Firstly a quick apology for my prolonged absence from this blog: I’ve just returned from paternity leave and the dust is still settling. I’ll get back into the blogging swing of things next week, but in the meantime one thing in particular caught my eye from this week:
The UK music industry failed in its bid to extend the copyright period from 50 years. This isn’t the final chapter in this story (this was only a recommendation to the Government) but it raises some intriguing issues. Record labels insist that they need to be able to exploit their archives in order to be able to fund investment in new artists. Although that is an overly emotive distortion of the argument, the fact remains that back catalogue is becoming more important. Why?
· Firstly we are living longer
· Secondly people are continuing to buy music later in life
· Thirdly, the music industry is getting better at selling back catalogue
· Finally, the Internet has opened up the long tail
But there is a risk that labels become overly focused on generating revenue from the sure things (the Beatles, the Stones etc) and allocate marketing budgets there at the expense of those new (relatively riskier) upcoming artists.
Also, there has been some quite intentional muddying of the water. If things remain as they it does not mean that everyone will be able to buy unsanctioned versions of Beatles albums in 2014. There is of course the composer copyright, that has a much longer period: 70 years after the death of the composer. So even if Sir Paul kicked the bucket tomorrow, we’d still be waiting until 2076…