Arnold Kling

Evil Music Distributors, II

Arnold Kling, Great Questions of Economics
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In contrast to Lawrence Lessig (see post 10), computer science professor Edward Felton understands that the recording industry is losing the music distribution war even if it is winning the legislative battle. In this interview, Felton says that the distributors should be trying to use a carrot rather than a stick to reach consumers. He recommends

Interactive applications that help you find music you like, help you index and search, give you additional information about the artist you're listening to...

Overall, the trend will be less emphasis on copy protection and more emphasis on technologies that make music more compelling for the legitimate user.

I agree. The ultimate winners in the music distribution industry will not be the companies that try to force people to buy CD's. They will be companies that provide music subscription services that offer the variety of music swapping along with features that add value.

Discussion Question: describe the features (including monthly subscription price) of a music service that you think could be successful.

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