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The talk of a broadband music tax is quite old, at least here in Europe.  It goes back to the Fall of 2006.

As I mentioned back then, it also isn’t a new thing.  Many of us already pay something akin to a music tax in the form of a “rights tax” on reproduction media such as blank cassettes and blank CDs.  There isn’t any difference between a blank CD and a blank Flash drive–both store data.

I think the discussion should be about

  • standardising the rules (eg, should all blank media have a rights tax?). [NB: I’m ok if the answer is that there is no rights tax on any blank media]
  • discussing how this tax would go to *artists* (instead of the bureaucratic music companies and opaque rights collecting agencies that keep the money for years and, when they finally distribute the money, have allocation rules that are biased towards “mega acts”).

I want quality music to persist.  I want to pay for it.  I just want it to be fairly priced (eg, how ridiculous is it that a a legal download has the same cost as a physical single) and fairly distributed (eg, to the hands of musicians).

What I don’t like about this debate is that the music labels are leading it.  After all, in their dying days the are surely just trying to protect their interests and not those of the artists, those of the music.

The discussion of a music tax should be used to open the debate on how to build a new music industry, not protect the old one; one where the (smaller) artists have a lot more rights and keep more of the revenues.