According to at least one major label, they are both!! It just depends on whether you’re an artist or a consumer . . .
I know that it’s old news that Cheap Trick and the Allman Brothers are suing Sony over download royalties: a while back, Kassia did an excellent analysis on it.
The other day, however, I came across a posting on P2Pnet.net (love that name!) that discussed this very topic. The posting had an excerpt from an article in the Internationl Herald Tribune that reminded me just how two-faced the record companies really are when it comes to this issue, and why you have to take it with a grain of salt when they say that they’re (all together now) “just trying to protect the artists” with their draconian download restrictions.
According to the suit, the record company is treating digital downloads like traditional record sales, rather than licensed music, triggering a different royalty deal.
Let’s review, shall we?
- For the artists: downloads are traditional record sales, not licensed music.
- For the consumers: downloads are licensed music, not traditional record sales.
I’m sure that people quicker on the uptake than me have already jumped on this point, but it’s really a question that can’t be asked enough:
How can downloads be both traditional record sales and licensed music at the same time?
The obvious answer is they can’t. Unless, of course, you are a major label trying to
screw maximize your take from both artists and consumers at the same time.
What I want to know is what would happen if Rick Nielsen legally downloaded and then shared copies of “Surrender?” Would he end being a party to a lawsuit suing himself for violating as a consumer the music license that Sony claims doesn’t exist for him as an artist?