[cc-licenses] After Disney or: Help Robot George Get A Life

Terry Hancock hancock at anansispaceworks.com
Thu Aug 10 16:15:41 EDT 2006

Mike Linksvayer wrote:
>  On Thu, 2006-08-10 at 11:32 +0100, Lars Porsena wrote:
> > It's a pity Magnatune is obviously wildly unsuccessful: do we draw
> > any conclusions here?
>  What makes you think Magnatune is "wildly unsuccessful"? It is still
>  a small business (four full time employees I think) but they're doing
>  lots of commercial licensing. John Buckman (Magnatune founder) spoke
>  at last night's CC Salon in San Francisco gave lots of examples of
>  indie films, advertising, background music, video games, etc., buying
>  private licenses from Magnatune.

It's also worth pointing out that -- at least from the artists' PoV --
the bar is lower for Magnatune. I don't know what royalties are like
on a standard record contract, but I'm sure they aren't more than
5% on a typical record.  That means a big studio must sell 10 X more
discs to make the same profit for the artist.

I believe it's actually much worse that in practice, because artists
are expected to cover certain kinds of expenses before they see
any money, they are precluded from making certain kinds of contracts,
and the royalty is probably off of the profit, rather than the gross.

In short, Magnatune's deal is so much better than the artist, that even
a tiny amount of niche sales is much more lucrative to the artist
than a modest success in the conventional industry.  That's the
miracle of lightweight distribution that the internet and CC
licensing makes feasible.

I may have problems with NC licenses on principle, but I have no
doubt that they work to make money.


Terry Hancock (hancock at AnansiSpaceworks.com)
Anansi Spaceworks http://www.AnansiSpaceworks.com

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