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Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Mar 17, 2017.
Bad sign when a company allows money to be thrown around like that. Pretty soon it comes back to bite you.
Good for Chance.
It's clear most of the forum posters don't understand the business aspects of this. Whether you like or dislike the music, paying for an exclusive is valuable in a few ways:
Demographics - Apple attracts different demographics with these moves. With this one, they seem to be attracting younger consumers.
Retention - A move like this helps justify Apple Music consumers' decisions to remain on the platform and act as a barrier from churning and switching to another competitor.
New Customer Acquisition - Reach new customers and fans of the artist. Let's say that the average Lifetime Value (LTV) of a Apple Music customer is 3 years worth of payments or ($10 x 36) = $360. Apple need only to attract 1,389(!) of this artist's fans to make this investment worthwhile. Considering the artist has 3 million twitter followers, acquiring 0.05% of them seems like a very plausible scenario.
In this way, the amount paid to the artist is very low risk, high reward. Jimmy Iovine is no fool and neither is anyone else working at Apple. The idea that this money should be spent towards improving battery tech or other hard technology is asinine. Those divisions have their own budgets and if Apple could solve these issues by paying the same relatively small amount, they would. Unfortunately, those technologies have their own issues that take time to solve and not just money. Apple can't afford to move slowly there considering how competitive the Smartphone market is. Either way, you won't see investors complaining about this music exclusive as a business strategy decision. The math makes sense and growing services like Apple Music helps diversify Apple's revenue stream thereby making Apple a safer investment, raising it's stock and stronger as an ecosystem.
Honestly I am very near cancelling Apple Music. It's very handy because it is so integrated, but the service is clearly targeting a radically different demographic. Every single time I have gone to Beats 1 they have been playing rap music. I detest rap music. I loathe rap music. I don't even consider it music. It's mysogeny with a beat. This is NOT music.
Beats 1 has the DJs, it is the focus. Everything else is an afterthought. The radio stations I can make can only be based off a single artist, and the For Me selections are ten-song playlists. I may check out what Spotify has to offer. Apple can feel free to pay out huge bonuses to talentless talkers, but they'll be doing it without my subscription money.
Sure, the most critically beloved and best selling hip hop album from 2016 is "yesterday's flavor". Maybe it's not Apple with the lousy taste here.
500k...drop in the bucket for apple....
still thats insane
Words matter, what we call "it" matters. Analogizing illegal downloading to stealing is very counter-productive.
I agree illegal downloading it bad. I agree musicians, software engineers, designers, film makers, etc. should be paid for the work they do in a fair market. When people illegally download music, movies, software, this is a problem. I too know people who are affected by this directly. I don't need to hear more sob stories, I'd rather discuss proposed innovative solutions that might actually address the problem.
The way to solve a problem is to correctly identify what the problem is. If you misidentify the problem, it will be impossible to come up with a solution. This is science 101. If you car engine is suddenly producing low power because the air filter is clogged, it would be incorrect to say the issue is that the brakes are engaged all the time.
To solve a problem, the steps are: (1) identify the problem statement in the most neutral way and broad way possible, (2) come up with solutions tailored to that problem, (3) study the solutions, (4) implement the solutions. If you can't do step (1) correct, all solutions will be dead on arrival. So far, all solutions to internet piracy have been dead on arrival. Could that be, maybe, because conflating the problem with theft or stealing is not the right way to identify the problem?
I argue that the problem is "illegal downloading" or "unauthorized copying" or something along those lines. Importantly, it is not theft. Common solutions that work to combat theft will not work for unauthorized copying. Locks, safes, security systems, supervision. All of those are solutions to stealing, and will never work online. The reason is because we are not dealing with physical goods, and we are not dealing with a finite quantity of goods. I think the proper solutions are through economic incentives and tweaked product offerings. If consuming content is easier than downloading illegally, the legal way will be more appealing. If consuming content legally comes with value-added features that are not possible to pirate, the legal product will be more appealing. For example: no cable subscription needed streaming services for tv shows and movies because cable companies are an unnecessary barrier; music albums come with coupon code for discounted concert tickets or band merchandise because this can't be pirated and fans like it; software purchases come with X hours of live video/phone engineer support because this can't be pirated and many users will appreciate this.
No, the law defines what it is and what is allowed and what not. I understand your distinction and reasoning, but the current status is simple: if you download things that you aren't allowed to download then you are punishable by law.
You're going with music critics' opinions ("Mommy, is this album cool?") and best sales in Hip Hop (his two singles at #43 and #96 for Billboard Hip hop in 2016)? Also Chance has very little in 2016 album sales, it's streaming where he even blipped. Actually where he really blipped was in press releases full of vague claims and flowery articles in shallow press rags. Comparably Bruno Mars and Drake stomped him. As rebuttals go, you'll need to try much harder.
Hip hop been stale for years, hasn't been edgy in over a decade. It's last century's fad on life support.
Apple has a horrible track record for taste in creative content. They make great tech, but U2, Taylor Swift, Chance the Rapper and Carpool Karaoke... ouch. That's just pathetic.
I linked the law earlier - you replied to that post. Did you click the link? The law is a much MUCH more complicated than that.
So, we have a list of 3 ways to be criminally punished for illegal downloading, any one of the following is sufficient:
(A) gain a commercial advantage or some kind of financial profit.
So, if a person is not selling pirated material and isn't using it for any commercial purpose at all, then this doesn't cover them. The prior cases are pretty clear, not paying for something is not private financial gain. Prosecutors have to show actual profit to prove this.
(B) reproduce or distribute copyrighted stuff worth more than $1000 in a ~6 month period.
The value here is commercial value. So if a person is downloading MP3 singles, that's like 600 songs, or 60 songs per month. If we're talking movies, that's like 25 movies or so, or 4-5 movies per month. It could also be 1 copy of some crazy software suite, or it could be 100,000 cheapo ebooks. It's not at all hard to stay under this limit. I'd wager the majority of casual torrenters stay well under this limit.
(C) distribute copyrighted stuff over the internet before it's officially released.
This pretty much just covers leakers, people that work at studios or distribution who leak stuff online before it's released. Again, very small crowd.
And on top of that, you have to prove the reproduction or distribution was willful! "Evidence of reproduction or distribution of a copyrighted work, by itself, shall not be sufficient to establish willful infringement of a copyright." Absent a clear paper trail, it's pretty hard to show willfulness.
So as you can see, the current status is far from simple. And the current copyright statutes do not cover any criminal punishments for what most consider casual internet pirates. That other dude I replied to who talked about his brother seeing his music downloaded on torrents - most likely those people would not be punishable under the law.
It's a complicated issue, and it shouldn't be reduced to unworkable analogies such as theft or stealing. It's very different.
Bruno Mars is electro-funk, not hip hop. Drake killed it with the singles, but as a whole Views was lackluster and tedious. Coloring Book trounced even Pablo as the most joyful hip hop album in years.
And here you out yourself as a hip hop ignorant. Hip hop is at peak creativity and variety at the moment, all across the spectrum from underground to the mainstream. Drake (pulling up from Views with a killer playlist in More Life), Kanye, Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar, Danny Brown, Schoolboy Q, Kaytranada have revitalized hip hop from the mid 2010s slouch, while old school mainstays like De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest have made spectacular comebacks. Hip hop has never been more vital than right now.
My brother is making music with a finite quantity of a good: his time. What is the difference if he makes a painting in 10 hours or a song in 10 hours. Someone not paying him for his 10 hours of working is stealing.
Does your brother price his songs based on how many he sells?
If his time is worth $50/hr, and it takes him 100 hours to create a song, he should get $5,000 at the end, right?
So if only one person wants to buy his song. Does he get paid $5,000?
If two people want to buy his song, does he charge $2,500 each?
After he has $5,000 in sales, does he stop charging the next buyer?
If 20,000 people want to buy his song, does he charge only $0.25 each?
No, those are all absurd because song downloads are not finite, and cannot be priced based on the sweat-of-the-brow approach.
My friend who is a relatively successful musician works his butt off writing and selling books of sheet music, performing live as a member of several bands, teaching private music classes, running music camps, playing solo gigs, and also selling his and his various bands' music online. He probably makes the least amount from the latter, but it's necessary he tells me.
Your brother is an entrepreneur, a businessman, who makes and sells something people want. Like it or not, it's his job to figure out how to get people to pay for it in the market.
Stepping aside from your brother and my friend - I am interested in solving the larger issue of internet piracy. Anecdotes of struggling artists are sad, but not helpful.
Ok, in arguendo, let's say you're right, and that illegal downloading is stealing. Now what? What next? How is calling it "stealing" helpful? What does it accomplish? Your brother's music is still being downloaded illegally, even when we call it "stealing." The RIAA and MPAA tried very hard to go after these downloaders in the same way that shopkeepers can go after shoplifters, how did that work out for the music and movie industry? It wrecked consumer trust, got a ton of negative publicity, and barely put a dent in illegal downloading.
How about we try something else for once? Letting go of the stupid "stealing" analogy is step one. Let's instead talk about why people choose to illegally download, and let's brainstorm ideas of how businesses (such as your brother's music business) or the industry as a whole can get these folks to voluntarily pay.
Thanks for that. I'm married to a lawyer, so should know better than to simplify it like I did. So, looking at this I wonder where the run of the mill torrenter comes in. Say, if you download a movie for your own viewing pleasure and stop torrenting when the download is completed, does (B) apply? Depends on the popularity of the torrent I guess. In some cases you might have distributed a fragment thousands of times, but not the complete thing. Interesting how this would work in court. Are there any precedents of torrent users rather than the large sites such as piratebay or the others?
I would love to see the business case behind decisions like this as well as a study on the payoff. Seems like a big number for two weeks, are people actually going to subscribe or purchase through Apple Music or simply just wait two weeks to use their preferred provider? I wonder if these choices are no-brainers that payoff quickly or if its a marketing cost that may or may not provide that value back to the company.
One could argue that a copy of a movie not yet out on DVD is worth tens of thousands or millions of dollars, and that by downloading that a torrenter meets section B. However, I have not ever seen cases like that when I researched it.
Most cases that fall under B are actually bodegas that rent illegal VHS/DVD copies to the local neighborhood, or those foldable table pirated CD/DVD sales guys that appear and disappear on the street corner or in the subway.
Mostly, casual torrenting does not fall under the criminal statute. Torrenters can certainly be sued in civil court, and have been many times, but it's not a criminal matter.
One can argue that the government shouldn't waste time acting as the security guard against petty small incidents, that is the company's job, and these huge companies can certainly afford to enforce those rights themselves. The analogy given often is that police don't typically bother with small-time petty theft in stores, rather the stores themselves have to pay offduty cops or private security firms to handle that for them; or they regularly donate to the local police department in order to actually get a cop to show up every time they call in a kid shoplifting some candy.
One can also argue that it's in the interest of a civil society that all offenses, no matter how small, are addressed and enforced by the police. Often broken window theory is discussed. If the police go after every illegal download, eventually there won't be any reason for leakers to even post stuff online to illegally download.
Personally I disagree with both those views. I see this as an economic problem of incentives. I do think it is the content owners' decision to put their content out there, and thus it is their responsibility to manage the risk. The government's role is to facilitate that, but it is always prefered to reward the good actors rather than punish the bad actors.
To give you an example: I don't feel bad when a company like Viacomm pulls their content from streaming services and makes it available only to cable subscribers and behind loads and loads of commercials. Sorry, if people pirate that, Viacomm's backwards system of incentives are to blame. On the flip side, if something is generally available and pirating is not the easiest way to get it, where the only barrier is cost, then I believe the vast majority of folks will do the right thing and pay for it.
I have to disagree. People need to realise that they hurt somebody when they steal. No matter if they steal in a Walmart or in moms convenience store. Naming the act of pirating stealing is going to make people aware of the problem they cause some day. Raise your children by telling then pirating is as bad as stealing in a grocery store. Give your colleague the bad look when he tells you he got that movie or that album from a torrent site. Raise the awareness.
People tend to behave badly if they don't fear any consequences and don't see what mess they cause. They may not fear to get caught or they think stealing from Wallmart is no big deal because Wallmart is calculating a percentage of its goods to be stolen or broken anyway. Stealing from an old lady in a convenience store with cameras pointing towards the doors may be different for most of the people. They know the old lady will be hurt by the missing goods and there is a chance they may get caught on tape.
Translate this to the music business. People pirate songs of artists that they think make too much money anyway or they take if from the greedy labels and they know they will never ever get caught. Now if the people realise that there is a risk of getting caught and being sued and if they realise that what they do hurts real people then less people will do it.
There are 3 major things you can do to prevent the majority of the people from pirating:
1. Make them aware they do a bad thing. Tell them they get bad karma. Show them they hurt real people. Call it what it is - stealing.
2. Make them aware that what they do will have consequences. Sue so many people until everybody knows someone in his school, his street, his family or his company who got caught and had to repay a few hundred $.
3. Offer an alternative to pirating. An easy and affordable way to listen to music. Like streaming for a handful of $ or convenient online music purchasing.
Stop downplaying pirating because its not a physical medium.
Your proposed strategy was tried for over two decades and has completely failed. Everyone has known that pirating is "bad" since the early 1980s when those FBI warning screens were put on every VHS movie. Public shaming doesn't work for acts that happen entirely in private. Shame your colleagues for talking about torrenting will just cause them to lie to you, not to stop torrenting. Fineing and suing fans into oblivion will just causes resentment and spite from other fans, history shows this well.
The only point of yours that I agree with number 3, which suggests an easy and affordable way to listen to music. This has to do with barriers. If the legal way is easier than the illegal way, people will choose the legal way more often.
I think you have a fundamental misunderstanding of why people pirate music/movies/software. It's not because they don't fear consequence, it's not because they don't literally see the harm they are causing, and it's not because of some wild justifications about rich celebrity artists. People pirate primarily because it's easier than the legal options.
The reason calling it stealing is bad is because it leads you to search for solutions in the wrong places. Framing it as an economic incentives issue allows you to explore other solutions, such as your point 3 which is entirely economics-based.
I believe that calling it stealing is downplaying pirating. It is putting the problem (internet piracy) into a box where it doesn't fit (theft law). I am trying to expand the issue, open it up for more productive discussions.
I've decided to convert and archive all of my (quite large) physical music collection in lossless files (ALAC), put it on HDD, make a few back-up copies and save some room on the shelves.
About 80% of all "my" records will go to public libraries as a donation.
It's amusing to find out how it's easy and fast to download by torrent complete discographies (usually in FLAC format). Surely faster than physically insert, rip and catalogue every single CD I own. Is it correct? I don't know. Fair? I don't know. Illegal? I don't know. Practical and effective? Yes for sure.
I've paid through the years a considerable amount of money to record companies, now I'm taking something back (the personal time I'm saving is priceless for me)
Yep. it's pretty silly how they make it so impossibly hard to shift mediums.
Not discouraging you, but I think technically ripping your CDs and then donating them would be copyright infringement. The DMCA is not super clear, but making a personal backup copy is permitted. However, making a copy for second use is not permitted. (e.g., making a copy to store in case the original breaks is allowed. making a copy to keep one in the car and one in the office is not allowed.) What you are describing is making a copy for a second use, I think.
I think services like Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, Pandora, Tidal, Amazon Music, etc. have done a lot to make access to music as easy as can be, and thus have actually turned a lot of would-be-pirated into paying customers. That said, the fact it took the industry almost 20 years after Napster to realize free-form internet distribution was the way to go forward is sad. Still waiting for the movie and tv industries to figure it out...
Very easy for them. They took my money for LP's, next for CD's, next for Extended CD's, next for "Legacy Edition" CD's, and now I'm trying to figure out how is it possible I don't "own" a single track in my house, only have a license for listening to. Just to describe my "feeling" about all of this.
That's a simple point I haven't thought about. Will keep your advice for a deeper reasoning later on. Thank you. I lve in Italy and have to check how rules work here,
Arrogant management wearing nice suits only sensible to one thing: dollars coming in. Less money->over-reaction->lesser money->a solution