Just came across a great recent post on John Buckman’s Magnatune block that gets at my point here a bit:
Unless rights-holders change, we only will have one major distributor of each kind of content: one youtube, one itunes, etc.
The solution? Aggregators, such as now exists for indie record labels, such as IODA and CDBABY, can do hundreds of deals and focus on nothing but rights licensing, enabling competition. 90% of the deals won’t make money for the rights holders, but if the rights holders outsource the task, this doesn’t matter. Amazon’s mp3 store would never have gotten off the ground if it weren’t for IODA and CDBABY, who provided DRM-free music for sale to a massive catalog, allowing Amazon to create a creditable competitor to iTunes.
The alternative scenario, if the licenses aren’t granted, is piracy everywhere, with consumers obtaining all the content they want, illegally, and no revenue for the rights holders.
Monopolies or piracy everywhere? Certainly we want a 3rd alternative.