Warner Music Group: ISPs should add music tax

To charge or not to charge? That's something that Warner Music Group is pondering. The music group is lobbying ISPs to adopt a plan that strangely looks like the BBC's current TV license.

Each household in the UK has to pay nearly £140 (roughly $280) annually for the right to watch television and this money goes towards funding the BBC and other commercial terrestrial channels.

The plan is that everyone having an internet access should pay a flat fee for music that *might* have been downloaded or consumed but would also provide an unlimited access to a database of songs, which in itself might not be bad.

The fee, around £30 per year, is roughly equivalent to a quarter of what most UK broadband users pay for their internet access, and could generate an annual mouth-watering $20 billion gold pot which would be used to increase the profit margins of an industry worth $10 billion a year.

Obviously, this could also give ideas to the movie industry and others and Hexus has an excellent analysis on how the concept of taxation could catch up really quickly on this side of the Atlantic.

What others have warned about is the slow and gradual death of innovation in the music sector; the BBC is a state organ and a public institution whose use of the TV license is transparent and regulated.

The same cannot be said of the tax that WMG is proposing on the table and there would, in theory, be no limit to the tax since the music industry as an entity is ... a perfect monopoly.