"When Pigs Fly: The Death of Oink, the Birth of Dissent, and a Brief History of Record Industry Suicide."
This is a very eloquent and succint piece (if a little childish toward the end) by, from what I can gather from the comments, the guy who did a lot of NiN artwork. Treads a lot of ground we're all familiar with but he puts his arguement across really well on an everyman level with a nice air of authority. I like how it's not doom-mongering and as much a frustrated fan, as a demonized consumer. There're a few p2p/napster-like but legal sites about to pop-up but not sure any of them will really work or make sense to a mass audience.
Obviously it's more a polemic-cum-rant classifying the key issues, rather than outlining a solution which will ensure investment in future professional or at least semi-pro' music.
Some key quotes from it, as it's pretty hefty, print-me-for-the-daily-commute type've reading:
"iPods have become synonymous with music - and if I filled my shiny new 160gb iPod up legally, buying each track online at the 99 cents price that the industry has determined, it would cost me about $32,226. How does that make sense? It's the ugly truth the record industry wants to ignore as they struggle to find ways to get people to pay for music in a culture that has already embraced the idea of music being something you collect in large volumes, and trade freely with your friends."
"From personal experience I can tell you that the big labels are beyond clueless in the digital world - their ideas are out-dated, their methods make no sense, and every decision is hampered by miles and miles of legal tape, copyright restrictions, and corporate interests. Trying to innovate with a major label is like trying to teach your Grandmother how to play Halo 3: frustrating and ultimately futile. The easiest example of this is how much of a fight it's been to get record companies to sell MP3s DRM-free. You're trying to explain a new technology to an old guy who made his fortune in the hair metal days. You're trying to tell him that when someone buys a CD, it has no DRM - people can encode it into their computer as DRM-free MP3s within seconds, and send it to all their friends. So why insult the consumer by making them pay the same price for copy-protected MP3s? It doesn't make any sense! It just frustrates people and drives them to piracy! "
Some of the comments beneath it are pretty interesting too.
Solutions? Viva the data transfer/bandwidth tax or audioplayer/iPod tax or the interim first signs of an sponsorship or ad-supported model that works for all involved.