You might know that last year, I thought I was going to try to start a competitor to pandora. I read 2 papers about collaborative filtering, and then went back to playing halo, sudoku’s and other forms of procrastination. I discussed it with Soog and obviously didn’t fulfil my end of the partnership.
There were two things that I thought were key, the first being we weren’t going to pay liscensing to the musicians. After all, we were providing great value by matching up artists with people that like them. This meant having mostly independent artists with possibly an enlightnened label. The second key was letitng the artist sell their music, with or without drm, for a price that they set. The largest complaint I hear from music pirates is that the price of cd’s is outrageously high and the label gets 99% of it. In our system, the price would be whatever the artist sets, and the artist would get some fixed percent, say 90, of it.
It’s easier not to feel bad about stealing from a giant company, but it’s harder to justify to oneself if one knows that of the 50 cents it would have cost 45 are being taken from the artist. I still haven’t seen anyone do this, but I don’t know the details of the deal with facebook selling music. On a related note, I love the Garden State Soundtrack, and am probably going to buy a bunch of cd’s of the artists on it.
In conclusion, I agree that the situation sucks right now where you have to pay a bunch of money to find out if you like a cd. I think the labels served their purpose in the old days by scouting talent. I agree that the laws are slanted right now in favor of the labels and that should be changed. Finally, I agree that it would be good if the labels went out of business, which is why I think this is a good business idea. Replace them as a much nicer and more agile and less expensive middle man. However, downloading music is stealing property, though it be artificial property.