ホーム >> ICA 10周年 英語版
Our Destination and Role
― ICA's 10th Year in Business ―
2010 Feb 1
10 years to now, 10 years from now・・・
We are celebrating our 10th year in business in February, 2010. The industry in 2010 seems to have gone through changes, exactly as we envisaged in our equity plan of our first year, February, 2000. Internet and network broadbandization has transferred music distribution from that of commodity to data, and the inner workings of the industry yet to surface are also going through major changes.
The market, however, is experiencing an unexpected downturn, so far so that the music industry may be driven to the brink of extinction within a few years. We believe the fate of where the music business is headed lies in the hands of artists and business players in the industry.
As a near-term objective for domestic music business, we’d like to examine what kind of changes the 2011 digital terrestrial broadcasting will bring. Broadcasting will move from the present terrestrial market oligopoly, to an equalization of media values, with easier access to CATV, BS and CS. Possible music promotion tactics would include providing copyrighted works to CATV, BS and CS, and umbrella agreement media applications.
Secondly, how would the copyright management change as a business? The point to consider here is the use of copyrighted works in broadcasting. To increase the business value of copyrighted works today, it is vital for those works to be used on terrestrial broadcasts, and often. Broadcasting stations at present have umbrella agreements with the Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers, and Publishers (JASRAC), and basically air JASRAC-registered works.
Today, a data recognition system of copyright management by song is in the process of being built. Applications with this recognition function have hit the market, and so have integrated processing bodies for copyright information, with the same recognition function, yet built for a totally different purpose. On the other hand, copyright applications for all works aired now, are being executed especially by Tokyo key stations.
There have been instances in the past where JASRAC has been investigated by the Japan Fair Trade Commission, but with the above changes, there would be no further need for umbrella agreements between JASRAC and broadcast stations. The freeing of the broadcasting sphere would lead to liberalization, and finally introduce the long-overdue principle of competition to stimulate the copyright market. Our company’s copyright management would start right before this comes true.
Thirdly, digital rights management, or DRM, is a life-or-death issue for the music industry. Global standards are moving towards the elimination of DRM, and all compact disc (CD) distribution is currently done without DRM. Today, all legitimate recordings upon release turn into masters for unlimited number of illegal duplicates, i.e., the music business is losing its value.
A point of contention here is whether it is possible to re-attach DRM to what-has-become-the-culprit-of-illegal-duplicates, the CD. Releasing CDs with DRM is a major risk for the manufacturer. Outcry by the consumer, the media, and the computer industry would be immediate and may even lead to boycotts against the label. These CDs would not be duplicable onto portable devices through computers, and would only be playable on regular audio. （iPods and other portable devices for compressed media were yet to be widespread when manufacturers first attempted releasing computer-controlled CDs (CCCDs), to consumer outrage.）
This is the bottom line of whether the recording media industry can continue to exist. (In other words, copyright as concept must be managed both systematically and legally to survive as a business.)
We must search our souls whether we can realize DRM on all compatible, cross-cutting listening, i.e., audio, computers and portable devices including cell phones. (i.e., Having a related right-holder incur distribution costs for the other 2 media with royalties from one of the 3 (audio/computer/portable device) media. The government’s standardization of DRM, provoked by social movements. The freeing of oligopolistic DRM (Fair Play, etc.) by such organizations as the Fair Trade Commission, etc..)
Finally, our fourth reflection is a business model hypothesis. Today, when many artists own their own master rights, thus also related rights, what will become of entrusted rights operations as a business? (We imagine the simplification of rights uses will lead to a greater number of users, i.e., greater profits for the right-holder, or the artist.)
From Distribution to Rights Management
The direction we must take as a business is not along the extension of our past dealings, but something completely new.
In other words, we must make the move from our past distribution business of delivery-sites, to one of rights management. Besides promotion (distribution) and A & R functions of rights management, we will provide further values in services for both the right-holders and users alike, through system usability.
Local Affiliates in China (Peking)
Our goal for the year 2010 is to build a foothold, a music business presence, in the Chinese market. As we have mentioned before, the axis of the global market is moving from North America to China. Intellectual property rights are taking shape on the Chinese market horizon. Many of Japan’s copyright business players who, until a year ago, have been cold-shouldering China, are voicing their entry into businesses using 3rd generation cell phones.
Despite many uncertain elements that still exist, we will continue our efforts from last year in cooperation with our partners, in China’s music program broadcasts and related event/merchandising businesses.
For the Artists
An awareness campaign might sound too grandiose, but there needs to be a sharing of consciousness among domestic artists and between various media. Activities and message songs to represent the shared views might be helpful.
We believe global consciousness and commercial flow, and capital flow that follows, are all born from artists and turn into movements involving their fans. We hope and know that if these professional artists from the world over (although monthly CD and delivery royalties are decreasing) could hold a future business vision and at the same time, a shared consciousness, we would be able to paint a brighter future in business. (In the past, Apple’s charismatic co-founder Steve Jobs fought against DRM, to make music more accessible as a tool for selling iPods and Macs. This is proof an idea from a particular domain can turn tides in the industry.)
Today, the recording industry which has flourished for the last hundred years, is said to be seeing its last days or shrinking at a significant rate. The reasons for the decline are as mentioned above, but the saving force, we can’t help but say, does not seem to lie with the heretofore mainstream industry leaders. Their proposals for recovery have not worked and unfortunately will not, in the future as well. In a way, business players like ourselves too, must fathom today’s realities and share a future vision with the artists, acting in sync with them. Our future, or what’s left of it, lies only in the market field we dare share with the artists and other business players in vision, action and consciousness.