We get an update this week on the total “address unknown” mass NOIs filed with the Copyright Office for the royalty-free windfall loophole. This time we have to thank our our friends at Paperchain in Sydney for doing the work of decompressing the massive numbers of unsearchable compressed files posted on the Copyright Office website. As you can see, there’s been an increase of approximately 70% since January 2017. (For background, see my article.)
As you can see, Amazon is still far and away the leader in this latest loophole designed to stiff songwriters, followed closely by Google. However, Spotify is moving on up. Spotify does get extra points for starting late in March 2017, but they are catching up fast filing over 5,000,000 as of last month.
The European Union imposed a 2.4 billion euro ($2.7 billion) fine on Google last Tuesday for manipulating its search engine results to favor its own comparison shopping service. It is just the latest institution to recognize the increasing monopolization of the technology industry.
Google has about a 90 percent market share in searches, while Facebook has a penetration of about 89 percent of internet users. Economists have a fancy name for this phenomenon: “network externalities.” In traditional product markets, one customer’s choice (for example, a particular car tire) does not directly affect other individuals’ preferences for that product, and competition generally ensures that consumers enjoy the best products at the lowest possible price.
In the market for social media, by contrast, when one customer uses Facebook over Myspace, it has a direct (and positive) impact on other customers’ preferences for the same social network: I want to be in the social network where my friends are. These markets naturally tend toward a monopoly.