Choruss holds itself out as a company that will create “a new business model for digital music.” I agree. Choruss embraces the fact that Peer-to-Peer networks are as vibrant as ever, and that the music industry needs to deal with it.
In the past, record companies tried to control P2P. With new media, any attempts to control file-sharing will go up in smoke as hackers and tech savvy individuals circumvent digital rights management technologies. Choruss acknowledges this. The company aims to monetize the already existing P2P networks by setting up a system to will allow college students – the main users of P2P networks – to download music legally.
Choruss will work with college campuses around the US, so that when college students download music from Lime Wire, Bit-Torrent, etc., the students will not engage in illegal downloading. The non-profit, non-governmental agency aims serve as a digital-rights clearing house that will set a de facto royalty rate for songwriters. Thus, colleges will pay record companies a flat fee and college students can legally download songs from the record companies’ music catalog via P2P networks.
As of now, a good number of major record labels have agreed to work with Choruss, at least on a trial basis. Choruss will negotiate a flat rate that colleges will pay to the record companies, much like performance rights organizations (such as ASCAP, BMI, and SoundExchange). This will allow record labels to worry less about illegal downloads, spend less time sending out Digital Millenium Copyright Act’s take-down notices, and focus less on prosecuting college students for copyright infringement.
The costs that colleges will assume will probably come from fees charged to the students by the schools, and students will be able to use their current P2P software. There will be no additional software for students to download, nor are there any worries over whether colleges have obtained the proper license or whether students are infringing copyrights.
Jim Griffin, founder of Choruss, has been making his rounds, speaking openly about Choruss’ services and addressing skeptics’ concern. There are many skeptics who believe that Choruss will not work or will not solve record companies’ problems. However, it is the only entity to come forward with a logical plan that will crack down on illegal downloading by college students. Even if Choruss is not the best method, or is not problem free, it will at least serve as an intermediary until other services and solutions are created.