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Colleges Secretly Test Music-Industry Project 208 208

An anonymous reader writes "The music industry is still pushing Choruss, a controversial blanket-licensing scheme, but it is far less innovative than first described. Six colleges are setting it up now, but they refuse to have their names released because the issue is a political landmine — and who wants to be associated with the recording industry?"
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Colleges Secretly Test Music-Industry Project

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  • Anonymous Cowards? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by plastick (1607981) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @04:54AM (#29992302)
    Sure they're scared of being sued! Just look at the track record.

    You know, this wouldn't even be so much of a problem if the music industry (these publishers) charged a reasonable price for a CD that costs them a few cents to make. You know... a CD with 7 songs on it where 5 of the songs suck, 1 song is ok, and you really only wanted that 1 song you paid the $30 bucks for.

    Instead, they want to sue Apple over royalties for the 30 second song previews on iTunes.
  • by NoPantsJim (1149003) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @05:14AM (#29992386) Homepage
    How's this for an idea. A band signs with a college instead of a record label. The college pays the band, everyone at the college gets their music for free.

    Yeah, probably not the greatest of plans, but much better than a college handing it's own students over to the RIAA.
  • by weston (16146) <westonsd@canncen ... .org minus punct> on Thursday November 05, 2009 @05:55AM (#29992604) Homepage

    wouldn't even be so much of a problem if the music industry (these publishers) charged a reasonable price for a CD

    I don't think that $12-$15 (or a buck or two per track) is really an unfair price for even a half-decent CD, really (and I don't think many people pay $30). It may be vanishingly cheap to transmit bits or print them into plastic and foil discs, but it's a lot of work to create music. Paying for it is one good way to make sure the people who make it can keep doing it. Not that it's not good for artists to sometimes sell lower or even give music away, and not that I don't agree there's a lot of crap out there that isn't worth paying for. Just that the most common prices don't seem unreasonable to me given the work involved in making music.

    The labels and publishers, on the other hand... increasingly irrelevant middlemen and control freaks who add a lot of overhead and a questionable amount of value.

  • by timmarhy (659436) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @06:04AM (#29992648)
    the cd tax is so flawed it's not funny. only artists who sell over a certain number of cd's ever see a cent, so if i'm a local band who produces an album, burns it to 3000 cd's to try get some kind of exposure, your album is actually taxed and some cocksucker affliated with *AA profits off it via the tax you paid....
  • by supersat (639745) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @06:14AM (#29992694)
    ... is this paragraph:

    Noank Media, a company based on a Harvard University research proposal, is working on a blanket-license program that would charge colleges and other institutions a flat fee. Users would install software that would count every time they played a song, for the purpose of distributing royalties to the musicians.

    What? How do they expect that to work? Are service providers going to force me to install some metering software? How will it count plays on portable music players?

  • by Andorin (1624303) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @06:28AM (#29992788)
    They'd better have a Linux version. Or are you going to have to run Windows or OS X if you buy into this license?
  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @06:59AM (#29992936) Journal

    Fair price is a misleading question. The real question is whether they are pricing their product in the best way to maximise profits and I strongly suspect that they are not. I pay about the cost of an album every month to a company that lets me rent DVDs (two at once, as fast as I can watch them and post them back) and stream an unlimited number of TV shows and films. In comparison with this, an album seems stupidly expensive. According to iTunes, I haven't listened to any of my albums more than 128 times and very few more than 30 times. There aren't any that I've been listening to with 100% of my attention, so in terms of money per time spent entertained, music is much more expensive than video.

    At the current prices, I'll buy 2-6 albums per year. If you priced an album at $1-2 then it would be an impulse purchase. If I heard a song I liked on Radio Paradise, then I'd buy the rest of the album to see if I liked it. Perhaps I'm unusual, but I suspect that I'm no. The cost of producing music has dropped a lot in the last few decades, but the cost of buying it has not. Meanwhile, the cost of other forms of entertainment has dropped a lot and music seems proportionally much more expensive. I've read a couple of studies indicating that around 5-15/track is the optimum price for maximising profit when selling music but the music industry seems to think that 99/track is the right price (which is fine) and that they should expect the same number of sales that they'd get with 5/track (which is completely unreasonable) and then blame piracy for their failure to adapt.

    Coincidentally, Ars published quite a nice round up on this subject today [].

  • by koiransuklaa (1502579) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @07:53AM (#29993202)

    I don't think that $12-$15 (or a buck or two per track) is really an unfair price for even a half-decent CD, really (and I don't think many people pay $30).

    /me raises hand...

    Normal CD price here is 20€ which at current rates is $29.5. Add to the insult the fact that there are no web stores that would sell non-DRM music to a linux user in Finland (I'd love it if someone proves me wrong, btw).

  • by Stereoface (1400061) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @08:05AM (#29993262)
    Well if they were just offering a streaming service then all you'd have to worry about is Performance royalties. But in this case they're offering to give you the file. If this Choruss company is going to give me my Mechanical royalties (9.1 cents) on every song distributed then I'm happy, but if it's a blanket just to save them money as music resalers- then it's pointless. I can already get everything off itunes and the royalties are paid out properly.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 05, 2009 @08:30AM (#29993398)

    More to the point....I listen to music on my computer all the time, but *I'M* the only one listening.
    Since I've already "purchased" the music, why the h*** do they think I want to pay MORE each and every time I listen to it?

    so they are going to GIVE AWAY the music, and only charge for the listening? don't think that will work too well.

  • by Interoperable (1651953) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @09:22AM (#29993756)
    I think it only applies to music that's put onto media covered by the levies, it's ambiguous whether it covers p2p downloaded content on your iPod and it remains illegal to upload music so no seeding.
  • I have a dream... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hatemonger (1671340) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @11:17AM (#29995078)
    Imagine an ideal world where artists make their own music; they pay for their own recording and mixing. If they want to make a million dollar music video, they get a loan from a financial institution. Music distributors like MTV and radio stations go out and find music rather than contractually accepting whatever the large recording companies decide will be popular. Whenever I pay $10 for an album, it all goes to the band. And, since we're talking about hypothetical ideal worlds, I'd wave a magic wand so that modern music wouldn't suck.
  • Re:What about... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Z34107 (925136) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @11:51AM (#29995494)

    I attended an IT conference last year where Choruss was discussed. Given the regard we /.ers have for the technically-minded, I was surprised at the attitudes other college's IT directors had towards this system.

    The main complaints they had about music piracy were having to deal with RIAA notices and bandwidth sucked up by P2P. My own campus is fairly enlightened - not-too-terrible packet shaping and a per-MAC address bandwidth cap. Each student gets 1 Mb/s and any relevant RIAA bitch notes.

    Other campuses managed to do little better than wet themselves every time they got an RIAA letter and hadn't heard of any network management. Some didn't know how to implement any kind of QoS or packet shaping and saw all their bandwidth disappear into a black hole no matter how fat their pipe was.

    These schools saw Choruss as a wonderful idea. It will end the RIAA notices, and no one will P2P ever again! Additionally, students would love them - for only yet another mandatory fee tacked onto their tuition, they can download all the music they want!

    It was attractive because it made their lawyers happy and promised to mask the gross incompetence of their IT departments.

    It is not a good deal for students. Those who don't listen or purchase RIAA music will still have the mandatory Choruss fee on their tuition. Those who do listen to such music also get no benefit. If they pirate all their music, having to pay extra for what they get for free provides no value. If they pay for all their music, there's no need for Choruss.

  • by An ominous Cow art (320322) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @12:27PM (#29995948) Journal

    Don T. Knowe and the Hoocares, I believe.

Time-sharing is the junk-mail part of the computer business. -- H.R.J. Grosch (attributed)