Business opportunity... MusicalAmnesty.com
So some people download music. Once people have figured out where to dine at the 'all you can eat' download service for sod all, they'll download more music than they could possibly listen to.
And so once they've discovered some obscure new music which they like, but can't get hold of it because it's not on iTunes' play list (or whatever). Or maybe they're not prepared to pay the going rate for it as it's just not good enough.
Currently, nobody gets paid.
Wouldn't it be great to go to a website, call it MusicalAmnesty.com (that domain is available), and select the artist and make a 'donation'. The site will take a small admin fee and pass the rest of the payment directly on to the artist. For artists that aren't registered, the site will hold the money in suspense and actively hunt down that artist and make the payment when they're found (and verified). Sure, there's the issue of sorting out the song writers...
The customer (paytard?) would get a certificate that's anonymised, and would be able to sleep in the knowledge that they've paid the artist.
How much would the customer pay? How about whatever they like. Sure, they'd be guidelines, but lets face it, earning 50p=$1 is better than sod all. Ask Radiohead.
The record company, well, it's up to the artist to square things with them. To be frank, it's not the customer's problem.
As for the rest of the music industry, they're hardly going to like it as they're effectively being cut out of the loop. But hell, it's better than the current situation where nobody gets paid. Obviously it'll be important to keep the lawyers away from the customer payment data -- so it'll need to be located offshore (Sealand?).
Some open accounting/auditing is very necessary. Hunting down the artists could be in the form of a Wiki or web-too-oh hive imagineering (is there a WikiMusicpedia?). The MusicalAmnesty site would do as much as they can to validate the artists prior to making the payment(s).
The odd thing is that all of this exists with the MCPS (and the other lot) who collect payments from radio stations, etc. Except they don't know how to accept payments that aren't in the form of some 'tax' extracted from businesses.
So Billy, what do you think? Is this rambling nonsense or putting power in the hands of the people?