The recent announcement that Microsoft would share $1 of revenue for every Zune sold with Universal Music Group—because, according to UMG Chairman and CEO Doug Morris, iPod-like devices are “just repositories for stolen music, and they all know it”—sounds familiar. So I went back and found the precedent for this apparently unprecedented business model: the 2004 CD MAP settlement. This madlibbed version of the Zune revenue-share announcement should clarify the similarities:
In 2004, the music companies, including UMG, agreed to share revenue from CD sales with consumers. Forcing the issue were Attorneys General of 43 states, Commonwealths and Territories. UMG refused to admit to price-fixing but agreed to compensate consumers between $5 and $20 per claimant.
“These companies are just repositories for stolen consumer money, and they all know it,” this consumer says. “So it’s time to get paid for it.”
And after pulling highway robbery via price fixing for six years, these guys call us thieves? As Laurie Anderson would say, “It takes. It takes one. It takes one to. It takes one to know one.”