Music Industry and Free Downloads.

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Something is broken when Sony and Universal are suing children. Actually, at least two things are broken: the software that file sharers use, and the record labels' business model. The current situation can't be the final answer. And what happened with music is now happening with movies. When the dust settles in 20 years, what will this world look like? What components of it could we start building now?

The answer may be far afield. The answer for the music industry, for example, is probably to give up insisting on payment for recorded music and focus on licensing and live shows.

Whatever the answer be, we are continuing to see a bunch of startups stepping forward to find a solution to this problem. Most of them eventually fail, mostly due to the resistance from the label companies to change their business models. Well, why would they do that? Music is a multi-billion dollar industry and label companies don't want to give up their share of the pie.

Several years ago, the sheer quantity of open challenges to American copyright law created a popular perception that music - old and new alike - was supposed to be free, and “shared” between friends and strangers alike. Upon release of just about any new album (and sometimes even before), full MP3-format tracks appeared on music-sharing services such as Napster and Kazaa, spreading around the world without restriction. Many recording artists were angered by what they felt was mass theft of their music, while others either ignored or embraced the file-sharing.


The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) decided to fight the “music is free” movement, undertaking highly publicized lawsuits on behalf of artists it represented. Services such as Napster were sued for billions of dollars as facilitators of copyright infringement, and either driven out of business or forced into retreat. Subsequently, RIAA lawsuits against individuals shut down large resources of “shared” music, and warned others that swapping smaller quantities of copyrighted content could subject them to similar legal action.

But when it comes to free unlimited downloading of music and songs, mostly in MP3 format, it can be a reality very soon. There are quiet a few music related startups that let you stream unlimited music for monthly fee. But are there any that let you download unlimited songs for a monthly fee? Well, as of now none. But there are quiet few startups that are trying to build a business model that can be profitable for both themselves and the music label companies.

Hopefully, free and unlimited music download will a be reality sometime soon.

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