Cable Tech

Google's NIN Deal

2:30 PM -- SXSW 2008 -- So how do artists make money when CD sales are all but gone and consumers feel entitled to commit the sin of helping themselves to digital goods without paying for them?

Nine Inch Nails has already allowed fans to pick a price for the band's latest recording. Now, thanks to a deal with Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), the band has found another possible revenue stream.

Google's Glenn Otis Brown, speaking here today, says it has a technology that can match musical and video reference files to the short videos that users upload to its YouTube Inc. site.

The point? When Google finds a "fingerprint," as Brown calls it, it can follow through with an artist's request to either put up ads around the content and pay the artist or have the content taken down.

The payoff? Brown says the deal's not set just yet, but Nine Inch Nails and Google would come to some agreement on how the band can make money each time something like this shows up on the Web:

Brown says that artists working with Google in this way is akin to the way magazine publishers can give their product to consumers and make up their costs through advertising sales. The consumer gets a free product, and one company pays another so it can happen.

— Phil Harvey, Editor, Light Reading

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