Music industry consultant Jim Griffin provided some details about the Choruss non-profit initiative Thursday (Feb. 26) during his keynote speech at Digital Media Wire's Digital Music Forum East.
The project will attempt to establish blanket music licenses to ISPs, with specific focus on colleges and universities. Choruss, as crafted by Griffin, intends to negotiate a monthly fee, per student, for each participating university, in order to compensate artists, labels and performing rights societies for the music downloading that's done on in-school networks and via peer-to-peer.
Griffin, who referred repeatedly to Choruss as an "experiment," said labels and performing rights societies are free sit at the bargaining table to shape the price of how students will be charged. Participating students and universities will also be a source of data - how and what music is sought and consumed - and Griffin hinted at partnerships with companies like AudibleMagic to collect it.
Griffin said that he intends to launch the initiative with a few unnamed charter colleges for the 2009-2010 school year and plans on negotiating charges on a case-by-case basis.
"Asserting property rights and attempts at control have cost the sound recording industry over a decade of licensing revenue that trades control for compensation,'' Griffin said.
Griffin, who has advised Warner Music Group on Choruss, did not reveal how monies collected through this non-profit would be distributed to artists and labels, nor did he say which ISPs Choruss aims to target.
"Choruss will experiment and will not apply any one size fits all approach,'' he said. "We will include purely voluntary payment (opt in), opt out and all-in systems with lower fees spread evenly across campus, like library or gym fees. Many campuses already require residents pay for cable TV and choose to assess student fees in many and diverse ways."
In response to a question about whether Choruss will bring a truce between music downloaders and copyright holders, Griffin said that "we've spent over a decade with the lawyers nitpicking over what we call the transfer of money for music and I'm tired of it." He noted that the negotiations with universities are voluntary and that lawyers are still drafting potential legal documents on the agreements.