Selling Songs for a Song; Record Labels Want a Bigger Cut of Digital Music Profits

By Roberts, Johnnie L. | Newsweek, October 17, 2005 | Go to article overview

Selling Songs for a Song; Record Labels Want a Bigger Cut of Digital Music Profits


Roberts, Johnnie L., Newsweek


Byline: Johnnie L. Roberts

The music industry is filled with creative types, and many seem to be wearing suits these days. Consider the latest idea from the business suite at Warner Music Group, which is rummaging like the rest of the industry for new sources of revenue: when search engines like Google formally launch their new video-search sites, Warner Music wants a cut of the cash the sites would reap from selling ads next to search results. So if you type in "Madonna"--a Warner act--at the Google Video site (now in its test phase), and the results are accompanied by ads, Warner wants a share of those ad dollars as well as payment for any Madonna videos that are streamed or sold, according to a senior Warner insider who wasn't authorized to speak on the record, adding that the label has approached Google about the idea. Warner Music declined official comment. A Google spokesman wouldn't comment on any talks with record labels, but did say the company believes music companies should profit from their content. Generally, "that's what we are working on," the spokesman said. "We are in the early stages now."

Who can blame music execs for wanting to play offense? The era of digital downloads has upended the industry's business model, and the labels are scrambling as others answer a basic question: what's the value of a song, video or even an artist's name in the age of broadband? It's a matter of heated debate. Last week Microsoft ended talks with music companies, reportedly over what it would pay them in royalties to offer an Internet music subscription service. Universal Music Group has clashed with Yahoo over compensation for videos. A war of words has erupted even between labels and Steve Jobs over whether 99 cents is too cheap for the most popular songs.

The industry doesn't want to repeat a history of undervaluing itself. In the days when its business plan was simply to promote and peddle music, it footed the bill for producing videos, and initially was only too happy to give them to MTV to help build buzz. For the Viacom-owned network, the videos drew huge audiences, building MTV into a multibillion-dollar asset. "We watched people make fortunes and create valuable assets off of our music," says a former top exec who feared risking his role, if he were identified by name, as an industry consultant.

The industry considers Steve Jobs the latest incarnation of this problem. He used songs to sell iPods, and Apple's iTunes site now sells 80 percent of all downloaded songs. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Selling Songs for a Song; Record Labels Want a Bigger Cut of Digital Music Profits
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.