This is the third of my series of posts about my views on the current state of the music industry.
Whack-A-Mole. There's a huge gap between the supply-obsessed Music Oligarchs and the demand-obsessed Super Disrupters. Like an infant’s Whack-A-Mole Toy, the Super Disrupters pop up, the Music Oligarchs hammer them down, only to find them popping up in greater and greater numbers. This is counter-productive.
"Imeem itself directly engages in much of the infringing conduct by duplicating, adapting, distributing and performing Plaintiff's works through imeem's own servers"
It will be interesting to see if Warner's allegation that the distribution is occurring through imeem's servers will stick. Does imeem actually host illegal files on its computers? Or is creating a cached copy of each playlist on its servers in order to provide better user experience?
P2P is old school. The new generation of music Super Disrupters are obsessively focused on creating user experience that the Music Oligarchs are not delivering. Since the Music Oligarchs have not made it possible for these Super Disrupters to license their catalogs, the Super Disrupters have made the insight that music in the cloud can serve as a virtual library. Why license music if you can simply to link to content hosted on other sites and not deal with the issues of provenance? It certainly doesn't address the issues raised by the Grokster case, but there is an argument to be made that the music Super Disrupters do not have full liability for any illegal source files not hosted by them.
P2P Aggregators like Hype Machine, Critical Metrics, Seeqpod, and Project Playlist may well be next in line to be whacked, but wholesale annihilation of these companies would represent a lost opportunity for the Music Oligarchs. There is an accommodation to be reached that can benefit both sides.
Another prediction: the Music Oligarchs and the P2P Aggregators will eventually find a middle ground. Data aggregation will be the key.