pool of 2.6 Billion GBP per year for music, in the UK. As an example, a DSL provider and mobile network operator with 20 Million UK users would need to generate funds to pay for a DML of GBP 80 Million per month, i.e. 960 Million GBP per year.
Assuming, for mere calculation purposes, an average of 50 Million eligible UK residents i.e. a large percentage of the entire UK population (~ 61 Million) generating 1 GBP per week, the revenues for the music industry would amount to a very substantial 50 Million GBP per week i.e. 2.6 Billion GBP per year, which represents almost twice the UK's recorded music revenues in 2008 (1.36 Billion GBP). Any argument of ‘cannibalization’ of existing revenue streams such as CDs or iTunes would pale against this figure. And yes, iTunes would do just fine with and on-top of the flat-rate: remember they don't sell music, they sell iPods and iPhones!
How to fund a DML of 1 GBP per week per user. The key question is, of course, how exactly the ISPs and telecoms would raise the money to pay for the quite significant cost of the DML, every week, per user. This is a crucial issue since,a gain, under no circumstances should the ISPs, operators or telecoms be made solely responsible for the financial solution of this problem; it is absolutely crucial to position the DML as a business solution that will unlock strong new revenue opportunities and will be more than cost-neutral in a fairly short time. In my view, the job of building the financial support mechanisms i.e. the ecosystem that the DML will require should be handled by a mutually respected, knowledgeable and neutral advisory board whose mission would be to 'collate' this new ecosystem and to get device makers, advertisers, premium-service providers and other interested parties aboard as quickly as possible.
Advertising is only one of the many ways to fund the DML. Of course, as in television and radio, advertising is one of the key factors that will subsidize the DML fees. The concept of advertising-supported content is not new but what will be drastically different, going forward, is the type of advertising that we will see on digital networks in the very near future. Concepts such as advertising becoming content, itself (such as in mobile phone applications) and social advertising will blossom once permission for the legal use of music is given, creating much higher advertising revenues than we are currently seeing online.
The global advertising spend currently amounts to roughly $ 670 Billion USD, per year. The UK advertising & marketing spend is forecast at approx 25 Billion GBP in 2010 (eMarketer), with - by 2012 - an estimated 25% i.e. 6.25 Billion GBP going to digital and mobile advertising. Yet, digital and mobile advertising would only be one piece of this new puzzle: handset makers could pay subsidies to get preferred i.e. 'presented by' access to users (basically a network-centric variation of the existing ‘Nokia comes with Music’ concept), social networks could contribute subsidies to legally integrate ISP-hosted music into their own networks via the DMLs that operators and ISPs would already have; search engines and portals could do the same. Imagine if Google could sit on-top of this new system of fully legalized, feels-like-free music - this is similar to how Google has already made legal music (streaming and downloading) 'feels like free' in China.
After an initial set-up period, it would be crucial that an ISP or operator that makes use of the DML would be able to fully recover the DML costs through a multitude of new revenue streams, such as next-generation advertising, the sale of mobile applications based on the unlimited availability of music (such as social music and play list applications), subsidies by CE companies i.e. handset and device makers, data-mining and cross-selling (with careful consideration to consumers’ data protection and privacy, of course) and various forms of up-selling of other product and services (including music-related premiums) such as the games industry has been offering for the past decade, already, or even by re-packaging some of the license costs to their users.
The DML is NOT a tax. Any indication that the DML essentially amounts to a tax or is yet another compulsory payment scheme levied onto the consumer (such as the existing TV & Radio licenses) or a particular industry needs to be avoided, at least in the UK market where such a proposal would probably be politically unwise. The DML is simply a new license that is made available to businesses that want to use digital music, with the funding being generated from the market participants, themselves.
Monitoring of usage and fair payment to content owners. Every song that is performed i.e. streamed or downloaded on the Internet would need to be tracked and accounted for, using already available software solutions such as Gracenote or Shazam. This data would need to be made anonymous using a mathematical formula that would protect each user’s private data while still providing actuarial tracking of which song has been used how many times, on any given day, week or month.
Each artist and rights-holder would then receive a monthly payment that is proportional to the actuarial use of their music during each tracking period, e.g. if a given artist’s music was used 1.3% of the time (e.g. in any given month), he or she or their representatives (record labels and publishers) would receive 1.3% of the total pool of money collected. All participating creators (e.g. writers, lyricists, composers, producers etc) would get their proportional payment from the same pool. I am advocating a 50-50 split between the composer and the performer (i.e. recording and publishing), at this time. Overlaps with existing rights schemes (such as public performance on the Internet, and so-called web-casting and Internet-radio) would need to be investigated and addressed, as well.
Existing examples: similar models to the proposed DML are already in place, or are being investigated in:
Please note: this short letter cannot possibly answer every question that may arise if this proposal is further investigated or realized. Rather, I intend to make the case for why the DML would solve the pressing problem of legalizing and at the same time monetizing the many new ways that consumers use music on the Internet. Please keep in mind that most of the suggestions outlined above are still quite basic; prior to making any precise recommendations in regards to possible implementations a lot more research and input from all involved parties is required. Also, while my suggestions should be applied to digital music only, at this time, I do foresee similar developments within other digital content sectors such as motion pictures, TV and books - albeit within a wider timeframe (i.e. 3-5 years).
I will be speaking at Lee Dryburgh's Emerging Communications (eComm) Europe conference in Amsterdam on October 28-30. Prior to this date, and to preview what I will be talking about in my presentation (last year's video is here, btw), Lee conducted an interview with me which turned out to be quite informative (if I may so so, myself). I have pasted some of the 'best' snippets below, and added the MP3 version if you want to just listen to it. A big part of this interview is about what I call 'The Politics of Content' i.e. the 3 Strikes debate. The full version can be found on the eComm Europe blog. Lastly, if you want a discount code for this event... please ping me.
Lee: ...there is this political push in the U.K. for
three strikes, and you're cut off by your ISP or slowed down if you've
been caught by your ISP for downloading "illegal" files. Have you got
any comments to make there in this sudden ISP liability for content,
which seems very crazy?
Gerd: I think there
are a lot of more or less unfortunate things coming together on this.
Basically, the content industry starting with music is rightfully
worried about distribution becoming free. This is a global phenomenon.
The more broadband we have the better devices, the more the push
towards sharing and trading stuff without payment is clearly there. On
the other hand, the content industry has, to a very large degree,
refused to license the content in so many new ways that are being asked
for, starting with imeem and YouTube, and MySpace originally. The
refusal to license has essentially created a vacuum to where everyone
rightly then also says if we can't actually do it legally, we have two
choices which is to quit or to do it without permission. Then you have
companies like imeem and MySpace and YouTube initially doing it without
That in return has created a need for the content industry
to lobby the governments and industry organizations around the world to
get the ISP to pick up the responsibility, which of course, is a rather
ludicrous thought, given you could easily expand that to PDFs and JPEGs
and what have you. That thought of deep package inspection for the sake
of shoring up a specific business model is obviously not going to
happen in Europe... I think that anybody who believes that technology exists, that you can
solve this problem, is mistaken on this. It's basically not a
technology problem. It's a structural and licensing problem. It's
basically a business problem. Whenever you try to solve a business
problem with technology, like we have with DVD region coding, and those
kinds of things, you end up really going against the consumer and
sacrificing things that otherwise the consumer will hate you for.
So you feel that this motion, this three strikes push to have your ISP
do policing is actually pulling value out of the system instead of
adding value to the system as a whole?
a fig leaf discussion. It's as simple as that. The discussion about
solving this problem with technology is nothing but a fig leaf because
it will never work. In a democracy, it's not actually technically
feasible. If you imagine this, then I get disconnected from the web for
downloading and I go to my neighbor and use his Wi-Fi. He also gets
disconnected. Where do we go? We go to the Internet café and we'll do
the same thing. It goes on from there and sooner or later, somebody
will ask for his JPEGs to be prevented, and Murdock is going to ask for
people who copy and paste from the Financial Times or The Wall Street
Journal to also be disconnected. It's a whole chain reaction of issues.
That is just not going to happen in Europe. That could happen in China
and it is happening in China, but not in Europe.
Lee: So you don't see policing of every file format?
key question really is this; does any of this make any money for
anyone? Does kicking people off the web because they have downloaded
without permission make any money for anyone? The whole idea behind
this is to say, "Well, we've got legal offerings that you should be
using rather than downloading for free." If the legal offerings are so
technology stupid, like using DRM, or they are so far priced out that
kids can't afford it, like iTunes, then where are you going to point
them to? In other words, if there is no commercial possibility to be
legal, why am I being forced into those channels that I don't want to
use? That is against every possible logic, if there ever was one...
You have numerous efforts around the world of creating what I call a
private license, like Virgin Media and Universal, like Orange in France
and the record labels, and so on. Most of that doesn't work because
it's too expensive and it has technology problems. Therefore, if you
think about this, think ultimately; we have roughly two billion users
on mobile and regular Internets. All of these users have providers.
What if two billion people were able to have legal access to music and
pay $1 a week, and if that payment was bundled, i.e. hidden with
advertising, with subsidies like the cell phone hardware and so on;
that would be a fantastic solution to everyone. I think telecoms are
thinking, "Well, if we can make this happen, we don't just solve a huge
problem which is content liability; we also create a next generation
platform for the generation of new businesses, including virtual
venues, virtual goods, and premium products." It's not really rocket
science to think that far; that's why I was alluding earlier to
Lee: Great, and I am really happy that we got in
contact last year and you've been pushing, not just pushing, but
highlighting what is taking place. You did so at the last conference and you'll be speaking again next month. I think you're doing a 20 minute keynote.
Do you want to finish this off, since we've been on this call for some
time, by giving some idea of how you see the future of advertising?
We've covered content, policies, where money is, but do you really
think that advertising is going to "pay" for everything? What is the
future role of advertising?
Gerd: I think Fred Wilson from Union Square
Ventures said that the age of one-way communication from an unwanted or
uncertified brand is over. That is what advertising used to be. You get
one-way stuff dumped on you from somebody where you don't like them or
don't know who they are and you don't care. The business of advertising
as disruption, interruption, or a nuisance that is unavoidable is over.
On the web, we're not going to take anything like this. We're
completely going to punish people that do this to us. For example
email, any PR company that emails me with their pitch goes into the
black list. I dump them. I punish them. Any PR company that follows me
on Twitter and gets involved in a conversation and looks at what I read
and what I like, and then sends me a meaningful link; they go on the