Saturday, February 13, 2010

No wonder...

I thought I kept hearing the same song over and over...

In my Economics and Current Policy Issues lecture on copyright, I point out that strengthening the duration or application of copyright both increases the returns to created works and increases the costs of creating new works; I usually point out the list of artists who'd have to be paying royalties to Pachelbel's heirs for ripping off the chord progression from Canon in D (or, more likely, who wouldn't have created their songs at all) were copyright too strictly applied. [More]

Which would also help explain this:


I think the same story could play out in many other realms of intellectual property.

Print media springs to mind: too many wanna-be authors, too easy to publish and distribute on-line.

Which is why live-performance is the center of attention.
On the other hand, record companies are far less susceptible to the cost-disease. Musicians rarely make money off of recordings, because the record companies' overhead and profit take precedence; some performers have tried to keep more revenue for themselves by starting their own recording ventures. Success isn't automatic—the risks remain high, even as the costs of creating and manufacturing recordings have declined. Internet technology, however, has lowered the barrier-to-entry even further, cutting the distribution costs involved in selling recordings to almost nothing. The demise of Tower Records is lamentable, but the economic forces that shut their doors are creating opportunity: for a historically miniscule start-up investment, performers can control content, manufacturing, and distribution in a vertically-integrated way. In this model, live performance becomes not just an end in itself, but also a marketing tool that funnels money into your record business. [More] 
Hence we see concert ticket prices rising.
Why are concert ticket prices so high?
The only way for ticket prices to go down is if artists charge less. Building owners and promoters don't control pricing. That's controlled by the artists and their managers. Those are the groups that have to make the conscientious decision to give the consumer a break on tickets and pricing.
That said, it's not all their fault. It's also the fault of the promoters who bid up the price. We're our own worst enemies. Agents aren't going to stop us because they want to get as much money as they can for the artist. At some point, we need to deal with the mentality of winning the bid at all costs because, in the end, the consumer ends up paying the price. [More]

Not that I've, like, actually attended a concert in this century, of course.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Patent and copyright trolls are a big problem. Science, technology, literature and the arts. Intellectual property rights issues are never black and white but many recent decisions by our culturally ignorant courts including the Supreme Court have made things even worse. I am waiting for the day when they rule that all words have previously unrecognized IP protection and thus the simple act of forming a sentence will require compensation to some troll somewhere.