A Tax on Music Production

November 15, 2010

Consider the idea of governmental regulation of the originality of music. Where states impose control and subjectively deemed the originality of music in order to maintain its sustainability. A concept which seems to also fit within the practice of pollution prevention or deforestation.

One can postulate that each new song harbors a point on a range that is between true originality or pure derivative. In today’s music industry, it is not unusual to see major artists with dozen of songs of their albums that are plain derivatives of original titles or even of other derivatives. But why do artists produce derivative works in the first place?

The answer may be found in classical economic theory; when originality is abundant, it is harder to market and produce yet another new original song. “Song writers then become more tempted to develop and market recycled versions of old songs. ” We therefore can infer that production of original music has decreased, thus rendering the supply as a finite resource, which leads to more and more artists shifting to producing more and more derivative art.

This then begets the question: So what happens when there is no more original music? Should we turn to explicit governmental regulation to sustain the production of original music? Looking over at other practices where the government has enacted laws to maintain a resource’s sustainability. I presumed the government would impose, amongst other things, a levy in the form of taxation on derivative artists. This could even eventually be spilled over to film, paintings and books alike. What would a world like this look like? The answer can be found in this award winning short story.