Music Distribution: Technology and the Value of Art in Society

Sungwon Peter Choe KAIST Network Computing Lab

Network Computing Laboratory

Contents
Introduction
The Relationship Between Technology and Art

Historical Roles of Music and Musicians

The 20th Century
Technology and Music Rise of the Music Industry

The 21st Century
Disruptive Technologies Current state Future possibilities

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Technology = Art
Ancient Greek
Τέχνη

Romanization
Techni

Meaning
Art

Art and technology differentiated only by time…
E.g. printing press => novel

Or context
E.g. fireworks => guns

Instruments of

Destruction
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Creation

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Historical roles of music and musicians
Traditional Folk Music
Music part of life
social, communal, religious activities

Most learned to sing from childhood Little or no separation between performers and audience

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Current roles of music and musicians
Music
Product

Complex legal restrictions (copyright, licenses)
Music owned by corporations, not musicians

Musicians
Profession
Distinction between performers and fans

Small number of commercial superstars Large number of poor artists

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The 20th Century: Technology and Music
Cultural globalization
European colonization and American Slavery
Fusion of African rhythms & European harmony
Blues, Jazz, Rock, all popular music…

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The 20th Century: Technology and Music
New technology for new music
Electric Instruments (Electric guitar, keyboard…) and Equipment
Big Band, Rock, Jazz…

Recording technology
“Collage” music: Musique Concrète, Dub, Electronica, Hip-Hop.. Problems with copyright

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The 20th Century: Technology and Music
Capitalism
Art given monetary value
Restrictions on music (“intellectual property”)
Copyright Licensing

Recording Technology
Physical mediums (record, tape, CD)
Allowed for global distribution Music no longer local/communal Allowed for packaging and selling of music

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1970s: The Good Old Days…

Long, long ago (the 1970s) In a country (USA) not so far away There were many small record companies
Owned by people who loved music

Then the CD was released
The music industry became profitable

“Imperial” Corporations bought up all the record companies
Source: PBS Frontline’s “The Way The Music Died
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The Reign of the Music Industry
Four corporations control 82% of the global recording industry market Result
CEOs out of touch with music Music is manufactured
product is not art!
Warner 15% Indie 18% EMI 10% Universal 31%

Music choice is limited Music profits go to the corporations
not to the musicians!

Sony /BMG 26%

Source: wikipedia
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The Music Industry and Musicians
In 2002, if a band sold 500,000 albums in the US:
Total gross of ~$8.5 million
Band gets: $161,909
Divided among 4 members = $40,477.25 each

That’s a best case scenario of a 15% royalty

Source: New York Daily News
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The Music Industry and Musicians
Oh by the way, in 2002…
30,000 albums were released

128 went Gold (i.e. 500,000+ albums sold)
Yep, that’s 0.43%!

musicians not eating musicians eating

What about the 99.57% of other musicians who released albums?

Source: New York Daily News
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The State of Music in Society Today
Shaped by 20th Century Technology
Capitalism
Monetary value on everything

Recording Technology
Distribution by sellable physical unit

Result: Controlled by Corporate Interests
Contracts, Copyrights, Licensing Limited choice Manufactured music

Genre “mining” (e.g. grunge)
Fans, even musicians have little control

This is how society values music??
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The 21st Century: Technology and Music
The Internet = Disruptive technology
Music “Pirating”
Threatens the music industry’s
Distribution model Business model Changes fans relationship to music

“Free”
More and more varied music available

Pirating Communities

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The 21st Century: Technology and Music
Professional Recording and Other Music Software
Allows musicians greater independence from labels

Blurs the line between musicians and fans
E.g. Mash-ups

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The Music Industry and the Internet
The Music Industry
Physical sellable unit (record, CD, etc.)

The Internet & Digitized Music
Infinitely reproducible and shareable information (mp3 file)

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The Music Industry and the Internet
Kübler-Ross Five Stages of Grief
Denial (late ’90s)
Pirating only on campuses

Depression (early ’00s)
Pirating depressing sales

Anger (early ’00s)
Suing companies (Kazaa, Grokster, etc.) Suing fans

Bargaining (present)
Selling individual files or monthly subscriptions (iTunes, etc.) Selling ringtones, etc.

(Acceptance)

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The Music Industry Online
99 cents per song in the US
(cheaper in Korea- non-DRM track W700 at Soribada)

99 cents x 12 songs = $11.88
Hey that’s about the price of a CD

Oh, wait…
No manufacturing & packaging costs
No distribution costs

Where’s that extra profit going?
Savings for the user? Royalties to the musician?

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The Music Industry Online
But Napster offers unlimited downloads for $14.95/month!

So?
They offer no added value There is no incentive not to continue pirating music

Lacks imagination
No exploitation of new technologies Same paradigms, just online

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Future Possibilities
20th Century
Our values shaped by the structures of technology

21st Century
Can our values shape technology? How will we value art?

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Possibilities: Free Music
“Free Music”
Inspired by Free Software movement

Targets restrictive music copyrights and licensing
Not necessarily free of cost “Free Music can be freely copied, distributed and modified” Values
Information should be free Creativity is inspired by those before and can inspire those that come after

But not a model…

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Possibilities: Open Music Model
Proposed by Shuman Ghosemajumder (MIT)
$10/month “all-you-can-eat” price point

Five requirements for a viable commercial P2P network:
Open File Sharing: users must be free to share files on their hard drives with each other. Open File Formats: content must be distributed in MP3 and other formats with NO digital rights management protection. Open Membership: content owners must able to freely register to receive compensation. Open Payment: users must be able to access the system using either credit cards or access cards purchasable anonymously in cash from retail stores. Open Competition: there must be multiple such systems which can tie into each other’s file sharing databases. It must not be a monopoly through legal design.
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Possibilities: Open Music Model
Open Music Model weaknesses
Like iTunes with open standards
No added value
No non-philanthropic incentive not to pirate Doesn’t exploit new technologies

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Towards a new music distribution/business model
Values
Music is art not just product

Music belongs to all people

Goals
Musicians should be given fair compensation Music should be freely shareable Music quality should determine its success Make money
(Capitalism still rules, what ya gonna do)

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The Anymusic Platform – the NCLab approach
Sell added service not music
You can pirate music for free anyway

What service?
Ubiquity
Access to any music from anywhere

Social Networks
Music profiles built from user’s statistics (like last.fm) Music discovery and recommendation through the network

Ubiquitous Services & Social Networking
Find clubs, stores that play music you like
Have stores, clubs play music based on customer’s profiles (Charge for business subscriptions)

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In the park near HongDae…

younga I wonder who’s nearby… Music neighbor? Let’s seethe Wow, she likes a lot of what she’s listening to same music I do… But Hey, this song Architect? who’s Spiral is great! I’m I’llgonna message her… check them out… HongDae, Seoul

Spiral Architect - Insects retrieving song…
sungwon: spiral architect is awesome! younga: yeah, right? music neighbors you younga: oh, you’re sitting just over friends there? why don’t you come here and talk to me? sungwon: ok! ^^

sungwon HongDae, Seoul

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Anymusic - Musicians’ Perspective
Upload their own music to share Automatically promoted
Social networks Genre playlists, etc.

Receive compensation proportional to popularity
From user statistics

Independence from labels
(Cheap professional recording software) Anymusic for promotion and distribution Free to own copyright/not to copyright at all

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Anymusic – The Money
Sell information and service, not product
Limitless growth!

Data is the real source of revenue
User’s music listening habits User’s location data Aggregates and correlations of the above

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Anymusic in Businesses (bars, stores, restaurants…)
Monthly Business subscription
User aggregategenerated playlists
In this bar are Anymusic users who like
Soul Jazz Fusion Classic Rock

The bar can then (automatically) play a mix of such music
Jazz
Soul Fusion

Classic
Rock

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Anymusic in Businesses (bars, stores, restaurants…)
Genre/Mood playlists
User requests (via personal devices)

User bookmarking
user hears a song she likes checks her device to see what it is marks it as a favorite

Store music profiles searchable by users
Jazz
Soul Fusion

Classic
Rock

w/ description

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The Future
Almost anything possible What values do we keep/create?

How do we use the technology available to us?

Values

Environment

Technology

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Extra Slides

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Historical roles of music and musicians
Western Art (“Classical”) Music
Highly-trained musician “class”

Musicians supported by patrons or churches
Audience often separate from performers/composers Audience mostly wealthy upper classes

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Possibilities: FairShare
Proposed by Ian Clarke (Freenet)
Patronage system for copyright-less world

Patrons invest in artist
45% goes to artist 45% goes to previous investors 10% goes to system maintainers

Not a complete model
Discovery? Distribution?

Doesn’t exploit new technologies

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Related Businesses: Last.fm
Web Service/Social Network
User profile of:
Most listened to artists This week Overall Etc.

Provides plugins for music players
Sends every song to central server which updates user profile

Last.fm Software

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Goals
Show how the relationship between technology and music changes not only the music itself, but also how society listens to and values music

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The 20th Century: Superstars
Superstars
Increasing scale
Elvis Presley  The Beatles  Led Zeppelin  KISS…

Made possible by
Media (recording and broadcast technology) Radio, TV and records broke down local/communal barriers

Shared national (global) cultural identity

Capitalism Marketing entertainment

Distinction between work and play

Merchandising

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Current Distribution Methods
Method Cost Benefit To User
CD artwork, liner notes, bonus material (video) Convenient (if no DRM)

Physical Media (CD) $12 MP3 (pay per song) 99 cents/ song

MP3 (subscription)

$15 / month

Convenient (if no DRM), Unlimited downloads

Mobile Phone direct $1.99 / song (V Cast) Very Convenient, download ubiquitous MP3 (pirated) Free Unlimited downloads, Convenient, No DRM, Free
Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology

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