Friday, March 4, 2011

MicroCaps.info Special Release: International Music Copyright Piracy Sparks a Need for Global Innovative Solutions PART 2

Continued from last week, part 2 of 2.......

International Music Copyright Piracy Sparks a Need for Global Innovative Solutions PART 2

by: Jarrett K. Rumoro


PART III: Innovative Ways to Speedily Increase the Music Industry’s Economic Sustainability and Viability

This section assumes, then, that the current international illegal piracy still continues, however in a more limited sense as international laws become applied and enforced accordingly. But the proposed solutions are viable and sustainable ways to help counter whatever sales are lost and thus assist in replenishing the music industry with new revenue to supplement a struggling broken bones music industry economy.

A. Check-In, Download, and Unwind?
Even with the current global economic crisis, recent statistics demonstrate that international tourism may have returned to its pre-crisis levels.[i] From January to August of 2010, the number of international tourists was more than those of the same period in 2008, before the economic crisis took hold.[ii] As more people are currently traveling around the world in 2010, the hospitality industry can generally expect to find their resources in much higher demand than was the case in 2009.[iii] More international travel means more hotel reservations, and more hotel reservations mean more hotel profits.


Much is made about the link between music and customer habits in regards to the hotel industry.[iv] Studies have shown that almost three quarters of hotel guests like to hear music in the lobbies, bars, restaurants, and public areas.[v] Also, research has estimated that more than a third of customers are willing to pay 5% more for products and services from businesses that play music.[vi] What this means in terms of economics is monumental: music adds value to potential profits on products and services.


It is no secret that music can make an environment more accommodating and pleasurable.[vii] In fact, some Australian hotels already legally provide compilations of CDs that guests can buy and listen to for relaxation, or accommodation purposes.[viii] Hotels are following a trend of studies that show people who listen to music in hotels do so because the music gives them a more relaxing and uplifting experience.[ix] On this note, nevertheless, it is only fair to ask: How does any of this information correlate with helping the economy of the music industry?


Since hotels have an interest in providing music in their facilities, my proposal is that music copyright holders lease the rights to use their content to hotels that would pay royalties to have the songs cached on a network list so guests could legally re-lease the music in their rooms. The idea is simple: each guest room could provide the inhabitant, for the duration of his stay, with their own individual legally leased musical atmosphere; in-room speakers could connect to a device that the hotel could activate and immediately download legally leased music.


Moreover, the hotel could set up a wireless network which the paying guest would have access to via a key password so that guest could listen to songs from a cached list which the hotel has legally accumulated and sorted into by genre. For the duration of the guest’s stay, the key would unlock the artist’s music and/or genre of music that the guest would indicate to the concierge during the transaction. This would allow the guest to have considerable freedom to create his own musically pleasant environment, but also be a legal method of listening to copyrighted music.

B. Did You Say “WaterVerse™”?

In the recent past, water bottle sales have increased dramatically.[x] In fact, international consumption of bottled water more than doubled between 1997 and 2005, and thus the commodity is globally recognized as the world’s fastest growing commercial beverage.[xi] As recent as 2008, the Global Industry Guide forecasted the bottled water industry to have a market value of $86,421 million by the year 2011, which is an astounding 41.8% increase since 2006.[xii] Additionally, in 2005, the United States alone realized $10 billion in revenue.[xiii]

Although Europe is the leading region in bottled water sales,[xiv] the United States is the country leading consumption of bottled water.[xv] Across the Pacific Ocean, Chinese consumers more than doubled their consumption between 2000 and 2005, and also have a viable bottled water market.[xvi]


All these facts illustrate the viability and sustainability of the current bottled water market economy. But, this only begs the question: How does any of this information correlate with helping the economy of the music industry?


I suggest that music copyright holders negotiate and form contractual relations with bottled water companies to work out an agreement to mutually profit from a win-win legal partnership. One entity (artists) provides the content, the other (water bottling industry) a medium for reaching consumers. Copyrighted music generally has copyrighted lyrics that accompany it.[xvii] And water bottles generally have labels with space available for written content;[xviii] my proposal in this instance is that copyrighted song lyrics be legally printed and fore-fronted on water bottle labels under an intriguing brand name, such as “WaterVerse™.” [xix] The result of some legal harmony between a content provider (copyright holder) and a new medium (water labels) would provide consumers with a new product which promotes music in a legal and creative fashion.


When consumers buy bottled water with a moving song lyric from a music artist, they will become interested in the artist who wrote the verse, and will also have legally paid for the content assuming the proceeds of the sale are partly distributed to the artist.[xx]
Companies in the food sector have already partnered with musicians who write moving lyrics to promote their brand and pay top dollar for rights to cross-brand.[xxi] It can serve as a viable way to legally supplement two separate economies.[xxii] Hence, I suggest music copyright holders of lyrical content find a new innovative legal medium (bottles water labels) to reach the consumers.


One major countervailing market concern and contention with this proposed solution, is the fact that bottled water is not as environmentally friendly as compared with tap water.[xxiii] The Worldwatch Institute reported in 2007, that over 2 million tons of the bottles are sent to landfills each year, and this has become a growing international concern.[xxiv] This concern has been echoed by restaurant owners, cities, natural food store owners, and even certain schools who have decided to buy only tap water for environmental reasons.[xxv]

But, as world concern increases surrounding the environmental costs associated with the water bottle industry, so do more environmentally friendly technological innovations.[xxvi] For instance, currently there are companies producing chemical additives which can be mixed with plastic that make it completely biodegradable if buried under the ground.[xxvii] Additionally, the water bottling industry has already implemented new methods of making bottles which contain less plastic than previously sold water bottles.[xxviii] Therefore, the environmental concerns are being addressed, and innovation is counteracting the negative impact associated with the bottled water industry.

PART IV: Conclusion

One of the major problems facing the music industry currently is widespread international illegal piracy of copyrighted materials. At least one of the major goals of offering copyright protections is to give musicians an economic incentive to create music that benefits society at large. But, no matter how keen the governing eye, and no matter how sweeping the legislative enactment or judicial case law, individuals are still infringing on copyrighted music; the music industry is feeling such negative effects.

The solutions offered by this comment are innovative new mediums through which copyrighted materials can be legally offered to consumers. In each proposed solution, the copyrighted music content that already exists needs not change its form, but merely alter its application to create new avenues to reach the consumer.

Songwriters can use the same copyrighted content to impress consumers but apply it on bottled water labels; “WaterVerse™” is a natural fit for songwriters because quality verse and lyric in song has similarities with purified bottled water: both are flowing, clear, and profound. Proceeds from the bottled water sales could go, in part, to the copyright holders of the lyrical content. With each bottle sold, a royalty would be paid to the copyright holder, and thus could economically supplement their pocketbooks.

Also, copyrighted music can add significant value to an existing product or service. The hospitality industry is one strong niche which recognizes the harmony between song, sentiment, and environment. Hotels try and offer the most accommodating and enjoyable experience for guests and music is one way to assure customer satisfaction. Under my proposal, each guest would be able to check-in, and for a small fee, create his own musical environment in his or her room via connecting to a cached list of the hotel’s legally licensed songs. If the music industry could show their hospitality counterparts exactly how music can impact their sales, then music copyright holders can lease their content to hotels, and in turn to guests, for win-win-win legal partnerships.

THE END


[i] International Tourist Arrivals Back at Pre‑Crisis Peak Level, Hotel News Resource (Nov. 09, 2010), http://www.hotelnewsresource.com/article50009International_Tourist_Arrivals_Back_At_Pre_Crisis_Peak_Level.html, (last visited Dec. 15, 2010).

[ii] Id.

[iii] Id.

[iv] See generally What can music do for you?, Music Works For You, http://www.musicworksforyou.com/the-value-of-music.html , (last visited Nov. 09, 2010). (providing statistics which demonstrate exactly why people who said they enjoyed listening to music at hotels made that statement, and outlining how a hotel can add value to its services by incorporating a musical touch to its environment.).

[v] Id.

[vi] Id.

[vii] Id. See also APPLE ITUNES, http://www.apple.com/itunes/, (last visited Nov. 5, 2010). ITunes has over 13 million individual songs which can legally be downloaded for process between 69 cents and one dollar plus change.
[viii] See e.g., Music Lounge, Vibe Hotels Australia, http://www.vibehotels.com.au/default.asp?page=/music-lounge , (providing guests with an option to buy three different CDs which can accommodate them in terms of relaxation, and energy replenishing once a guest has checked into the hotel.).

[ix] Id.

[x] Bottled Water Pricey in More Ways than One, Press Room News, WORLDWATCH.ORG, http://www.worldwatch.org/node/5063 (last visited Oct. 29, 2010). The article outlines how the market for bottled water has been increasingly good for the industry’s economy, but equally bad for the environment. The article manifests concern for the amounts of energy needed to produce the bottles and shipping, and how it threatens the local environments with the landfills. It explains how bottled water is made out of PET (or polyethylene terephthalate) and how these bottles end up in landfills year after year and damage the ecosystems.

[xi] Id.

[xii] Bottled Water ‑ Global Industry Guide, COMPANIESANDMARKETS.COM, http://www.companiesandmarkets.com/Summary‑Market‑Report/bottled‑water‑global‑industry‑guide‑44377.asp (last visited Oct. 31, 2010). The website contains facts accumulated by the Global Industry Guide which was produced in February, 2008. The Guide can be purchased for a significant amount of money (over $2,000 USD) but contains sophisticated data and analysis within the bottled water industry. It covers “detailed data on market size and segmentation, textual analysis of the key trends and competitive landscape, and profiles of the leading companies.” Id. For instance, the Guide describes how the differences in the bottled water market. According to the Guide, the market is valued according to retail selling price (RSP) and includes any applicable taxes. Furthermore, the Guide gives expert analysis on the global, regional, and national markets. Significantly, the website notes how the bottled water market grew by 7% in 2006, reaching a total volume of near 115,000 million liters. The website highlights that the unflavored bottled water, as opposed to flavored, is still the largest segment in the market, with above 60% of the share. The largest company, at the time of the publication, was Nestle S.A. which had close to 24% of the market share.

[xiii] See supra note 56 and accompanying text.

[xiv] See supra note 58 and accompanying text.

[xv] Ben Block, Bottled Water Demand May Be Declining, WORLDWATCH.ORG, http://www.worldwatch.org/node/5878 (last visited Nov. 01, 2010).
[xvi] See supra note 56 and accompabying text.

[xvii] Music Lyrics, ELYRICSWORLD.COM, (last visited Oct. 20, 2010).
[xviii] See generally, The Eco-Shape® Bottle, Ice Mountain® Natural Spring Water, http://www.icemountainwater.com/DoingOurPart/EcoShapeBottle.aspx (last visited Nov. 08, 2010).
[xix] “WaterVerse™” is a brand name I created to express the idea of marrying water and music copyrighted content. It was created by pure imagination and lexicography, but serves as an interesting testament to the numerous ways bottled water could brand name a certain type of product that fore-fronted captivating lyrical content on its labels. The concept is thus illustrated in the English language through “WaterVerse™,” but the idea can be internationally applied as Spanish songwriters could be on water bottle labels sold in Spanish speaking countries and so on.
[xx] In this statement I assume that the water bottling company is paying the copyright holder royalties per bottle of water sold. For instance, if for every bottle sold, one penny USD of the proceeds goes to the copyright holder, then each time the consumer makes a purchase they are legally paying for the lyrical content. And, I also assume that the label would state who the artist is who wrote the verse. The label would then cause the curious and impressed consumer to trying and locate the songwriter and song, which could lead to the consumer eventually buying the song via I-Tunes, or perhaps even going to see the artist perform the song in concert. Both of these benefits would stem from the labels, and would also supplement the economy of the artist and the music industry more generally.
[xxi] Bryan Eggers, McDonald's Teams With Justin Timberlake, Junk Food News (2003), http://www.junkfoodnews.net/Mcdonalds-justintimberlake.htm . (describing a 2003 partnership agreement between Justin Timberlake and McDonald’s where the singer would be involved in around 100 commercials to sing the “I’m lovin’ it” slogan. Larry Light, McDonald's Executive Vice President and Global Chief Marketing Officer, said, "As one of music's hottest young stars, Justin Timberlake is absolutely connected to today's consumer attitudes and trends. His cultural relevance is right in tune with McDonald's new direction...Justin Timberlake is perfect for the McDonald's brand and our 'I'm Lovin' It' campaign, which is all about connecting with our customers in fresh, modern, relevant ways.").
[xxii] Id. See also IPod® Compatibility in Your Audi, Audi of America, http://www.audiusa.com/us/brand/en/exp/innovation.html#source=http://www.audiusa.com/us/brand/en/exp/innovation/audi_music_interface.html&container=page. (explaining how the new Audi cars have Ipod compatible devices in the cars which allow consumers to plug in and listen to all their tracks from a press of a button on the steering wheel.).
[xxiii] See supra note 56 and accompanying text.

[xxiv] Id.

[xxv] Id.

[xxvi] See generally Coca-Cola Enterprises 2007 Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Report, pg. 35 (2007), http://www.cokecce.com/assets/uploaded_files/2007_CRSReport.pdf. (outlining how the increased consumer awareness of harmful effects of bottled water packaging and transportation influenced Coke, in 2007, to decrease the amount of packaging they use in 12-ounce and 20-ounce bottles by 30%, which saves an annual 8,950 metric tons of PET plastic).
[xxvii] See Eco-Pure, Bio-tec Environmental, http://www.ecopure.biz/ (last visited Nov. 04, 2010). Bio-tec Environmental is a New Mexico company who makes a chemical additive which changes the molecular compound when added to plastic which allow the micro-organisms (bacteria, fungi, etc.) in the ground to break down the plastic once it is buried underneath the soil. The company provides a viable biodegradable plastic additive, one that can be used in many applications, and aids the environment in an effective way.
[xxviii] See supra note 72 and accompanying text.

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