[cc-community] [cc-licenses] Case study: Magnatune

Louis M louism3 at gmail.com
Wed Nov 23 14:24:33 EST 2005

I think that it is normal for Magnatune, as a business, to encourage people
to pay for the music. However, as far as I understand it, it is in conflict
with the CC license. Magnatune is better for musicians and listeners than
other companies, but there is a contradiction in trying to sell music under
the CC license. The fact is that most people only want to listen to music
for their personal use, and that, as mentioned in the links rob posted, CC
was created in the first place to eliminate the need for approval by music
companies. If Magnatune starts to put voice tags on music and we have to ask
permission for the free use of the CC licensed music, where does it end? I
think it is impossible for a company to make money on CC licensed music in a
way that reflects the Commons idea. To be viable, Magnatune will have to put
more and more incentives for people to buy the music. The only way I see for
musicians to distribute their CC licensed music is to put direct and perfect
quality downloads available (torrents for example) and ask for a voluntary
contribution. Of course if there is no further incentive to pay for the
music, there is a danger that musicians, or Magnatune, won't get much money.
But putting obstacles, even if they are small, to the free sharing and
distribution of CC licensed music is against the CC idea. You cannot make
money on the distribution of music whose license specifies that the
distribution must be free. I think it is a problem the CC license has to
face: even with the non-commercial license, musicians won't make a lot of
money if the work is freely distributed as it should under such a license.


I do not have deep knowledge of the matter, correct me if I'm wrong!

2005/11/23, Matt Lee <matt at cnuk.org>:

> On 23/11/05, rob at robmyers.org <rob at robmyers.org> wrote:
> > Magnatune seem to be implementing a nagware policy:
> >
> > http://rss.slashdot.org/Newsforge/newsforgeNewsforge?m=91
> >
> > They also seem to have misunderstood both Lessig and Stallman:
> >
> > http://business.newsforge.com/comments.pl?sid=51682&cid=120141
> >
> > If people want copyleft music I recommend http://www.locarecords.com/ or
> > http://www.opsound.org/ .
> Rob,
> My take on this:-
> * Bandwidth costs money, and Magnatune is a business - if they're
> losing money on people streaming their music, and want to try a new
> way of encouraging people to pay for music that gives a lot more in
> the way of usage rights than conventional music sales.
> * There's nothing stopping anyone from stripping the voice tag off.
> * They're now offering perfect quality, gratis, under CC licenses, you
> just have to request the recording from them... they'll give you a
> special credit card number you can use in future.
> In short - they're offering MORE than they did before, with a small
> tag identifying the track for a bunch of media players that don't
> display it, and to try and reclaim a little money from their streaming
> bill.
> Maybe they need to do torrents, but it lowers the bar of entry to all
> users.
> matt
> --
> Matt Lee
> CNUK Media Foundation
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