KamranV – IAEL ISP Collective Licensing Opinion
Sadly, it may take the government to cut through Music Business egos, but my opinion is that the ISPs/Cable Companies/Mobile Carries should package music into services and initially eat (what should be relatively small) costs as customer acquisition and retention.
For instance, the first LARGE carrier to offer unlimited streams and open mp3 downloads via the phone and Internet with their latest and greatest, reasonably-priced service package would win big if the decision-makers could care about 5 year plus, long-term benefits instead of looking at their yearly bonuses. When fans can truly rely on free music with a consistent iTunes-like browsing experience bundled into bills that they’re already paying, piracy would be irrelevant. “Downloading vs. Streaming” would be irrelevant. The business friction would be removed to allow artists to make better livings and most importantly, more music! And what becomes of music business middle-men like myself? Well, we can either get more creative or flip hamburgers. Some may dismiss this vision as utopian but the reality is that music is already free and it’s only sensible to make the business about making free music easier.
When I was starting the mobile business for Interscope and Universal Music Group with Roy Kosuge and Courtney Holt back in the early 2000s, we pushed for this as part of 3G rollouts but the distraction of initial mastertone revenues were far too big of a distraction for both the carriers and label group lawyers to make any real effort. The win for the casual music fans, avid music fans and musicians is the raw fact that we would someday live in a world where everyone had a high-speed, data connected mobile device; phone numbers would be people, not places. Music could be available anytime, anywhere. For all intents and purposes we are in that world today. I’m optimistic that the music business of the future will look back at this debate in the same light as the “world is flat” debate.
KamranV has built an elegant bridge between technology and artistry creating Interscope’s multi-million dollar mobile business and serving as producer for DVD-Audio projects of NIN, Sting and Beck. He’s also a strategist for companies including Gibson, ElectronicArts, and Quiksilver while continuing to produce concert films and albums for his company Spaceland Recordings and most recently NIN’s last ever concert film.