back to article Jean Michel Jarre: Je voudrais un MUSIC TAX sur VOTRE MOBE

Smartphone owners should pay hundreds of dollars to the music industry, wrinkly French synth twiddler Jean Michel Jarre has said. Without the ability to play music, Jarre argued, the gadget wouldn't be worth as much as it currently is. “We should never forget that in the smartphone, the smart part is us creators,” Jarre told …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Earwig 'O, again

    Think I'll nip over to TPB and acquire his entire discography.

    Then delete it.


    Actually, all I've got of his is 'Oxygene', which was paid for. And I don't have a Smart-phone. But, well, you know...

    1. MrDamage Silver badge

      Re: Earwig 'O, again

      Couldn't agree more.

      I have a a few of his albums on tape, which I was considering replacing with actual store bought CDs in order to put onto my phone. After this brain-fart of his, I might just go to TPB instead. I've paid for them once, was considering paying for them a second time, and now he expects me to pay for them a third time just because I decide to have them on my phone, instead of carrying around a phone, and an out-dated walkman?

  2. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Oh, my!

    Somebody, bring the oxygen - we have a case of severe equinox here!

    "The ethical argument is that it is unfair for smartphone owners who don’t use the device for music to pay the music industry."

    There is a far more important (for me) ethical argument here - it is even more unfair to expect me to pay the music industry for playing music on my phone because I'VE ALREADY PAID THEM to get the music in the first place! Mostly by buying the CDs and, occasionally, MP3s.

    Jean Michel should really shut up and go back to his beloved music industry and shake more money out of them, because the reason why artists are paid so little is that the bunch of well-known intermediaries in the industry steal all their money!

    1. Jim 59

      Re: Oh, my!

      I agree that music creators deserve to get paid fairly for their creations. Unfortunately the internet has never mastered micropayments, and instead Spotify et al follow vague and uninspiring business models that end up short-changing the creators. Mind you, even with CD sales, the original artist or composer, especially with classical music, can sometimes get a pittance (a few pence per CD) due to greedy music societies taking a much bigger big chunk.

    2. Sir Runcible Spoon

      Re: Oh, my!

      If he thinks music on the internet is free and wants to impose a 'gadget' tax, then wouldn't that *actually* make all the music on the internet free*

      *at point of download.

      This is a very strange point of view, because he's also implied that I can download all his music for nowt (since that is his current expectation).

    3. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Oh, my!

      On the other hand, in many countries, like here in Germany, there is already a levy on CDs, external hard drives, DVDs and printers!

      I use my CDs and DVDs for burning backups of my own work and the printer is used for printing documents I've created. Applying for a payout didn't lead anywhere. :-(

      1. Bod

        Re: Oh, my!

        "On the other hand, in many countries, like here in Germany, there is already a levy on CDs, external hard drives, DVDs and printers!"

        I think we would in the UK also, if it wasn't for the fact private copying is actually illegal in the UK full stop and no amount of talk to change it to a fair use law has made any difference.

        Though oddly, CD-R Audio discs were still on sale in the UK complete with a levy in the price and yet still copying was illegal, so why on earth pay a premium for CR-R Audio discs if you are only going to be using them for your own original material? Except those fools who bought the hardware that would only record to them. So basically paying a tax to the studios to make your own music.

    4. Jedit Silver badge

      "Bring the oxygen - we have a case of severe equinox here!"

      More of a revolution over some magnetic fields, if you ask me.

    5. promytius

      Re: Oh, my!

      speaking of oxygen, it's free, it's everywhere, and since Jean breathes, he can pay for everyone's oxygen! Silly? Just as silly as his fantasy.

  3. Velv

    Right, off to Music Magpie to sell my Jean Michel Jarre CDs - he's not charging me multiple times for his music every time I upgrade my hardware.

    What a really, really, really stupid idea.

    1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

      Velv, some say it's a really stupid idea, others say it's French. Jarre’s logic is based on socialist ideology. Rather superimposing a new tax than being innovative.

      1. Mephistro


        Socialist? You sure of that? For me it looks just like the opposite thing. Siphoning money from the public directly into private hands, a fucking TAX going straight into the pockets of those companies and private organizations. And an unjust tax, to boot.

        Sadly, that last part -the unfair tax- is habitually endorsed by most of the political spectrum, Left, Right and Centre.

      2. Ilsa Loving

        You must be teabagger

        Because someone who has their head on straight wouldn't confuse this very clear attempt at get-more-money-at-any-cost attitudes and statements with socialism.

        There is no common good here. This is an already rich guy who wants more more more. If you want to claim any kind of -ism, then capitalism is the one you're looking for.

        1. Swarthy

          Re: You must be teabagger

          Actually, this exchange here explains so much about why a lot of Americans hate "Socialism".

          This kind of thought: "Tax everybody and funnel the funds into the hands of a few to distribute 'rightly'." is endemic to our Democrat party (the Republicans just want to tax everybody, without any pretense of Fairness). Sadly the distribution entity usually forgets the 'rightly', and occasionally forgets the 'distribute'.

          The politicians call this practice Socialism when it goes wrong. They then say that it's evil and we shouldn't do that, and they would never stoop to 'Socialism'. They then kill (or rename) the program that was 'Socialist'... and do it again.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why ?

    Why should I be forced to pay the music industry ANYTHING when all i'm doing

    is making phone-calls and sending/recieving texts ?

    It's the same thing with harddrives and optical media, just because you CAN store music on them

    shouldn't mean I should have to pay anyone just because I MIGHT be...

    And besides... what percentage of those millions do the artists themselves actually get ?

  5. Pete 2 Silver badge

    What's french for "cobblers"?

    > Without the ability to play music, Jarre argued, the gadget wouldn't be worth as much as it currently is.

    I'm on my third smartphone, now. I can safely say that the hassle of carrying around a pair of earbuds, spending time disentangling them any time I want to use them and then squinting at a sunlit screen to try to see what music is on the device long-ago became a chore. I haven't felt the need to have every moment filled with "entertainment" for decades and therefore can say that the musical abilities of a smart (or dumb) phone mean nothing to me.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What's french for "cobblers"?

      "a gadget that doesn’t play music isn’t worth very much. In fact, it might be unsellable"

      I'm in agreement with @Pete 2 - this is utter bollocks. I don't have a single music track stored on my phone, despite its pretty decent credentials (apparently) as an MP3(*) player.

      For portable music, I use an old iPod (2nd Gen) with a decent set of headphones, which I only pack if I know I'm actually likely to get a chance to use them.

      (* The inaccurately named definition of 'digital music player', which can in fact play everything including Ogg-Vorbis)

    2. Ben Bonsall

      Re: What's french for "cobblers"?

      Without The Register, my smartphone wouldn't be worth as much to me as it currently is...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What's french for "cobblers"?

      Hear, hear.

      It would also help if the noise that passes as music today was, in fact, musical.

    4. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Consignment of geriatric shoe menders

      Cobblers is cockney rhyming slang (cobblers' awls), so the equivalent French phrases are:

      C'est de la couillonnade.

      Tu racontes des couilles.

      1. Stevie

        Re: the equivalent French

        Trust the French to never use one word when they can use four.

  6. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Whenever I hear "creator", there is an entitled idiot talking.

    "We should never forget that in the smartphone, the smart part is us creators"

    Frog explosion imminent!!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    "a gadget that doesn’t play music isn’t worth very much" - Cobblers!

    What makes the things useful and worth paying for is the internet connectivity and all that that enables. Without internet then the smart phone is indeed not worth the extra money. Playing music is a very minor feature from my point of view (and from my observation, that of everyone else I know).

    1. DropBear

      Re: "a gadget that doesn’t play music isn’t worth very much" - Cobblers!

      No, not really. I admit that I do at least use the internet on my smartphone for email and browsing occasionally, but only when I'm around Wi-Fi (as opposed to watching or playing anything on it, which I just don't do) - other than that, none the "smart" stuff I'm quite fond of has anything to do with either music or the internet. I do use GPS (with maps stored offline), address book, tasks and calendar (synced with my home PC only), an expense manager (hell no, not one of the "cloud synced" ones), various calculators / unit converters (duh...), sky charts to identify shiny dots in the sky (fully offline app), various terminals / HTPC remotes (on my LAN - wireless, sure, but nothing to do with the internet)... do I really need to go on?

      Oh, and Monsieur Jarre - "smart" in "smartphone" only means that it has an OS that lets you install your own stuff anyway - sort of a meaningless distinction since a "feature phone" that lets you install the right Java apps (if they exist) can potentially do everything a "smart" one can... so shall those start paying too?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "a gadget that doesn’t play music isn’t worth very much" - Cobblers!

        True, there are uses other than internet stuff. In essence a smart phone has most of the functionality that a PC provides, and different people use different features. But for sure, listening to music isn't by any means the primary purpose of them.

  8. Efros

    "The second objection is more practical: levies just don’t raise very much money. Apple sold 51 million iPhones in the last three months of 2013. Even with a levy of £23.60 per iPhone, that would have only realised £200m for labels, publishers and artists. It would make more sense to grow the market for Deezer, Spotify and the other dozens of me-too streaming services."

    Am I being dense, not unusual, but at 23.60 per phone that means in excess of 1.2 billion raised on 51 million iPhones. Personally I'd be annoyed by the levy as I use my phone to text and make phone calls, I like my music to have some fidelity.

    1. Roger Greenwood


      No your maths is correct, but you forgot about the costs of collection/distribution of the levy or "gravytrain" as some call it.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    what a silly chap

    in other news, some people get to travel on the tube free of charge, so let's put a levy on every single person in London whether they use it or not to cover the costs of the free travel (even though others pay) ;-)

    1. Tom 38

      Re: what a silly chap

      Part of the tube is actually funded out of general taxation.

      Personally, in London I think that the regular TFL services (bus, tube) should be free for residents, paid for out of increases in council tax.

      1. DropBear

        Re: what a silly chap

        Hey, don't do that! I misread "regular TFL services (bus, tube)" as "FTL" - faster than light - and my brain promptly crashed right there...

        1. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: Re: what a silly chap

          "TFL FTL" has an entirely different (and more accurate) meaning in my mind...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've got dozens of albums on my phone...

    Every single one paid for, thank-you very much.

  11. Flugal

    So, he's asking smartphone manufacturers to make a payment to musicians for music that is not on their devices, but might, potentially, by some users, be added later on.

    What could possibly be flawed with that?

  12. Anonymous Coward

    How much ?

    And how much money will actually go the the artists themselves ?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Jean Michel Jarre

    one of the least bootlegged artists on the internet complains about artists not getting enough from the punters ... oh well, he's got his name in the papers. Now he can **** off.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    How much ?

    And just how much money will actually go to the artists themselves ?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mr Jar

    I would not pay a penny to listen to _your_ music. That is all.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Yes, very creative. No new album for 7 years and the last one was a remaster, recycling old glories. Alimony fees proving too much for your finances, eh Jean-Michel?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The other thing is if you're paying a blanket "music tax" why would you ever buy music, you've already paid for it. Everything on my devices is either purchased through the store, ripped from my own cds or is foreign music I can't get through digital stores and physical media + shipping + tax would set me back £20 for a single and £50 for an album. So why should western music companies see any more of my money than he money they get for my legal purchases?

    In short, No.

  18. Khaptain Silver badge

    Go away JMJ - Your time is up.

    So after you have bought your music, legally with all the various taxes included, you can then get charged a second time in order to listen to it.

    JMJ - Un petit homme qui doit être classé dans les ranges de gens pathétiques.

  19. tirk

    The Oxygene of publicity...

    JMJ - another struggling musician who's living in poverty due to music piracy.

    1. Simon Harris

      Re: The Oxygene of publicity...

      Damn - I wanted to do that joke! Have an upvote!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Oxygene of publicity...

      There is nothing wrong with older retired artists commenting about the state of the industry. He is at least in the position where he can comment, the musicians who aren't able to make ends meet spend all of their time doing the day job, which is often something shitty that they can leave at the drop of a hat, in order to go on tour or do a gig across the other side of the country.

      Personally, I don't think device taxation is the way forward, but seeing how many musicians live with very little pay and even less if they live on royalties makes me wonder how devalued art has become.

      And: No, doing gigs isn't the answer, contrary to popular belief, it pays very little until you're playing to multiple thousands. The lifestyle is crippling and that's not talking about booze and drugs, it's late nights, long days and long distance travelling all while separated from your family.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The Oxygene of publicity...

        > And: No, doing gigs isn't the answer, contrary to popular belief, it pays very little until you're playing to multiple thousands. The lifestyle is crippling and that's not talking about booze and drugs, it's late nights, long days and long distance travelling all while separated from your family.

        Sorry, gigs are the answer, or at least part. If you're good enough then you can make enough money to live. If you're not, then you can't. That's life.

        I'm a programmer during the day and a musician in my spare time. I would swap those roles at the drop of a hat if I was good enough and committed enough. The reality of working though is you need to do something that you can earn from every day. That's called work, and it pays the bills.

        The professional musicians that I know that do earn enough live fairly comfortably. They perform in various groups and supplement their income by teaching privately. Problem is, when people talk about musicians, they think of the latest flight-by-night rock "sensation". That's not career-making stuff, never was and never will be.

      2. Steve 129

        Re: The Oxygene of publicity...

        So... exactly how much of this JMJ tax do you think YOU would see???

      3. Stevie

        Re: No, doing gigs isn't the answer...

        ...contrary to popular belief, it pays very little until you're playing to multiple thousands

        That's not what I was told when I asked members of Fairport Convention whether playing to small crowds all over America was paying their bills.

      4. Ben Rosenthal

        Re: The Oxygene of publicity...

        making a living is tough for us all.

        if you don't like playing gigs, you could always get a job at a cheese sandwich factory.

    3. DiViDeD

      Re: The Oxygene of publicity...

      Personally, forget about the oxygen of publicity. JMJ should be denied the oxygen of oxygen

  20. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    The problem with generic levies/taxes, is that you don't know who's getting the money. Is the money really going to the niche artist you like (that everyone else hates) or the big-name artists who already have way too much money? Or is it just going to the pockets of the record industry fat-cats?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Absolutely. How much of this goes to The Indelicates? How much to Priscilla Hernandez? How do they choose?

      I remember this going on with the RIAA actually, they were collecting fines from the likes of napster to compensate artists being pirated, then indies got in touch with proof they'd been pirated on napster and asking for their share. You can guess the RIAA's response.

      1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

        Not quite. Damages in LimeWire (not Napster) were collected on behalf of all the labels by IFPI (not the RIAA), but only went to the majors.

  21. qwertyuiop

    Who needs it?

    I'm quite happy to forego the ability to play music on my smartphone. I know I'm weird, but I much prefer my trusty old 160Gb iPod Classic for playing music. It's the only time I've bought a fruity device and only because nobody else makes an MP3 player with that capacity - I currently have 15,000+ tracks on it. Added bonus is that it docks in my car and I can listen to as much music as I want or read/send emails or browse without worrying that I've used up precious battery juice on music.

  22. Psyx


    Rich musician wants less rich people to make him richer.

  23. MCROnline

    I think he's lost it

    I think he should create some more content if he wants/needs more money.

    1. DiViDeD

      Re: I think he's lost it

      If you think JMJ should produce MORE content, then you've obviously never spent a weekend in the company of 2 rabid JMJ fans.

      "..and this is the version he did in 1986. You'll notice that the bass line is a lot more pronounced than the '84 Monserrat version, but still less fluid than the version he played at the Destination Docklands concert. Hold on, there's another 17 different revordings here. Some of them are quite distinct. Where are you..? oh really? that tired? OK, night night. hope the daylight doesn't keep you awake"

      1. JLV

        >.and this is the version he did in 1986.

        ah, rather like Grateful Dead fans, then. aka Deadheads.

        The Dead were ahead of their time wrt to music rights management. In most of their outdoor concerts, you'd find a cordoned-off section reserved for people recording the show. Not some VIP folks, just a section meant to be a bit less rowdy so the recording would be better for the dedicated fans.

        They were millionaires several times over and allowed Jerry Garcia to have more disposable cash than common sense, resulting in his going on to an early grave. The way the Dead made their money was from concerts and fan merchandising, not from obsessing over records sold.

        It may not work for everyone and I don't expect a 65 year old JMJ to globe-trot to make a living. There is admittedly a lot wrong in how artists get paid for their work nowadays. We'll still be struggling with this 10 years from now, I am sure. I have a hard time buying physical CDs or legally acquiring mp3s in Canada and I miss our old record stores, though not their prices.

        But I am pretty sure a blanket tax, giving the more successful artists first snout in the trough, as long as they pay the right lawyers to fill the paperwork to allow them to nuzzle at a bloated collection society's teats is NOT the way to go. It certainly does nothing to help an artist first struggling for recognition and revenue.

  24. Tromos

    Collecting societies

    I wouldn't mind betting that most of the money collected in France stays in France despite the music being mostly listened to derives from outside. A goodly chunk no doubt doesn't make it much further than the collectors themselves.

    1. Eradicate all BB entrants

      Re: Collecting societies

      You would be quids in as you are correct. PRS does the same in the UK. As none of these organisations ever release information on how the money is distributed it would also be safe to assume that 99.9% never sees an artist or writer.

  25. ratfox

    Well, if he isn't happy with how much he's earning…

    Maybe he should find a proper job then!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well, if he isn't happy with how much he's earning…

      1) He's retired (from making music, at least).

      2) Artists should be rewarded for their work. How do you suggest that we do that, other than by some sort of royalties payment?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Well, if he isn't happy with how much he's earning…

        2) when you buy their music from a store of some description. Not when you buy a phone where you will likely never listen to any of his music.

        Normal people invest in pensions and savings to see them through retirement, why would "artists" be any different? If he spunked all his money then sod him, he gates the state pension like anyone else that didn't look after themselves.

      2. DavCrav

        Re: Well, if he isn't happy with how much he's earning…

        "2) Artists should be rewarded for their work. How do you suggest that we do that, other than by some sort of royalties payment?"

        I don't really disagree with this, but actually, *why* should artists be rewarded for their work? There are lots of things that people do that benefit other people but they don't get paid for them, certainly not getting paid for decades after they did them. If they want to produce music then they can do, but I'm not entirely sure why they have an obvious right to protection for it. Since we have enough music in society to listen to a new track from the minute we're born, continuously, until we die, does society actually *need* any more music? Would there me greater benefit in deciding that all music should now be free to anyone who wants it than keeping the current system? Yes, much music wouldn't be made that currently is, and that might well be a good thing. People who want to do it as a hobby still would, if they find it enjoyable, it would just mean that people who can sing have to get a job that isn't 'singer', like people who are good at tiddlywinks.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Well, if he isn't happy with how much he's earning…

          And you can go to numerous pubs and clubs and watch singers and bands perform, generally get a better experience - a more intimate experience - they get their cut of the takings or fixed fee or both or whatever and if they are so inclined they can record themselves, burn it, make multiple copies and sell them at their gigs.

          Go to see performers this way - not just one or two; you know, like you and the partner and your friends wonder who to see this week, maybe take in a band you've heard good things about, take in a new venue - you will come to see that most of the rich, internationally-renowned ones got there through pure luck and that greater talents are performing little more than an arm's length away in various pubs and clubs every Friday or Saturday night, and for the music rather than as a variation on doing the lottery.

          Of course, this particular suggestion lends itself to Jazz, Rock, Blues, Reggae and variations thereof, but the general concept applies to other art. But if your dream is to be a megalomaniac, fuck off, there's a good chap!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Well, if he isn't happy with how much he's earning…

            @Ozzy - My favourite band are in America, I'm in the UK. I simply can't afford to go to see them, they can't afford to play near me. This breaks your model.

            This is besides the point that there is a meme that musicians get good money for gigs. It's not the case, most pub n club bands get very little. Most small professional bands actually lose money on their first few tours. It is very expensive and not always possible to tour. There are many artists who play all the instruments on their records, it is not possible for these acts to gig. Touring is an extremely stressful lifestyle and is not sustainable in the long term, it's certainly not compatible with having a family life. It's not some romantic way to see the world, it's identical boxes to play in each night, followed by sleeping on a bus or in an identical travelodge, night after night after night. It breaks people, I speak from experience.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Well, if he isn't happy with how much he's earning…

          Artists should be rewarded for their work, because we would be in a piss-poor cultural desert if there weren't art. Just because someone enjoys something, doesn't mean that they should be excluded from payment for that thing. I love working in storage, however I wouldn't give my time away for free, should it somehow not be paid. Most programmers love programming, should they bot be able to feed, clothe and house themselves? The problem is that for normal jobs there is an obvious "I worked n hours you owe me n x hourly rate" How do you suggest that the arts are funded, in a fair manner? I have yet to hear something that is better than copyright.

  26. Mage Silver badge


    I have a Smart Phone and a PC on Internet since 1994. Why should I pay for other people's copyright infringement when I never have done it?

  27. Grease Monkey Silver badge

    On that basis there should be a tax on radio and TV.

    Oh shit. I'm probably giving him ideas.

    1. Crisp

      There already is a tax on radio and TV. In the UK at least anyway.

      1. Grease Monkey Silver badge

        Sorry not in that respect there isn't. The licence fee funds the BBC, it doesn't go to artists.

        Did you not understand my post or did you deliberately "misunderstand" just so you could post something?

  28. Pahhh

    Using same argument...

    So using the same argument I should extra for my:

    - Amplifier

    - Speakers

    - Radio

    - TV

    - Media player

    After all what's the relative worth of those items if they no longer able to play music?

    1. DropBear

      Re: Using same argument...

      Not sure about those items, but I strongly suspect some of the audio cable sellers are already voluntarily collecting such a tax. Why else would a certain piece of plastic-clad copper cost orders of magnitude more than all those other identical pieces of copper...?

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I agree with him

    And along the same lines he should stump up a huge wad for using a computer which can be used to download all the software I've written.

  30. BongoJoe

    Why should I want to pay a tax on this when

    a) Having a small collection of .flac files is going to fill up my phone

    b) That listening on a phone via earbuds is silly and sounds crap

    c) A phone is a phone and not a phonograph

    d) I would have paid for the music in the first place

    e) When I replace my phone why should I pay more than once?

    f) M. Jarre. Your stuff was poor in the seventies, it's no better now.

  31. Grease Monkey Silver badge

    There are plenty of artists out there he seem to think that they should get a fortune direct from the great unwashed. Didn't we have Pete Townshend emitting a similar whinge a couple of years ago?

    Well here's the thing. The music industry is what collects your revenue for you guys, not the tax man. if the music industry isn't doing the job you want it to you should petition that industry to change. You are after all part of that industry and every pop and rock dinosaur like you has played their part in ripping off upcoming artists whether intentionally or not. As such I have no sympathy.

    Any music delivered legitimately over the internet should be generating royalties. The likes of Jarre have made a very comfortable living out of the music industry and royalties over the years. The problem they have is that they are no can no longer cut it and don't get the play they used to and so the royalty cheques aren't as big as they used to be. Unfortunately muso's tend to be primadonnas and the old ones won't admit they are no longer relevant, so instead they try to blame somebody else. These days you either blame the internet or austerity measures for everything. With musicians it seems the internet is always the preferred scapegoat.

  32. DJV Silver badge

    a gadget that doesn’t play music isn’t worth very much

    Hmm, many of my gadgets - e.g. printer, screens, electric drill, multimeter, kettle - don't play music. As they are now almost completely worthless, I'd better throw them away. Thanks for the advice, JMJ!

    1. Luke McCarthy

      Re: a gadget that doesn’t play music isn’t worth very much

      Hook them up to an Arduino or Raspberry Pi and they can play music! ;-)

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    très bon

    Pari passu, These musicians ought to be paying the electronic engineers and programmers who have made this source of income possible for them in the same way that they get paid - pay every time you use it up to copyright expiration.

  34. Sander van der Wal

    iTunes. Have you heard of it?

  35. Irongut

    Thanks for the great idea JMJ!

    “If you get rid of music, images, videos, words and literature from the smartphone, you just have a simple phone that would be worth $50.”

    If you get rid of the software from an electronic music instrument you have a plastic box that is worth nothing. Therefore all musicians (including those who only play guitar or drums) should pay £500 per instrument to a new software rights collection society, to be divided among all the programmers on the planet.

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Re: Thanks for the great idea JMJ!

      But he can dodge your tax by switching to a Theremin - not a line of software inside!

      1. Vic

        Re: Thanks for the great idea JMJ!

        But he can dodge your tax by switching to a Theremin - not a line of software inside!

        Irrelevant. He's demanding that phone users pay a levy when they've got no music in their phones, so we should insist that professional musicians should pay a levy for the software in some instruments, without which said instruments would be unusable.

        That many instruments contain no such software makes no difference, if we use Jarre's logic[1].


        [1] Ha!

  36. Valerion

    Why smartphones?

    Why not other things? I.e. amplifiers and speakers and CD players. Things whose SOLE PURPOSE is playing music.

    I think what we should do is just automatically tax babies a one-off payment of £5000 the minute they're born, just in case they decide to listen to some music at some point in their lives.

  37. Jim 59


    More of a Vangelis man myself.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Funny how it's always the wealthy established pillocks who put out such tosh.

    1. Luke McCarthy

      Only they could have developed such a sense of entitlement over the years.

  39. heyrick Silver badge

    What am I paying for?

    I'll be happy to pay this, so long as I get value for money. I'll pay this, right, so then I can download anything I like for free, right?

    Funny, I think the music industry might not like that idea. They would rather sell us content then extract a levy for being able to use said content. Where's the attraction of that to the consumer?

  40. Crisp

    YouTube should do more?

    Doesn't YouTube already compensate the artists that publish their art there?

    If not, then what are all those adverts for?

  41. ceayers

    Hollande biting then

    Me thinks Monsieur Hollande's tax laws are starting to bite.

  42. Hans 1

    M. Jarre

    M. Jarre, allez donc vous faire voir chez les Helenistes! Excuse my French.

    I occasionally listen to music I illegally ripped from CD's I own, because I have not yet figured out where the CD drive is in my Blackberry z30 ... well I have, I can plug my portable CD drive into its usb port (USB Host anyone ?), but it is quite bulky and not very fashionable, to say the least, to carry the additional CD drive.

    BTW, I have already paid certain albums twice/three times because I first owned the vinyl, then switched to CD, which got scratched, on to a 2nd CD until I figured in the early 2000's I could rip it all to HD in flac/AppleLossLess. My CD's all end up in the attic once I have ripped them.

    Admittedly, I also have a dozen albums I bought online for only slightly less than the CD and a third of the quality - no thank you, I do not want to get ripped off like that no more. Gimme flac for the current mp3 price and I might consider it.

    I already pay a tax for ALL my hard drives, although the music is only on three (backup, backup of backup, backup of backed-up backup) out of ten - plus i paid a tax on all the empty CD's/DVD's I used to buy back in the day ... I also assume I pay tax on the 10-15 USB sticks I have lying around my place - you know what, read Arkell v. Pressdram (1971).

    1. Mephistro

      Re: M. Jarre (@ Hans 1)

      read Arkell v. Pressdram


  43. Matthew 17

    My smart phone has 8 of JMJ's albums on it

    They were all bought on LP, then CD, then remastered CD, eventually transferred to MP3 and then my iPhone. He's already made money from me. If I have to pay tax for every device I buy that can play music or video then all content would have to be free to offset that cost rise, then how do you decide who collects the tax and who gets what percentage of the tax revenue? The model wouldn't work.

    Despite 'losing' out on revenue due to piracy he's not done bad for himself, I think he should rethink his argument or better do another album it's only been 20 years since his last one, would be nice to be able to afford to take such a long hiatus from work!

  44. Cream_DJ

    Jean Michel Who???

    I have heard the name, but can't think of anything he's done, which is probably a good job, otherwise he might claim my mind is infringing his copyright!

    Probably fallen on hard times, and can't afford to fill up the Bentley!

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward



    That said, it's a free world, everybody's got a right to lobby for more profit, whichever way they find works best! :D

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    one ethical argument

    unfortunately, there are cases of "previous art" when this argument has been thrown overboard: you pay (or are legally required, and chased to pay) for having a telly in the UK, even if you bought it for any purpose other than watching the shite on it. Yes, arguably, it's hard to imagine what else you might want a telly for, but hey, it's a free world, it's not like (not yet) that you HAVE TO watch it if you bought it, right? So you might have bought it NOT to watch it, right? Or to pee on it if this gives you a particular kick.

    And then, there's more than one case of a tv licensing "scheme" (sounds like a ponzi scheme, right? ;) which is enforced against each household (Germany, and I think Poland's trying to do it too), regardless of whether this household has a telly or not. Yeah, I know it's just tax, but they still call it a "license fee". Tax is also, effectively, a "license" for the state to do what they want with your money.

    So, the ethical argument is worth - unfortunately - fuck all, because it's been already violated more than once (and it gives anyone wanting to raid your pockets a perfect excuse, to bring up this case to get the "licensing" extended for mobiles too.

    1. 's water music

      TV Golden showers

      So long as it is not used to receive live broadcasts you do not need a license in the UK so go for your life. I would recommend that you disconnect it from the mains first though.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: one ethical argument

      "you pay (or are legally required, and chased to pay) for having a telly in the UK, even if you bought it for any purpose other than watching the shite on it."


      You have only ever needed a TV licence to receive TV broadcasts. That has been extended, in light of streaming TV over the internet, to include live or "near live" streaming.

      That means that it's entirely legal to own and use a TV without a TV licence so long as you don't watch "live" TV. Conversely, even if you don't own a TV, you could be required to buy a TV licence if you watch "live" TV over the internet.

      "Do I need a TV Licence if I only watch programmes online?

      It makes no difference how you watch TV whether it's on your laptop, PC or mobile phone or through a digital box, DVD recorder or TV set. If you use any device to watch or record television programmes as they're being shown on TV the law requires you to be covered by a TV Licence."

      Of course, if you do pay for a TV license, you can watch as much live broadcast FTA TV as you like without paying any further monies. If Mr Jarre wants to move to that model, he might be on to something. He'll almost certainly end up with a lot less money though.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: one ethical argument

        Are you sure about that?

        I would go back and look at Part 4 of the Communications Act 2003 and the associated Regulations if I were you.

        This is not legal advice (because I am not a lawyer) but then I'm guessing you're not a lawyer either based on that answer...

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    oh, one more argument

    to tell him to foxtrot oscar: if they introduce this tax, will it mean that the term "pirate" and "music theft", plus the legal side of it (prosecutions, fine, prison, etc.) - is going to be stopped, right?

    Right? ;)

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Already paid thank you very much

    I already have over 20 Jarre Albums, why should I pay again for his back catalogue. I notice how its the artisits with large back catalogues that aways seem to want levies. This is because as they have a large number of works they will get the most money, and paricularly where the rights have been sold on (david bowie started this), this just rewards people who have produced alot of music in the past or worse companies who have bought alot of rights. This does not make people encurrage people to make new music. what would do that is 5 year copyright on all new music!

    It is a good thing he is good with music and not maths, he appears to have confused cost and value. Making a smart phone not able to play copyrighted music, might make the device less useful and thereby less "valuable" to have, however it would not change the fact it would still COST the same as it currently does to have this devices of less value. Levies would only increase costs for customers. You don;t even need a smart phone to play music anyway, pretty much any handset will play mp3s now. So if we use one of those as example 10 quid for the handset lifetime seems reasonable.

  49. Turtle

    Can't Get No... Distributive Satisfaction

    Aside from the other problems mentioned in the article and in this thread, there is the additional problem of there being no satisfactory way to distribute a "music tax" as proposed by Jarre. And though one could propose various schemes by which the money would be distributed, I would expect that it would be weighted, heavily, to the biggest stars, and I do not believe that that would necessarily be fair to those artists closer to, or actually part of, the long tail.

  50. Sandpit

    Tape worms

    This is the blank tape argument again. As all blank tapes are ever used for is to copy music (basically piracy) then there should be a tax levied on all blank tapes (guilty without the ability to prove innocence).

    Blank phones are just high tech blank tapes. The idea is as stupid now as it was then.

    Maybe if a phone was sold that legally had access to ALL media.

  51. Blobster

    Surely with his thinking he should be paying a royalty to the synth manufacturers for every time his music gets played, without them he would be nothing

    1. Sandtitz Silver badge


      Then again those synth manufacturers have probably sold a lot of gear to people who were inspired by Jarre's music.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's already been tried in Spain, with a levy on blank digital media (anything you can store songs or films on). The result: Rights-holders bitching about not making enough money and still calling downloading piracy, despite the fact that we've paid already; instantly tanking the blank CD/DVD industry; calls from rights holders for penalties for "infringers" (again, ignoring the fact that we've paid for the privilege of downloading music and films) which the Spanish government have responded to in typically laconic style. There are penalties for enabling sharing, but currently none for downloading.

    There has been talk since the law was passed of rescinding the downloading privilege (leaving the levy in place, of course) but it hasn't happened yet. Possibly won't now.

    What this has made very clear is that a universal levy won't stop the rights-holders from bitching for more money. They want the money now and they want to call "take-backsies" on any concessions they made in order to get their hands on said money. In the case of Spain, they wanted the levy on blank media AND they wanted us to pay full-fat prices on anything we downloaded...any deviation from that and we're somehow pirates, despite the fact that boats are involved in very few cases.

    1. Roger Mew

      CD-RW music

      Hi I use "CD-RW music", you effectively cannot get them here in France, go on the Internet and you have to get them from the UK. You need these if you use a copying machine, possibly a bit long in the tooth but still a lot faster and better for recording music than with a computer and definitely better for recording vinyl. I see that the same situation is realised in Spain. So because these silly politicians have had a little brain storms brought on by their total lack of realising that people are not buying or even wanting to buy French or Spanish music in hordes, those that want to record music from elsewhere are being, or rather an attempt is being done, to get their money to support these poorly subscribed sources of music, to media sources the clients for the media are forced to import. ( does that make sense, The French / Spanish have to buy the "CD-RW music" abroad). Viva la EU. Just think, if the UK were to leave the EU, how many such exports would go to say Rumania

  53. Tony Mudd

    Not value for money.

    While we're complaining about JMJ not being value for money - I'm still annoyed at going to see him a year or so ago at Wembley - he played for just over an hour - not good value.

    Now I'm going to have no chance of justifying the expense of going to the next Houston-type concert.

  54. Triggerfish

    JMG you owe me some cash matey

    you see I think all musicians should subsidise my phone and other media players. Without them these musicians would not have got the global reach they have got so not having access to a global market and therefore not being able to make the sales they make that has made them so rich.

  55. David Kelly 2

    Move on, nothing to see here.

    Jean Michel Jarre's comments are totally predictable from big-goverment progressives. They see someone is successful, they want a piece without contributing.

    Musician's compensation has been set with the price of a CD or song from the iTunes Music Store. They deserve nothing additional.

    Music industry has been hurting the past 20 years or so. Its not the fault of technology, its the fault of musicians and music industry for not producing anything anyone wants to buy. I buy about 1 CD every 2 or 3 years because there just isn't anything new worth having. Not even anything worth stealing.

    Am getting more than my money's worth out of the first 3 Boston albums, Kansas, Electric Light Orchestra, Jimi Hendrix, Modern Jazz Quartet, Phish, ...

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Re: Move on, nothing to see here.

      Check out last year's Big Big Train album (English Electric Full Power).

      Also you might want to look at the Tangent, Karmakanic, Beardfish, the latest couple of IQ albums, maybe Ayreon and Spock's Beard too, the Flower Kings maybe as well...

    2. Roger Mew

      Re: Move on, nothing to see here.

      Mmm spot on, My daughter listens to a few modern artistes, however, she bops to things like the Stones, the Who, and the like. She hums many of my genre pop songs and now I hear my grandchildren playing "our" pop songs. As I heard one youngster say why pay for cr4p when you can get decent stuff for free, copy his dads!

  56. Graham Marsden

    Can I get a refund...

    ... for all these vinyl albums and cassette tapes I have here and which I can't play any more?

    (Ok, yes, I can get technology to digitise them but why should I have to pay for that to be able to use them in a different format when I've already paid for them once?)

    1. Sandtitz Silver badge

      Re: Can I get a refund...

      No, you don't get a refund.

      Similarly you don't get a refund for your old car if you lose your driver's license. You can, however, try to sell it to someone else. Same thing with your old records.

      Try another straw man.

      1. DiViDeD

        Re: Can I get a refund...

        Not sure about that. According to the music industry, none of us have 'bought' our CDs, MP3s, vinyl albums or cassette tapes. All we've bought is an exclusive, non transferable licence to LISTEN to the music on whichever media it has been encoded onto.

        Therefore, if changing technology decrees that he can no longer get hold of the technology he needs to exercise his limited rights under that licence, isn't it the responsibility of the music industry which granted that licence to provide him with a medium he *can* listen to?

        of course, it would mean he has no right to sell the 'obsolete' media without ensuring that someone else doesn't inadvertently listen to music under his personal licence, but it also means that the music industry cannot continue to charge him again and again for the same piece of music just because it's been poured into a different container.

      2. Graham Marsden

        @Sandtitz - Re: Can I get a refund...

        I find it ironic that you claim I am using a Straw Man argument by using a Straw Man argument!

        (Hint - You don't need a driving licence to buy a car...)

        1. Sandtitz Silver badge

          Re: @Sandtitz - Can I get a refund...

          You are right. You don't need a licence to drive a car. Perhaps I stoop too low on my quest to question your thinking.

          Now, please indulge us and tell why you think you are entitled to get a refund for your old used vinyls.


    2. Roger Mew

      See my bit on CD-RW

      Hi for vinyl I have a Philips machine that copies and records no problem, there are many cheapo machines (that have too much needle downweight and destroy vinyl) that record to MP3 and of course you can do it on a computer with an RIAA amplifier. It is up to you I play my vinyl a very few times and have put them on tape, so without damaging the disc I can listen to Elvis LSP1254 either on MP3 crappy repro or tape or music CD.

      You do not HAVE to digitalise them, my amp is about 40 years old, I have another that is almost as old, and a selection of turntables that take Sure M44E or there like.If you have CHOSEN to have a digital bit of kit then that was your choice but there are players out there.

      Some say valves make better amps, however they have a harmonics problem hence actually make music if you follow my drift. I did some scope investigation of that little misnomer many years ago.

  57. Haku

    He's got a point

    Have you heard of the 8 Billion Dollar iPod?

  58. dssf

    Music Database at Telcos?

    Maybe the telcos should have a music database, or two?

    -- One for licensed, label-distributed music

    -- One for indie, non-represented music

    Let the labels charge through the ass for their stuff.

    Let the indies charge lower, as low as they can.

    Let the phone companies help advertise the music, maybe somehow obtaining some portion for subsidizing new phones.

    Let the labels watch the indies take in more per track, assuming the listeners want to explore indie music.

    If the music plays on the device, the user's account gets billed accordingly. But, not on each device, just one or two. Of course, the users' buy-in would need to be obtained in any case.

    Obviously, this probably imperils the labels, but they act as if their existence is a god-given right. Indies are for the most part screwed out of/locked out of playing at venues controlled or manipulated by labels. Indies have to play in small venues which may not be by fire code (occupancy limitations) able to take in the tickets necessary to please the music act as well as the venue owner/operator.

    When musicians figure out how to break their contracts, when courts figure out how to say "a signed fuck-job contract is no legal contract at ALL!", when artists figure out how to better self-and-group promote, when venues figure out how to reward indie acts to give them a fair shake, when music consumers figure out how to directly sponsor/suppor indies they like, then musicians the world over may finally regain control of their income streams.

    What's that sound..? Sounds like an aluminum and a wooden baseball bat each scraping a wall down the hall from my room... Looks like I'll be needing a wheelchair and two bionic hands pretty soon...

  59. dssf

    Super-polished acts...

    Of course, I would be remiss if I did not recognize that the super-polished acts are where they are (in terms of fame/craze, but not mega-money) because they themselves often do not own nor lease:

    -- the hyper-expensive equipment

    -- sound studios

    -- choreographers

    -- promoters/artwork teams/radio/TV promotional outlets

    -- shakedown artists who finagle the venue rights

    -- the vehicles, aircraft, roadies, and security need to deliver them to and protect them from their fans...

  60. Andrew Taylor 1

    Musicians grow up

    Can anyone tell me why musicians and composers are so special, JMJ doesn't pay his plumber every time he draws water, he doesn't pay his electrician every time he turns a switch on, he doesn't pay the artist every time he looks at his collection of art so why should he and other musicians be paid every time you listen to their music. They should be paid once for their work just like every other worker. The premise that musicians should be paid over and over is a modern premise promulgated by the recording industry and prior to this musicians of talent either earned their keep by performing regularly or by obtaining wealthy sponsors. Modern so called musicians have this belief that we owe them a living & that they shouldn't have to work for it o matter how little talent they have. Just remember that one of the biggest campaigners for the recent extension of copyright on music is that well know Christian Sir Cliff Richard. AFAIC if musicians want paying more than once for their work they need to be intersting enough for me to go and see them more than once, when they have to work for their pay and they have to stop being selfish luvvies and actually appear on time and give a reasonable performance in both time and quality.

    1. DropBear

      Re: Musicians grow up

      THIS. Sometimes I'm really sad I only have one upvote...

  61. Chris G

    Some royalties are good

    I do quite a lot of work for a successful Electro house musician his royalties pay a fair proportion of my wages so I can't complain.

    However, the whole thing about royalties going on for years and years or the life of the originator doesn't make complete sense. If a musician, author or actor can get royalties why can't an architect get something for every time someone looks at at one of his (possibly) beautiful buildings?

    After all architecture is considered to be fine art so why shouldn't everyone pay to look at it?

    I started life painting houses, something that arguably makes them look better so why shouldn't I get paid a royalty for everyone who looked at a house I painted or a carpenter getting paid every time someone goes up the stairs he built?

    As for JMJ, the light shows at his concerts where better than the music!

  62. sisk


    I've always liked Jarre's music and I've bought quite a lot of it. But if he's going to be spouting this stupidity I may not be buying any more. I like to see the artists get paid to, but not by dipping into my pocket every time I buy a new device. And, last time I checked, music wasn't usually free if you obtained it legally (which I do).

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    sur votre bicyclette!

  64. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    I was listening to Zoolook yesterday - I think he's already taxing enough ...

    Does the 'vocal' actually say 'moomin troll'? If so I believe there may be a copyright issue to answer ...

  65. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    When I bought a record player I paid Mr Jarre for his music by buying his music records. When I bought a tape player, I paid Mr Jarre for his music by buying his music tapes. When I bought a CD player I paid Mr Jarre for his music by buying his music CDs. You charge for the content via the charging for the content, not via the hardware.

  66. Ben Rosenthal

    Jean, if music was free then you might have a point...but it's not, so you don't.

    I would quite happily pay a reasonable monthly fee for all you can eat media, maybe one day the industry will stop trying to gouge us both.

    yet again, the problem there is whether the money I put in, will get anywhere near the artists I would like to not being one of those artists for me.

    I'll stick with bandcamp or the old ways for now thanks.

  67. Roger Mew


    The thing is and I live in France, France is dans le merde, and further what percentage of the music is French and what percentage is new in French! IF and I say IF his silly idea was adopted, then I perceive that France would receive a greater percentage of monies for its lower percentage of listened to musicians compared to say the UK which has a higher percentage of listened to musicians.

    I know that it is possibly historic however it is more salient, take Johnny Holliday and compare with say the Beatles, the Who, The Rolling Stones.

    How many in the UK listened to JH and how many in France listened to the Stones.

    Yeah, another idiotic French twit that thinks the ROW owes France a living!

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