August 25, 2009

Another Tenenbaum Fallout Piece [7:43 am]

Can’t stop the (free) music (pdf)

Tanklefsky, like many who grew up in the free-music era, where digital tracks are swapped, or now streamed on their computers, as casually as their parents once traded baseball cards, is skeptical that attitudes - and habits - will change as a result of a single high-profile court case. The fine, he says, was “ludicrous,’’ and only made an unlikely martyr out of Tenenbaum.

“It basically showed me I don’t want to download and share’’ music from sites like the ones Tenenbaum frequented, Tanklefsky says. “But if a friend has 10,000 songs on his iPod, you can move them all onto your iPod in about an hour, anyway.’’

Until the music industry figures out a way to compel listeners, especially the younger ones, to stop freeloading and pay for their tunes (a dilemma the newspaper industry can relate to), the free-music era seems here to stay. “The onus is really on the record companies to figure out a new business model,’’ Tanklefsky says.

Stories like the following one, of course, don’t exactly give the recording industry a lot of high ground to claim: Rapper behind ‘Roxanne’s Revenge’ gets Warner Music to pay for Ph.D (pdf)

“Everybody was cheating with the contracts, stealing and telling lies,” she said. “And to find out that I was just a commodity was heartbreaking.”

But Shante, then 19, remembered a clause in her Warner Music recording contract: The company would fund her education for life.

She eventually cashed in, earning a Ph.D. in psychology from Cornell to the tune of $217,000 - all covered by the label. But getting Warner Music to cough up the dough was a battle.

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