Bill Patry has another must-read, where he’s analysed a submission of the ‘Music Business Group’ in the UK opposing the introduction of a personal format-shifting exception not unlike the one we introduced in Australia in 2006.

You really must go and read Bill’s post, but one thing that really struck me was the summarised argument by the MBG:

1. Unquestionably, there is value produced by the ability to format shift for both consumers and commercial enterprises which directly arises from the transferability of music
2. It is imperative that creators and performers should benefit from this value; ultimately it is their creativity which underpins the entire value chain
3. The only solution which achieves this goal is a flexible and market-led approach based upon a business-to-business relationship.
(page 3).

So here’s what I don’t understand about this argument. Since when did everyone get paid for the ‘value chain’ that rests on their creativity? Academic and textbook writers don’t, obviously – so maybe I’m a bit biased here. But what about farmers? Do they get a cut of every value chain that rests on their productivity? Or if that’s too tangible for you, how about management consultants, who make businesses more profitable – don’t they get paid, rather than a ‘cut’ of any added profits in the business? We could multiply examples here.

Maybe part of the problem is the royalty-based/future revenues-based business model. It’s popular in the creative arts (see Richard Caves, or Richard Watt, or Ruth Towse, who’ve all examined the economics of creative industries). But are there no alternatives…?