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The Evolution of Music Policy and Technology | Casey Rae | Music Business | Berklee Online

The Evolution of Music Policy and Technology | Casey Rae | Music Business | Berklee Online


(Piano music) – Music and technology
have been integrated for an awful long time. Going all the way back
to the player piano. You know those pianos
in the old time movies that played themselves and have the roll of pre-punched music on them. I mean that was a very
early form of technology that the music industry had to
figure out how to deal with. Likewise, broadcast radio, which I call the first
disruptive technology with scale. Think about it; when the Victrola
record player came along, people could suddenly put
on a record, drop the needle and hear the songs of the day. But of course, you could only
hear that in your living room. What radio did was allow that needle drop to broadcast to an entire town. On a clear day, maybe two whole towns. The music industry had to figure out how to respond to that technology. The internet, of course, subsumes all of those prior technologies. We can talk on the phone via the internet. We can video conference via the internet. We can watch movies via the internet and we can access music
pretty much any time, anywhere on the planet, via the internet. So how does the music industry respond to that type of technological evolution? Well, recent history would say, not well. However, it does appear that
the recorded music industry is discovering the
potential of online access and distribution. Of course, the laws might
not be completely optimized to this new reality. Pretty much everyone
that you would speak to, no matter what side you’re talking about, would agree on one fundamental thing. If we were to start
over today from scratch, the laws and policies that govern the music industry would not
look like what we have now. And that is simply because
they were devised at a time when the internet didn’t exist. The last major update to the entirety of US copyright law happened in 1976. That was back when eight track
cassette players represented the cutting edge of playback technology. And nowadays, we have
computers in our pockets. We have network
photocopiers in our pockets. So this requires an entirely
different policy mindset.

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