So Janis Ian has done a short follow up article to her original piece on the music industry and file downloading. In it she offers some solutions to the problem, including one where the labels set up a site offering all their back catalogue for download at a cheap (read reasonable) price.
Unfortunately her piece ignores one huge problem, namely that of removing all the international legal red tape that the record industry has been installing across the world over the past 60 plus years. By that I mean the massively complex matrix of publisher, mechanical, and performance rights allocated to different territories in order to juggle international earnings, royalties and tax obligations – and that’s per label.
Multiply it by all the labels and publishing houses etc and you have an absolutely nightmarish scenario, and one which is probably not soluble without dismantling the whole system. Not to mention the legal issue of anti-trust collusion should the labels ever agree to this kind of proposal. Still, any discussion is better than none I suppose.