Pandora.com is a great music site that lets you listen to music for free, like millions of radio stations around the world. What's great about Pandora, however, is that the music it plays is unique for each person, based on the artists and songs that you tell it you like.
Owing to the laser focus of the music you can enjoy, you are far more likely to find new music that you want to own listening to Pandora than listening to anything far more generic (although see my original counter-assumptions). You can click on any song to find out more information about the artist or to buy the music.
Pandora pays licensing fees to the various music consortia for this privilege, making up the fees in advertising and cuts of fees when you click through the song to buy the album.
Good for you, good for Pandora, good for the music industries.
Ouborous, The Snake That Swallowed Its Own Tail
Well, the consortia have decided that, owing to declining CD sales (even though music sales are going up, physical CD sales are declining), that they need to make more money from every single play of every song in every format in every possible configuration. They therefore decided to charge Pandora not a flat licensing fee for the music, but to charge for every country that has access to it. Essentially multiplying the licensing fees by 200 times.
Which explains the letter I got from Pandora yesterday:
Today we have some extremely disappointing news to share with you. Due to international licensing constraints, we are deeply, deeply sorry to say that we must begin proactively preventing access to Pandora's streaming service for most countries outside of the U.S.And so on.
... Consequently, on May 3rd, we will begin blocking access to Pandora to listeners from your country. We are very sad to have to do this, but there is no other alternative.
I don't buy very much music, but the music I buy is music that I've heard. I don't buy music that I haven't heard. This is a Catch-22 for the music industry, isn't it? Because they want me to pay for it before I hear it.
Through Pandora, I have bought more music than any other service in my life, and a lot more is still on my wishlist on Amazon awaiting future purchase.
I want to know how much money the music industry will now lose from people like me no longer buying all this music versus how much they expected to make from Pandora. Who won't pay, of course. I have plenty of other forms of entertainment, you know.
Think about it. The music industry would not exist today without radio. Now the music industry wants to kill radio by pretending that the people playing songs on the radio are music consumers, rather than music advertisers. Kill all your advertising. Wow.
Way to go.
Pandora.com is still working for me as I write this, but I assume that the sounds coming through my earphones are the last sounds of a dying industry. A final requiem to Ouborous, the snake that got so big and hungry that it swallowed its own tail until it disappeared.