I'll go first, here's a true story... one point of view...
I have a varied career of over 25 years on both sides of the glass as they say, working with and for indie, major and diy artists and labels.
I run an indie label. I'm also a film industry music exec (and music supervisor), a mainstream film producer, a musician, remixer and album producer.
I have a pretty robust career history with a large view of the field from many different perspectives as described above.
It's been a rockin' good time. I have no regrets, and most people only dream of the experiences I've actually lived - with artists, in music studios, on tours, on movie sets, etc... A one of a kind life, I've been blessed. Thank you.
In the world today, whatever project I invest in, be it a band, album, artist or film - the investment is marginalized by piracy.
As soon as there is a commercial release (and sometimes even before) the product is pirated and available without cost to consumers, without consequence.
This is a product that I paid to invest in so that artists, musicians, filmmakers, and creatives can pay their bills and support their families. Real people, real labor, real investment in real lives.
The label I run has a staff of three people (down from five a year ago). That's two real people out of work. Two hard working, passionate music lovers who cared about developing the careers of working musicians.
No matter what happens next - I'm going to be OK. I can cash out and retire or do something else. So, it's not me I'm worried about - it's the people I invest in who don't have the benefit my earnings history, investments, skills or relationships.
Due to piracy, I have less and less money to invest in new projects, less people I can hire and less that I can pay them when I do. The effects of piracy ripple all the way down the line. I've had to lay off 1/3rd of my staff a year ago.
I release an album on tuesday and by wednesday its available for free via a google search. tell me how on earth that is a good thing for anyone but the people stealing it?
I believe fundamentally in enforcing the existing laws we have, to protect the livelihood of many creative artists and the creative community as a whole and this expands into software, videogames, movies, books and music.
I see the following potential outcomes from where we are now.
1) Better Enforcement of existing laws which will change behavior and help to reduce piracy to manageable levels.
2) Adapted Legislation to encompass and govern new technologies with better protection of copyright, and enforcement which will help to reduce piracy to manageable levels.
3) No change in legislation or enforcement, which continues to erode the ROI until eventually smaller labels and companies fold and/or are sold for pennies on the dollar to large multinational corporations with more financial resources.
4) foolishly and desperately chasing devalued unsustainable business models for recorded music (and digital media) to such a degree that is essential free, which continues to erode the ROI until eventually smaller labels/companies fold and/or are sold for pennies on the dollar to large multinational corporations with more financial resources.
wow - either better enforcement or there's no little guy and only major corporations.
that's pretty much it. we may or may not get adequate legislation, I think we will, but how much and when remains to be seen.
I've spent a lot of time with a lot of really smart people, and as yet there is not a single new model that is able to create a return on investment that can sustain current recorded music business models. There is no model that works against piracy that I have seen. This is simply because every new model is still competing with illegally free.
It's that simple - I pay to create it, and some one else steals it and gives it away for free (and in many cases they actually profit - YouTube). This shouldn't be that hard of a concept to grasp. I can't keep paying to create something that people can take for free. At some point I have to stop investing and make something else that can't be stolen.
And if I'm going to make t-shirt and mugs, I'm not going to waste money developing bands so I can have an expensive money loosing logo.
As for the professional recorded music industry, I believe this ultimately leads to the end of professional recording musicians except for those who are corporately sponsored by pantex, pepsi and the like.
The majority of the world of professional music will be marginalized to essentially creating music for marketing campaigns and the rest will be the best of the bedrooms without the infrastructure to support artist development.
I could be wrong... but really... I either see enforcement of copyright to bring piracy into manageable levels, or I see a lot of creative businesses failing with the only survivors being directly corporately sponsored in the worst way, by the worst people possible - Madison Avenue.
If it goes that way, pirates will have won and will have all the free corporately sponsored music they want. Joy... that sounds like an awesome world... here's what you get:
Music Made without Labels or Investments (and available for free): SoundClick - Free MP3 music download and much, much more.
Music Made with Corporate Sponsors (and available for free): Everything Will Be Corp Sponsored Funding...