The Trouble with Music
Music is a central part of many of the stories in The Pirateâ€™s Dilemma, so naturally I tend to talk about music a lot in my keynotes. It would be great to use some of the music I mention in my talks, but there is no legal way for me to do this. I would happily pay for this privilege, but it is impossible. I checked with someone I know at ASCAP, I asked my speaking agency â€“ same answer. There is simply no way for this to happen legally.
However if I do decide to use a few snippets of music anyway, there is a huge legal machine that could come after me. Some large organizations make you sign a contract indemnifying them for up to $1m in damages, just in case you do use something you werenâ€™t supposed to. Youâ€™re not given an opportunity to pay to use music, but if you do it anyway, itâ€™s possible youâ€™ll pay dearly.
And herein lays the problem with the music business. There canâ€™t be much money in royalties earned from people using music clips in PowerPoint presentations, but there is some. There are a million other ways people use music that the music business would never consider as revenue streams, because they are tiny. But if you use music anyway when legally youâ€™re not supposed to, which all of us do, apparently itâ€™s not too much trouble to punish you.
The future of digital media is not one large revenue stream. Lawsuits cannot control the flow of digital information. People are going to use your stuff anyway. The only thing you can do is give them the option to pay for it.