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July 13, 2004
Destroying Some Artists so that Others Might Live
Last week I had two posts on the question of whether labels might periodically remove copyrighted works from subscription services (Content Subscription Shenanigans and No Guarantees with Content Subscriptions). Access may be granted at one point in time and denied at another. I think this is a legitimate concern that should be addressed by those who promote subscription services. I've also come across further evidence of this possible music industry tactic.
An entertainment lawyer familiar with the issues (anonymous by request) has said that labels sometimes find it in their best interest to keep a good portion of their catalog in an inactive status (not available in physical formats). According to this source, label heads have told him that they don't stop selling certain artists not because they don't believe they can sell the music but, rather, they stop selling some artists' work so that they can clear the market for others. In other words, the strategically deny certain artists so that others can live.
I'm not sure why these tactics wouldn't translate over to the subscription-based world.
Bonus: This is the 500th Post on "The Importance Of..." Go, me!
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