Author: Goran Šikić
In 2003, when the iTunes music store was launched, it was the first place where it was possible to pay and legally download music from the internet in digital format. The year before that, Napster was smothered, where it was possible to illegally download music in digital format. Napster was surely a good argument to the Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, when he was visiting record labels, encouraging them to accept the new concept of selling music where customers were able to purchase individual songs rather than an entire album, and all for a unique price of 99 cents.
The main part of the story was, of course, Apple’s amazingly designed device for listening to music – iPod – related to music downloading. At this time global record labels were still selling their star albums in several million copies, but today iTunes has become the biggest retail music store. In 2010, iTunes sold over 10 billion songs. However, the retail value of the music industry has halved compared with 10 years earlier, and musicians no longer live by selling albums, but live performances virtually exclusively.
How did the Croatian music scene cope with this new digital phase? Not even today, almost a decade after the appearance of the iTunes concept, music fans in Croatia are not able to legally search, pay and download music in digital format.
Four digital services have been established so far as a response to changed circumstances, but each contains only a fraction of the on music offer. The four are Fonoteka of T-Com, Cedeterija of Aquarius Music Shop, Dallas Music Shop and the online shop of Croatia Records, which is specific since it refers its users to iTunes. However, they are not able to buy music over iTunes if they are located in Croatia.
It is absurd that the Croatian music industry is able to upload their content on foreign music services, but Croatian customers are not able to buy it legally from the same foreign service. Therefore, customers should have simpler access to music under legal terms. Croatia Records and Dallas Records as well as other big local producers are present on Spotify, Deezer and iTunes, but Croatian customers are not able to legally access this content, commented Kristina Delfin Kanceljak, a solicitor specialising in the protection of intellectual property, music in particular.
Let us not fool ourselves; the biggest buyers of our products are local people, not foreign. We upload content to services, but they are inaccessible in the region, except in Slovenia. So, for whom do we upload it? We have to create a balance between offer and demand as well as availability of access to content that would be completely acceptable to legal carriers that wish to maximise their profit, and the buyers of these services are intended for, highlighted Kristina Delfin Kanceljak during the panel discussion held at this year’s Intelektiv - conference on intellectual property – organised by the American Chamber of Commerce...