A Music Tax?

May 4, 2008

This post is inspired by an article published not too long ago at Slate. I’ve been really slow to post it, but I definitely think it’s worth the read. The following quote puts the whole action into perspective:

“Four companies (Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, Sony BMG, and EMI) control a staggering 90 percent of all record sales in the United States, and they’re hopping mad. CD sales are in free fall, and the recording industry’s revenues have shrunk from $15 billion to $10 billion in less than a decade. Instead of blaming themselves for failing to embrace the Internet soon enough, Big Music has pointed the finger at piracy, shaking down scofflaw MP3 downloaders with capricious, multimillion-dollar lawsuits. This has not strengthened the record companies’ position—at this point, they’re losing money and everybody hates them”

With all of this in mind, the music industry has been considering levying a potential “tax” or as some others have called it, “an extortion scheme,” that will result in consumers having to pay an extra $5 or so on their Internet Serive Provider bill. I found this to be interesting, given my belief that thanks to the Internet the major labels traditional business are dated and will be extinct. Hence, I look at any attempt by the music industry to stop piracy as an exercise in futility and a tragic prolonging of the inevitable.

I also recommend reading the comments posted by other in The Fray, which is the designated area for Slate readers to post comments. Not surprisingly, this approach of the music industry is wildly unpopular with the public.